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, 42-year-old Joel Souza, was transported via ambulance to Christus St. Vincent’s hospital and is receiving emergency treatment for his injuries.
“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.”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.
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, 68, 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.
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.
Reactions began rolling in from Hollywood on Thursday evening.”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 IMDb.com. 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.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.
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.″