What a horrific tragedy.
Alec Baldwin was filming a Western called Rust in Santa Fe, New Mexico on Thursday when a scene called for him to fire a prop gun. It should have fired harmlessly, being loaded with blank rounds. However, when the gun went off, a projectile came out and struck both the film’s director and director of photography.
According to TMZ‘s sources, director Joel Souza was hit in the clavicle and was taken to the nearest hospital by ambulance where he is now being treated for his injuries. However, cinematographer Halyna Hutchins‘ injuries were more severe. She was transported by helicopter to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque, where she died.
The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s office confirmed in a statement that Hutchins and Souza “were shot when a prop firearm was discharged by Alec Baldwin, 68, producer and actor.”
It’s unclear if the wrong rounds were loaded or if there was shrapnel in the barrel. An investigation is currently underway. No arrests have been made. At this time the word “accident” is not yet being used officially. Sheriff’s spokesman Juan Rios explained:
“The Sheriff’s office is referring to this incident as a shooting investigation. That detail will be addressed by detectives as they work their case… According to investigators it appears that the scene being filmed involved the use of a prop firearm when it was discharged. Detectives are investigating how and what type of projectile was discharged.”
The Santa Fe New Mexican reported that Baldwin was in tears after being interviewed by investigators.
A distraught Alec Baldwin, after being questioned in the shooting death of a crew member during filming of a new movie in NM. Baldwin is alleged to have fired the "prop" gun. No charges have been filed. Photo courtesy: Santa Fe New Mexican. @cbs46 pic.twitter.com/qZRwz6jEwi
— Rick Folbaum (@RickFolbaum) October 22, 2021
Rust is a Western written and directed by Souza and starring Supernatural‘s Jensen Ackles. It’s unclear at this point if the film will continue production. Rust Movie Productions LLC, the production company set up for the film, issued a statement saying production was halted “for an undetermined period of time”:
“The entire cast and crew has been absolutely devastated by today’s tragedy, and we send our deepest condolences to Halyna’s family and loved ones. We have halted production on the film for an undetermined period of time and are fully cooperating with the Santa Fe Police Department’s investigation. We will be providing counseling services to everyone connected to the film as we work to process this awful event.”
Earlier on Thursday, Baldwin had posted a photo of himself from set on his Instagram, presumably from earlier takes of the scene with the shooting, as he had fake blood on his costume. He deleted the photo shortly after news of the incident broke:
It’s shocking that an accident of this severity could still happen on a movie set in 2021, after the horrible history that includes Brandon Lee‘s death on the set of The Crow, an incident this sadly brings to mind.
You may not have heard of Hutchins, but you likely would have. She was been named a “rising star” by American Cinematographer in 2019. Friend and fellow DP Michael Pessah told Variety:
“She’s a wonderful, positive, creative person that was so excited to be breaking through and making movies. She was really on the upswing.”
She was just 42 years old. So unimaginable.
Our hearts are with her loved ones right now.
[Image via FayesVision/WENN/Alec Baldwin/Instagram.]
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