Michael Shannon Feels 'Horrible' for Alec Baldwin, Believes 'Rust' Tragedy Is 'What Happens When You Cut Corners'

"I'm not condemning Alec. I feel horrible for the guy," Michael Shannon said

Michael Shannon is offering his opinion on the circumstances surrounding Alec Baldwin's involuntary manslaughter charges.

On Tuesday, the Bullet Train star spoke with The Chicago Tribune about an actor's perspective on how firearms should be handled on sets. "If you have guns in your movie, that's no place to cut corners," he shared.

"The person on Rust clearly was not qualified for the job," Shannon, 48, opined, in reference to Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, who is also facing two counts of involuntary manslaughter in the October 2021 on-set death of Halyna Hutchins. "She should not have been there."

Shannon agreed with SAG-AFTRA's recent statement that "an actor's job is not to be a firearms or weapons expert" on set, noting that "if it were up to the actor to determine whether a firearm is safe or not, you wouldn't need an armorer in the first place."

"Being an armorer is a hard job, a demanding job, and I have nothing but respect for them," he told the Tribune.

"With Rust, before that gun went into his hand, [Baldwin] should have seen with his own eyes there was nothing in it," Shannon added as he explained typical procedure for how actors are given weapons on set, though it was not clear whether the actor has knowledge of the actual firearm procedures that preceded the fatal shooting.

Shannon explained that armorers should always tell actors on set whether the firearm they are handing over is empty, or has decoy or dummy rounds in it.

Michael Shannon attends The Museum of Modern Art's 15th Annual Film Benefit honoring Guillermo Del Toro at The Museum of Modern Art on December 08, 2022 in New York City. , Alec Baldwin attends the Annual Charity Day hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald, BGC and GFI at Cantor Fitzgerald on September 11, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Presley Ann/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)
Theo Wargo/Getty; Presley Ann/Getty

"You never settle for walking up to an actor and handing the gun over without showing them what's inside of it," he told the outlet. "Ever."

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"I'm not condemning Alec. I feel horrible for the guy," Shannon, who is not involved with the production of Rust, added. "It's a nightmare. I feel terrible for everyone on that production."

"But this is what happens when you lowball and cut corners and hire people that may not be qualified, and pay them next to nothing, and make the movie on the cheap," he speculated to the outlet.

Elsewhere in the interview, the two-time Academy Award nominee said actors should never "put your finger in the trigger hole" of a firearm "unless you're going for a take."

Alec Baldwin attends the World Premiere of National Geographic Documentary Films' 'The First Wave' at Hamptons
Alec Baldwin. Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images

Baldwin previously said in a memorable December 2021 sit-down with George Stephanopoulos that he "didn't pull the trigger," though an FBI report released in August 2022 determined the gun's trigger must have been pulled.

"If you're holding a firearm between takes, which you shouldn't be, you point it at the ground until somebody comes and collects it from you," Shannon told the Tribune of his experience with firearms on set.

The actor noted that he thinks the role of an on-set armorer "might become obsolete" in the wake of the fatal Rust shooting.

"There's a big push now to do [gunfire] in post, you know, postproduction," he told the outlet. "No more live firing on set, period. So you act like you're firing a gun when you're not. It's called 'acting.' And it's truly not worth dying for."

After news of the charges were announced last Thursday, two attorneys for 25-year-old Gutierrez Reed said in a statement that the charges "are the result of a very flawed investigation, and an inaccurate understanding of the full facts."

"We intend to bring the full truth to light and believe Hannah will be exonerated of wrongdoing by a jury," Jason Bowles and Todd J. Bullion said in a statement.

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