The family of Brandon Lee, the actor fatally shot by a prop gun 28 years ago, reacted with sadness and called for the banning of live guns on movie sets after cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed during the filming of the movie “Rust” on Thursday.
Lee, the son of martial arts legend Bruce Lee, died in March 1993 while filming “The Crow” in North Carolina, People reported. He was 28. Brandon Lee was killed when co-star Michael Massee fired a prop gun that contained a fragment of a bullet, the Los Angeles Times reported at the time.
Lee’s sister, Shannon Lee, said Hutchins’ death brought back painful memories for her own family.
“I have been in contact with my mom and with my brother’s fiancee,” Shannon Lee told The Hollywood Reporter. “A lot of people have been reaching out. It’s stirring up a lot of emotions -- and frustration.”
Hutchins was killed and director Joel Souza was wounded when Baldwin, 63, fired a prop gun he believed was safe to use, officials said in a search warrant filed in a Santa Fe, New Mexico, court. The bullet struck Hutchins in the chest and injured Souza, who was standing behind her, in the shoulder, according to The Associated Press and KOAT.
No arrests have been made and the incident remains under investigation.
Shannon Lee acknowledged that all of the details surrounding Hutchins’ death remain unclear, but added that there was no excuse for a deadly shooting accident on the movie set.
“There are rules that are supposed to be followed,” Shannon Lee told The Hollywood Reporter. “I am certainly not pointing fingers at anyone because that would be the wrong thing to do. But, there is no reason for something like this to happen. My heart goes out to Alec Baldwin. I feel for the work he is going to have to do to process this and try to find some measure of peace around it. And even more so for the family of Halyna Hutchins. It’s having your whole world flip upside down. There should be compassion for all the pain everyone is going through.”
After an investigation into Brandon Lee’s death, District Attorney Jerry Spivey said no criminal charges would be filed, CNN reported. While negligence was a factor, there was no evidence of criminal wrongdoing, The New York Times reported in September 1993.
Massee died in 2016. He was 64.
On Friday, Baldwin said in a statement he posted on Twitter that he was filled with “shock and sadness” over the incident and said he was working with authorities to determine what went wrong.
“There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours,” Baldwin tweeted. “I’m fully cooperating with the police investigation to address how this tragedy occurred and I am in touch with her husband, offering my support to him and his family. My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna.”
The plot of “Rust,” hinges on an accidental killing and its aftermath, according to The New York Times. The movie set now is the scene of a real killing and investigation, the newspaper reported.
The American Film Institute set up a scholarship for women cinematographers in the wake of Hutchins’ death, Variety reported. AFI is now accepting donations for the fund, which “aims to help female cinematographers build sustainable careers in the movie business,” director and writer Olia Oparina told the website.
Shannon Lee said real guns should be banned from movie sets.
“I think that in this day and age with all the special effects that are possible and all of the technology, there is no reason to have a prop gun or a gun on a set that can fire a projectile of any sort,” Shannon Lee told The Hollywood Reporter. “It is not necessary, and I would love to see some changes made industry-wide. My brother’s fiancee and I have been talking about it. I think we wish we had thought to do more 28 years ago, and we would love to do that now.”
Shannon Lee said her family would “wholeheartedly” support a ban on real guns, but added that the rules in place must be adhered to.
“There were rules in place on ‘The Crow.’ Unfortunately, there was negligence of the rules,” Shannon Lee told The Hollywood Reporter. “I don’t want to speak to the incident on ‘Rust,’ but in Brandon’s accident, there were many rules that were not followed and corners that were cut, which lead to the tragedy on that set. It did not have to happen.”
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