Did Alec Baldwin kill crew member? Here’s why ‘Rust’ filming was shut down
Tragedy struck the cast and crew of 'Rust', an upcoming Western featuring Alec Baldwin on October 21. According to reports, one crew member was killed and another injured after a prop gun was discharged with projectiles, hitting director of photography Halyna Hutchins and writer-director Joel Souza. We can confirm Hutchins has died, while Souza is being treated. Production has now been shut down while the Santa Fe Sheriff's Office investigates the case.
Despite the extreme safety measures in modern-day filmmaking, tragic accidents tend to occur from time to time. Back in 2019, Vin Diesel's stunt double plunged 30 feet to his death while shooting 'F9'. Around the same time, special effects coordinator Warren Appleby died in a freak accident at the special effects shop of 'Titans'. More recently, Letitia Wright was injured on the sets of 'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever', but the injury was reported mild and didn't require production to be impacted.
Details of the incident on the New Mexico set of 'Rust' are thin, but we can confirm Hutchins passed away, and a prop was involved. In a more breaking update, it has also been reported star Alec Baldwin was directly involved in the incident. So far, no criminal charges have been filed, but criminal investigators were on the scene at the Bonanza Creek Ranch.
Did Alec Baldwin kill the crew member?
A brief statement from Rust Movie Productions said, "There was an accident today on the New Mexico set of Rust involving the misfire of a prop gun with blanks. Two crew members have been taken to the hospital and are receiving care. Production has been halted for the time being. The safety of our cast and crew remains our top priority." The Daily Mail first reported that it was Baldwin who was holding the gun when it went off.
According to the Mail, "Baldwin, 68, was confirmed as the individual who fired the prop gun, which somehow unintentionally launched a projectile or projectiles at the crew members." That was confirmed by the Sheriff's Office, who also noted, "Detectives are investigating how (the prop firearm was used) and what type of projectile was discharged," in a statement to Deadline. It is being reported that instead of blanks, the gun fired shrapnel or even live ammunition.
The set has now been shut with the investigation ongoing. Photos show security guards blocking the entrance to the Bonanza Creek Ranch, a rural filming location in New Mexico. There is no word on the condition of Souza, who wrote the screenplay for the film. He is reportedly being treated at Christus St. Vincent’s hospital. Baldwin is not injured, according to reports. Given that Hutchins' death was an accident, criminal charges may not be filed.
Hutchins was widely regarded to be a rising Hollywood star and was named by American Cinematographer as one of the 'cinematographers to watch' in 2019. Before 'Rust', she worked on 'Darlin'', 'Blindfire', and 'The Mad Hatter'. Friends and family are now mourning her on Instagram, leaving messages on a video she uploaded from the sets of 'Rust' days ago. In fact, shortly prior to the incident, Baldwin also shared a photo of himself from the sets.
'Rust' is a Western written and directed by Souza, and also features Jensen Ackles, Frances Fisher, Douglas Stewart, and Travis Fimmel in key roles. It's unclear how long production will remain shut, and if and when Souza will return.