Prop Master Neal W. Zoromski Talks Warning Signs on ‘Rust’ Set
A month before tragedy struck the “Rust” set, prop master Neal W. Zoromski was approached to work on the project.
“Extra” guest host Eddie Cibrian spoke to Neal, who opened up on the "warning signs" he saw before turning it down.
Zoromski, who has worked in Hollywood for 30 years, shared, “It seemed rather late when they disclosed that they were starting around October 6 and we were already in the latter part of September.”
Neal was also concerned because “answers were not forthcoming,” adding, “that tends to promote a feeling of distrust or unease.”
When Eddie mentioned gun safety protocols, Neal stressed, “It is our responsibility.”
Slamming the movie’s assistant director Dave Halls, Neal said, “My humble opinion, the AD acted out of his jurisdiction… Calling it a ‘cold gun’ probably allayed people’s fears and made them feel better about something that should be properly handed off by the proper technician to the right person.”
As for his reaction to the news, the veteran prop master said, “When I heard about the incident, I was rather sickened and heartbroken, as most of our community is at this time. We do send our prayers and condolences out to Halyna Hutchins’ family and anyone who was on the set traumatized.”
He noted that the “warning signs were definitely there.”
Zoromski shared his opinion on responsibility for the incident, saying, “There was a series of unfortunate events that led to the tragedy. There’s a lot of culpability, and I think what this is, is a big call for us to look at ourselves and dig deep and to figure out what really did happen here.”
On Thursday, by the Santa Fe County Sheriff Department held a press conference, revealing that a lead projectile killed cinematographer Hutchins.
Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza noted that 500 rounds of ammunition have been collected — a mix of blanks, dummy rounds, and what they expect will be determined to be “live rounds.”
Mendoza confirmed, “A weapon was handed to Mr. Baldwin. The weapon is functional and fired a live round.”
When Zoromski was asked whether he had ever brought live rounds to a set, he replied, “For all of us trained professionals, that is beyond the pale and the two should never, ever meet or really be in the same zip code.”