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Alec Baldwin discharged prop gun containing a ‘live single round’ in fatal ‘Rust’ set incident, reports

  • October 22, 2021

Alec Baldwin discharged a prop firearm on the set of the upcoming film “Rust” on Thursday, killing the cinematographer and injuring the film’s director in an on-set incident, authorities say. 

A helicopter transported cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, 42, to the University of New Mexico Hospital, where she was pronounced dead by medical personnel, according to the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office. The director, 48-year-old Joel Souza, was transported via ambulance to Christus St. Vincent’s hospital and has since been released, according to his rep Matt DelPiano.

Variety and IndieWire report that an email sent from IATSE Local 44 to its members confirms that the prop gun was loaded with “a live single” round. 

Previously, a spokesperson for Baldwin told The Associated Press said there was an accident on the set involving the misfire of a prop gun with blanks.

Baldwin spoke publicly for the first time Friday in a Twitter thread about the incident, writing he is “fully cooperating with the police.” 

“There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours,” he wrote. 

“According to investigators it appears that the scene being filmed involved the use of a prop firearm when it was discharged,” a release from the sheriff’s office said. “Detectives are investigating how and what type of projectile was discharged.”

The Santa Fe New Mexican reported Baldwin was seen Thursday outside the sheriff’s office in tears. USA TODAY’s attempts to get comment from him have been unsuccessful.

Deputies responded to a 911 call Thursday afternoon that someone had been shot on the Bonanza Creek Ranch set of “Rust,” according to the sheriff’s office.

The incident is still under active investigation and no charges have been filed, the sheriff’s office said. Detectives are continuing to interview witnesses.

“Rust” stars Baldwin, 63, who also serves as a producer on the film. Production on the Western has been halted.

The International Cinematographers Guild confirmed Thursday that the woman fatally shot was Hutchins.

“The details are unclear at this moment, but we are working to learn more, and we support a full investigation into this tragic event,” guild president John Lindley and executive director Rebecca Rhine said in a statement.

SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher and National Executive Director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland released a joint statement Thursday, writing they would be working with producers, unions and authorities to “prevent such a thing from happening again.”

“We are devastated by this tragic news. Our hearts go out to the family of Director of Photography Halyna Hutchins who has passed away and to Director Joel Souza who is injured and hospitalized,” the statement read. 

Hutchins previously served as director of cinematography for the 2020 action film “Archenemy,” starring Joe Manganiello. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Ukrainian born cinematographer worked as an investigative journalist in her first career for British documentary productions in Eastern Europe. In 2015 she graduated from the American Film Institute and was named a “rising star” by American Cinematographer in 2019. 

Hutchins’ most recent Instagram posts showcased images from the Bonanza Creek Ranch set. 

Souza last directed 2019’s “Crown Vic,” a feature starring Bridget Moynahan and Thomas Jane that was also produced by Baldwin.

Hollywood mourns Halyna Hutchins

Reactions began rolling in from Hollywood on Thursday evening.

“I’m in shock. I was so lucky to have had Halyna Hutchins as my DP on Archenemy. An incredible talent great person. I can’t believe this could happen in this day and age… gunfire from a prop gun could kill a crew member? What a horrible tragedy. My heart goes out to her family,” “Archenemy” star Manganiello tweeted. 

“Asking for your prayers tonight friends,” Baldwin’s younger brother Stephen Baldwin posted on Instagram Friday morning. “Not much can be said other than please pray for all involved in the wake of this tragic accident.” 

“I’m so sad about losing Halyna,” tweeted director Adam Egypt Mortimer, who worked with Hutchins on “Archenemy.” “And so infuriated that this could happen on a set. She was a brilliant talent who was absolutely committed to art and to film.”

“Absolutely horrifying and devastating news about cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins. My heart goes out to her family,” wrote Elijah Wood on Twitter.

“My greatest fear is that someone will be fatally hurt on one of my sets. I pray this will never happen. My heart goes out to all of those affected by the tragedy today on Rust, especially Halyna Hutchins her family,” wrote director James Gunn. 

The movie “Rust” is about a 13-year-old boy who is left to fend for himself and his younger brother following the death of their parents in 1880s Kansas, according to The teen goes on the run with his long estranged grandfather (played by Baldwin) after he’s sentenced to hang for the accidental killing of a local rancher.

Filming for “Rust” was set to continue into early November, according to a news release from the New Mexico Film Office.

Prop guns have been previously implicated in deaths on entertainment productions.

What is a prop gun?:How the Alec Baldwin tragedy was possible

In 1993, Brandon Lee, 28, son of the martial-arts star Bruce Lee, was accidentally shot to death with a prop gun while filming the movie “The Crow.″ The gun was intended to have fired a blank, but an autopsy found a bullet lodged near his spine.

More:Prop gun death at Alec Baldwin film ‘Rust’ isn’t the first accident on a movie set

In 1984, Jon-Erik Hexum, 26, died after shooting himself in the head with a prop gun blank while pretending to play Russian roulette on the set of the TV series ″Cover Up.″ 

Contributing: Andrea Mandell, Elise Brisco, USA TODAY; The Associated Press

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