Who was Halyna Hutchins?
Halyna was a 42-year-old cinematographer who worked on movies including Archenemy, Blindfire, and The Mad Hatter. In 2019, she was featured in American Cinematographer magazine as one of 10 “up-and-coming directors of photography who are making their mark.”
She was also one of eight participants in the Fox DP Lab, a program striving to create new opportunities for female cinematographers.
Actor Joe Manganiello, who worked with her on Archenemy, remembered her as “an absolutely incredible talent and a great person" in a touching Instagram tribute posted on the day of the shooting.
"She had such an eye and a visual style, she was the kind of cinematographer that you wanted to see succeed because you wanted to see what she could pull off next. There was no amount of pressure she couldn’t handle. She was a great collaborator and an ally to anyone in front of her camera. Everyone who knew her was rooting for her.”
Halyna shared a son with her husband Matthew Hutchins, who told Insider that the family will "need a little bit of time before we can really encapsulate her life in a way that is easy to communicate.
"I don’t think there are words to communicate the situation," he told the publication.
In a heartbreaking Twitter post, Matthew expressed his deep love for his wife and asked the media to respect the family's privacy. He also thanked the American Film Institute for creating a memorial scholarship fund in her nam which will support aspiring female cinematographers.
“Anyone seeking to honour her memory, please direct your giving to this fund,” Matthew tweeted.
How did the Rust shooting happen?
The fatal shooting occurred on the 21st October at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico. According to the Associated Press, Baldwin was given the prop firearm by the films assistant director, who had received it from the movie’s armorer — the trained professional overseeing the weapons.
According to the affidavit, the assistant director had told Baldwin that the gun was 'cold'—which is lingo for a weapon that doesn’t have any ammunition, including blanks.
After receiving the gun, Baldwin then practiced removing it from the holster twice as the crew readied the cameras, a source told the Los Angeles Times. During the second try, the firearm discharged, with the ammunition hitting both Halyna and director Joel Souza. Hutchins was then taken to hospital via helicopter, but did not survive. Souza was taken to the Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center in Santa Fe but has since been discharged.
However, two months after the death of Hutchins, Baldwin has sat down for his first interview since the tragedy, where his claims about everything that happened raised serious questions about the reports.
Who is at fault for the Rust shooting?
Given that the investigation is still ongoing, it is still unclear who exactly is at fault and what exactly went on. Detectives have been interviewing witnesses but no charges have been filed so far.
On top of this, multiple news outlets have reported unrest on set prior to the incident, with staff complaining and some even walking off. According to Variety, gun safety, COVID-19 protocols, long commutes and delayed pay checks were among their list of concerns. According to the LA Times, Baldwin's stunt double had accidentally fired two rounds after being told the gun was 'cold', with one crew member claiming there had been no follow-up on the incident and no investigation into how it happened.
What has Alec Baldwin said about Halyna Hutchins' death on Rust set?
In a new interview with ABC News and journalist George Stephanopoulos, Baldwin spoke openly about the events that took place, maintaining that he did not pull the trigger of the gun that killed Hutchins back in October.
When asked why the trigger was pulled, Stephanopoulos pointed out that the script didn’t ask for the gun to be fired.
“Well, the trigger wasn’t pulled. I didn’t pull the trigger,” Baldwin replied.
“So you never pulled the trigger?” Stephanopoulos asked.
“No, no, no, no, no,” he proclaimed. “I would never point a gun at anyone and pull the trigger at them. Never.”
However, Baldwin’s claims seem to differ from other crew members’ statements and reports by police who searched the film set. Search warrants released by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office reported that “the prop-gun was fired by the Actor Alec Baldwin”, as per Deadline.
Mamie Mitchell, the script supervisor who was standing close by Baldwin and called 911 after the shooting, also claimed that he “intentionally, without just cause or excuse, cocked and fired the loaded gun even though the upcoming scene to be filmed did not call for the cocking and firing of a firearm.”
When asked how a live bullet found its way into the prop gun on the film set, Baldwin claimed that he had “no idea”.
“Someone put a live bullet in a gun, a bullet that wasn’t even supposed to be on the property,” he said.
As for whether the death of Halyna Hutchins was the worst thing that ever happened to him, Baldwin responded immediately.
“Yes. Yep. Yep,” he said. “Because I think back and I think of, What could I have done?”
Discussing Hutchins and her impact on the industry, Baldwin became visibly emotional, burying his face in his hands and crying.
“She was someone who was loved by everyone who worked with [her] and liked by everyone who worked with [her] and admired,” he explained.
“I mean, even now, I find it hard to believe, It just doesn’t seem real to me.”
The remainder of Baldwin’s two-hour 20/20 interview will question the series of events further, and how he played a part in the tragedy on December 10, 2021.
Which celebrities have spoken out about the shooting?
Alec Baldwin spoke out for the first time on the 22nd October, expressing his deep sadness in a post on Twitter and Instagram.
“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 cooperating 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,” he wrote.
On the 31st October, Baldwin spoke out again, in a bid to stop photographers from following his family around in the wake of the tragedy. In a video released by TMZ, the actor said he is in "constant contact" with her family.
Debra Messing defended Baldwin in a Tweet in response to a comment that claimed he should be investigated as a criminal.
"A prop gun was handed to him. He used it in the scene. Then- a catastrophic event happened where Halnya Hutchins lost her life and Joel Souza was injured. I am praying for all of their families," she responded.
Hailey Bieber has also spoken out on her Instagram stories following the incident involving her uncle.
“Sending all my love to the family of Halyna Hutchins. This is a truly unimaginable and devastating tragedy. My thoughts are also with Joel Souza as he recovers. I am absolutely heartbroken for everyone involved,” she said.
Florence Pugh shared a photo of Halyna to her Instagram story writing,
"This tragedy has been firmly circling in my head all day and all night. This kind of ‘mistake’ is something that honestly worries me every time a set has to work with firearms. Naturally. This is an actual heartbreaking nightmare, for all parts involved. My heart aches so much for this woman and her family. The crew. Alec. Everyone who had to witness such a sloppy mistake play out. This shouldn’t happen. I still can’t wrap my head around why or how. Rest In Peace Halyna.”
Sophia Bush also took to social media to express her deep condolences.
"Hearing about what happened on the #RUST set yesterday shook me to my core. I’m heartbroken for Halyna’s family. Working with weapons on set is always terrifying. Whenever I’ve been handed a 'safe' and ready gun I’ve always said a prayer. I can’t fathom how the crew & cast are doing and I hope that an investigation offers some answers as to how this accident could’ve happened. It won’t bring her back, and it won’t lessen everyone’s trauma. But my god, people’s lives shouldn’t be at stake when we are telling stories. Stay vigilant. Sending love."