The 63-year-old actor told George Stephanopoulos that any outside comments made were not going to help the situation.
“How do you respond to actors like George Clooney who say that every time they were handed a gun, they checked it themselves?” the news anchor asked.
“Well, there were a lot of people who felt it necessary to contribute some comment to the situation, which really didn’t help the situation,” Baldwin said. “At all.”
“If your protocol is you check the gun every time, well, good for you. I’ve probably handled weapons as much as any other actor in films with an average career. Again, shooting or being shot by someone,” he continued. “And in that time, I had a protocol and it never let me down.”
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George Stephanopoulos had the first exclusive interview with actor Alec Baldwin, following the deadly shooting on the set of the film “Rust.” Photo by Jeff Neira/ABC via Getty Images
Clooney said on the podcast “WTF with Marc Maron” that he always personally checks a weapon after someone hands it to him on a set.
“I’ve been on sets for 40 years and the person that hands you the gun, the person that is responsible for the gun is either the prop or the armorer, period,” Clooney reflected. “Now every single time I’m handed a gun on the set, every time they hand me a gun I look at it, I open it. I show it to the person I’m pointing it to, I show it to the crew. Every single take you had to back to the armorer when you’re done… You do it again and part of it is because of what happened to Brandon [Lee], everyone does it. Everybody knows and maybe Alec did that, hopefully he did do that.”
A rep for Clooney did not immediately return Fox News’ request for comment.
Baldwin explained that when he was a young actor a prop person told him not to manipulate a weapon before a scene.
“The prop person said, ‘Don’t do that,’ when I was young,” he explained. “And they’d say, ‘One thing you would need to understand is we don’t want the actor to be the last line of defense against any catastrophic breach of safety with the gun. My job is to make sure the gun is safe and then I hand you the gun and I declare the gun is safe. The crew is not relying on you to say that it’s safe. They’re relying on me to say that it’s safe.'”
Baldwin reasoned, “When that person who is charged with that job handed me the weapon, I trusted them. And I never had a problem.”
Stephanopoulos then asked the Emmy-winner what responsibility the actor has on the set to ensure safety.
“I guess that’s a tough question because the actor’s responsibility going this day forward is very different than it was the day before that,” Baldwin reflected.
“First of all I can’t imagine that I’d ever do a movie that had a gun in it again,” he added. “The actor’s responsibility is to do what the prop armorer tells them to do.”
Baldwin said he was handed the gun that discharged and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza by the film’s assistant director Dave Halls who told him the gun was “cold” meaning unloaded. The gun was in fact loaded with a real bullet which should have never been on set.
The producer clarified he never pulled the gun’s trigger. He was holding the gun to line up a shot as directed by Hutchins to do when Baldwin “let go of the hammer” and the gun went off.
The film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, said in a statement through her attorney obtained by Fox News that she doesn’t know how a live round was loaded into the gun.
“Never in a million years did Hannah think that live rounds could have been in the ‘dummy’ round box,” one of her attorneys, Jason Bowles, said in a statement. “Who put those in there and why is the central question.”
“Hannah was incredibly safety conscious and took her job very seriously from the moment she started on Oct. 4,” Bowles said. “She did firearms training for the actors as well as Mr. Baldwin, she fought for more training days and she regularly emphasized to never point a firearm at a person.”
“She inspected the rounds that she loaded into the firearms that day,” Bowles said. “She always inspected the rounds. She did again right before handing the firearm to Mr. Halls, by spinning the cylinder and showing him all of the rounds and then handing him the firearm.”