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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

PATEL: “Rust” film back in production, protect actors’ mental health

Photo via Flickr.

People in society view actors as immensely talented people capable of switching emotions, performing seamless stunts and drawing us to the screen, on the edge of our seats. But, we often forget that they are human too. With pressure from leaders in the film industry and fans alike, actors mental health can suffer as a result of strenuous work environments.

Recently, we have seen an extreme example of this.

Alec Baldwin is a talented actor with an impressive resume, detailing 40 years of experience and over 100 projects. Baldwin has also been nominated for, and won, several major awards such as an Emmy and Golden Globe.

While working on a  new project, he accidentally killed someone. 

While filming the movie “Rust'” in Oct. 2021, Baldwin used a prop gun that was loaded unbeknownst to him. The gun was not properly checked prior to it being fired. He fatally shot cinematographer Haylna Hutchins and wounded producer Joel Souza.

The movie went into an indefinite suspension after that.

The production company was ultimately the ones to blame for cutting costs and not doing routine checks on the props. Despite everything being an accident, Baldwin’s mental health still suffered severely.

Baldwin felt tremendous guilt for the death of Hutchins and took to social media to apologize publicly.

The movie was just picked up again for production in January. 

Producers and fans demand so much out of actors. However, they sometimes forget that actors also have mental, emotional and physical limits. Baldwin certainly isn’t the first actor to endure mental health issues under all of this pressure.

Actor Kit Harrington had to check himself into rehab after his television show, Game of Thrones ended. He had been acting on the show for over eight years and checked himself in after the stress became too much for him which caused him to turn to alcohol as a coping mechanism.

Many actors suffer from mental health issues because their job is very demanding.

They have to memorize lines, jump from one emotion to another, work long hours and act out potentially uncomfortable scenes. This is all just what they experience while filming, though it is important to remember that being away from loved ones and frequent travel can also pile on the stress.

Production companies need to add mental health resources to their budget, as acting can take a toll on a person. It’s hard to have the pressure of needing to please everyone on your shoulders.

If actors are expected to memorize lines, they should also be expected to take care of their mental health. 

Resources production companies should include is an on-site mental health counselor and mandatory therapy sessions so that when actors are feeling overwhelmed, they have someone to talk to rather than having to endure mental health issues on their own and in silence.

Many actors may experience mental health issues from all the backlash and hate that they receive through social media, as well. As fans, we can do our part by making sure we don’t say or post anything that can further trigger mental health for the actors. 

The film industry is one of the main sources of our entertainment as there are many successful projects being created every year, enticing a growing audience.

It’s also a place where people follow their passions and pursue dream careers. However, mental health needs to remain at the forefront of the film industry. We tend to forget that actors are people too. 

The reason why we get to turn on our favorite tv show at night is because of the effort actors put into their work. If their mental health isn’t being supported, then we might not get to see the next episode. 

This story was written by Krisha Patel. She can be reached at [email protected]

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