Actor Alec Baldwin said his “heart is broken” and he is “fully co-operating” with police after a prop gun he fired killed a cinematographer on the set of his new movie.
In a series of tweets, he said: “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.
“I’m fully co-operating with the police investigation to address how this tragedy occurred and I am in touch with her husband, offering my support to him and his family.
“My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna.”
The woman who died is Halyna Hutchins, a 42-year-old director of photography, and the injured man is Joel Souza, the film’s director.
Hutchins was taken to the University of New Mexico Hospital but later pronounced dead.
Souza was taken by ambulance to Christus St Vincent Regional Medical Center, but has since been discharged, actress Frances Fisher said.
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Innovative Artists, who represented Hutchins, said in a statement: “Halyna Hutchins was a ray of light. Always smiling, always hopeful. She decided early on she would take the craft of cinematography by storm and the last couple of years proved she was well on her way.
“Her talent was immense, only surpassed by the love she had for her family. All those in her orbit knew what was coming; a star director of photography, who would be a force to be reckoned with.
“All of us at Innovative Artists are heartbroken. We mourn for her family and we hope this tragedy will reveal new lessons for how to better ensure safety for every crew member on set.”
Who was Halyna Hutchins? Tributes paid to ‘brilliant’ cinematographer
Baldwin was later seen on Thursday outside the sheriff’s office in tears. Detectives said he willingly provided a statement.
A spokesman for Baldwin, who is producing and starring in the film, previously said there was an accident involving the misfire of a prop gun with blanks.
Juan Rios, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office, said: “This investigation remains open and active. No charges have been filed in regard to this incident. Witnesses continue to be interviewed by detectives.”
Police are investigating how and what type of projectile was discharged.
Rust, which was due to keep filming until November, is about a 13-year-old boy who is left to fend for himself and his younger brother after his parents’ death in 1800s Kansas, according to the Internet Movie Database.
The film’s production has been halted and the company making the film said it is providing counselling services to everyone connected with it.
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A former army officer and firearms instructor said: “A thought should be spared also for the actor who discharged the firearm because that is something he’s going to have to live with for the rest of his life – when these things happen they are awful.”
Hutchins was named a “rising star” by American Cinematographer magazine in 2019 and was director of photography on the 2020 action film Archenemy, starring Joe Manganiello.
“I’m so sad about losing Halyna,” said Archenemy director Adam Egypt Mortimer on Twitter.
“And so infuriated that this could happen on a set.
“She was a brilliant talent who was absolutely committed to art and to film.”
Manganiello said he was lucky to have Hutchins as director of photography on the film.
Halyna was shooting the Western RUST when she died. Women cinematographers have historically been kept from genre film, and it seems especially cruel that one of the rising stars who was able to break through had her life cut short on the kind of project we’ve been fighting for.
— 𝖊𝖑𝖑𝖊 𝖘𝖕𝖎𝖉𝖊𝖗 🕷️🕸️ (@elleschneider) October 22, 2021
American filmmaker Elle Schneider wrote on Twitter: “Sick and devastated to hear that my friend and rockstar cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed on set today in New Mexico.
“I don’t have words to describe this tragedy. I want answers. I want her family to somehow find peace among this horrific, horrific loss.
“Halyna was shooting the Western RUST when she died. Women cinematographers have historically been kept from genre film, and it seems especially cruel that one of the rising stars who was able to break through had her life cut short on the kind of project we’ve been fighting for.”
What other fatal accidents have happened on movie sets?
The incident has been compared with the death of Brandon Lee, son of the late martial arts star Bruce Lee, who died while filming a death scene for the movie The Crow in 1993 when he was 28 years old.
The .44-calibre weapon used was supposed to fire a blank but an autopsy revealed a bullet lodged near his spine.
Our hearts go out to the family of Halyna Hutchins and to Joel Souza and all involved in the incident on “Rust”. No one should ever be killed by a gun on a film set. Period. 💔
— Brandon Bruce Lee (@brandonblee) October 22, 2021
A Twitter account run by Lee’s sister Shannon said: “Our hearts go out to the family of Halyna Hutchins and to Joel Souza and all involved in the incident on ‘Rust.’ No one should ever be killed by a gun on a film set. Period.”