Rachel Morrison (“Mudbound”), Ed Lachman (“Carol”), Alice Brooks (“In the Heights”) and Stephen Lighthill, president of the American Society of Cinematographers, are among the cinematographers calling for a ban of functional firearms on set.
The open letter for support to ban guns on film sets comes following the death of “Rust” cinematographer Halyna Hutchins after actor and producer Alec Baldwin discharged a prop gun on set. They described Hutchins’ death as “senseless, negligent and avoidable.”
The letter calls for immediate support and action, not just from union leadership, but from producers and lawmakers “to affect unified change on our behalf ban all functional firearms on set. We vow to no longer knowingly work on projects using functional firearms for filming purposes. We vow to no longer put ourselves and our crew in these unnecessarily lethal situations. We have safe alternatives in VFX and non-functional firearms. We won’t sit back and wait for the industry to change. We have a duty to effect change within the industry ourselves.”
While there are four pages of signatures from cinematographers in support of the firearm ban, notable cinematographers missing are Roger Deakins, Emmanuel Lubezki and Janusz Kaminski.
Additionally, in the wake of Hutchins’ death, a Change.org petition addressed to Baldwin, calling for a ban on using real firearms on set and demanding better working conditions for crew, has amassed more than 100,000 signatures.
The originators of the petition are now asking Hollywood studios to take the lead in banning real guns from sets, in addition to their earlier plea for Baldwin to use his influence to change policies.
The petition, started by award-winning filmmaker Bandar Albuliwi (“Peace After Marriage”), was signed by Lena Dunham, Sarah Paulson, Olivia Wilde, Anna Paquin, Holland Taylor and Ariana DeBose. It reads, “Dear Hollywood Studios: Your decision to remain silent on this matter speaks volumes about where you stand on this issue to ban the use of real firearms on set and provide workers with better crew conditions,” the petition update reads. “People around the world now know, Hollywood feels that a woman’s death on a film production set doesn’t need to be addressed. You could care less about below-the-line workers and only care about box office numbers and returns.”
Meanwhile, California state senator Dave Cortese says he plans to introduce legislation to officially ban real firearms and live ammunition from all productions, and New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said her state would take similar action should the entertainment industry not adopt such a ban voluntarily.