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As Alec Baldwin is readying himself to face involuntary manslaughter charges, fellow thespian Michael Shannon chalked up the tragic situation to the growing practice of dangerously cutting corners today in Hollywood.

The New Mexico district attorney recently announced Baldwin would be charged after an investigation into the 2021 shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the movie Rust, an incomplete film Baldwin reportedly plans on finishing despite everything.

Man of Steel and Knives Out star Michael Shannon weighed in this week in an interview with the Chicago Tribune’s Michael Phillips and he revealed the Baldwin situation is part of a growing standard practice in Hollywood to make things on the cheap and cut corners.

“This is what comes of making a movie on the cheap,” the actor recalled was his reaction to the Baldwin shooting. Baldwin is one of the listed producers on the film.

According to Baldwin, he was not aware there was live ammunition in the weapon when it was handed to him. He did not check the weapon himself, standard practice for most gun ranges and practiced shooters. He also claimed he never pulled the trigger, something the district attorney disputed.

Shannon’s worked with plenty of guns and explosions through his career, appearing in everything from Pearl Harbor to the recent Bullet Train. The actor said he’s seen gun safety standards and awareness deteriorate as producers seek to make cheaper and cheaper product.

He said gun safety measures on sets is typically very “meticulous,” but Baldwin’s Rust is an example of an increasingly common production.

The actor said:

“But Rust is an example of a problem I see in filmmaking more and more these days. On smaller productions, independent productions, the producers keep wanting more and more for less and less. They don’t want to give you enough money. They cut corners, ridiculously, every which way. And they get away with it. (Rust began shooting with a $7 million production budget.) So every time someone makes a great movie for a million dollars, it sets a precedent. The financiers say, well, Joe Blow made a movie for a million, we’re gonna give you a million, too. And you’re, like, “But I need $3 million to make it the right way.” And they say “Well, I guess you won’t do it, then.” They whittle the budget down to the bare minimum — but the one thing you can’t cut corners on is your armorer. If you have guns in your movie, that’s no place to cut corners.”

Shannon did offer a defense of Baldwin as an actor, saying it was ultimately the armorer’s responsibility to make sure the weapon was safe. He argued that if proper procedure had been followed, Baldwin would have been handed a gun he could see was empty.

“The armorer should’ve brought the gun over to him and said: Here is your firearm. It is empty. Or maybe [the gun] has decoy or dummy rounds in it; you pull the trigger, nothing happens,” he said. “But you never settle for walking up to an actor and handing the gun over without showing them what’s inside of it. Ever. That was the cataclysmic event on ‘Rust.'”

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