Single live round found in prop gun fired by Baldwin - report

American actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun on the set of the feature film Rust, killing a cinematographer and wounding a director.

Alec Baldwin (photo credit: REUTERS)
Alec Baldwin
(photo credit: REUTERS)

The prop gun that killed a movie cinematographer on an Alec Baldwin film set in New Mexico contained a single live round, a Hollywood union said in a memo to members, according to movie industry trade publications.

"A live single round was accidentally fired on set by the principal actor, hitting both the Director of Photography, Local 600 member Halyna Hutchins, and Director Joel Souza," a local branch of the IATSE union told members in the memo, according to Variety and IndieWire.

Baldwin shot Halyna Hutchins, the photography director of Rust, and Joel Souza, the film's director, at the Bonanza Creek Ranch, a production location south of Santa Fe, according to the Santa Fe Sheriff's Department.

Hutchins was transported by helicopter to the University of New Mexico Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Souza was taken by ambulance to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical center to undergo treatment for his injuries. The severity of his injuries could not immediately be determined.

Alec Baldwin (credit: REUTERS)Alec Baldwin (credit: REUTERS)

Known for his impersonations of former US President Donald Trump on NBC's comedy sketch show "Saturday Night Live," Baldwin is a versatile actor who has starred in both comedies and dramas over a long career in film and television. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance in 1993's "The Cooler" and has won multiple Emmy and Golden Globe awards.

Production of "Rust" has been halted for an "undetermined period," several news outlets quoted the film's production company, Rust Movie Productions LLC, as saying. An e-mail to an address for the film production went unanswered.

The road leading to the set location was closed on Friday morning, with security guards turning people away.

ANOTHER ON-SET SHOOTING

The shooting evoked memories of an on-set accident in 1993 when US actor Brandon Lee, son of martial arts legend Bruce Lee, died at age 28 after being fatally wounded by a prop gun while filming "The Crow."

"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," said a tweet https://bit.ly/3jsrSMV from Lee's account, which is handled by his sister.

The accident renewed debate about whether certain types of prop guns should be banned.

"This suggestion doesn't help any of them, but it's time to stop being macho about blanks and end the practice," Ben Rockula, a director, said on Twitter.

Earlier on Thursday, Baldwin had posted a picture of himself on Instagram from the set dressed in cowboy-style attire, with what appeared to be a fake blood stain on his shirt and jacket.

The post was deleted on Thursday night.

Hutchins, 42, who was originally from Ukraine and grew up on a Soviet military base in the Arctic Circle, once worked as an investigative reporter in Europe, her website said.

She graduated from the American Film Institute in 2015 and was selected as one of American Cinematographer's Rising Stars of 2019, her website http://www.halynahutchinsdp.com/bio said.

She described herself as a "Restless Dreamer" and an "Adrenaline junkie" on her Instagram page.

Her last post, two days ago, shows her grinning under a wide-brimmed hat as she rides a horse. "One of the perks of shooting a western is you get to ride horses on your day off:)" she captioned the video.

April Wright, a writer, director and producer, paid tribute to her on Facebook.

"I'm in disbelief," wrote Wright. "So young, vibrant, and talented. Such a wonderful soul. My heart goes out to her son and family."

Representatives for Hutchins did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

"I'm so sad about losing Halyna. And so infuriated that this could happen on a set," director Adam Egypt Mortimer, who worked with Hutchins on the 2020 movie "Archenemy," wrote on Twitter.

"She was a brilliant talent who was absolutely committed to art and to film."

Souza, 48, directed, wrote and produced "Crown Vic," a 2019 action film also co-produced by Baldwin.

The New Mexico Film Office, which promotes the state as a location for movies and television, declined to comment.

The Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, which represents 160,000 actors and other media professionals, said it would investigate the incident "to understand how to prevent such a thing from happening again."

Known for his impersonations of former US President Donald Trump on NBC's comedy sketch show "Saturday Night Live," Baldwin is a versatile actor who has starred in both comedies and dramas over a long career in film and television. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance in 1993's "The Cooler" and has won multiple Emmy and Golden Globe awards.

Production of "Rust" has been halted for an "undetermined period," several news outlets quoted the film's production company, Rust Movie Productions LLC, as saying. An e-mail to an address for the film production went unanswered.

The road leading to the set location was closed on Friday morning, with security guards turning people away.

ANOTHER ON-SET SHOOTING

The shooting evoked memories of an on-set accident in 1993 when US actor Brandon Lee, son of martial arts legend Bruce Lee, died at age 28 after being fatally wounded by a prop gun while filming "The Crow."

"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," said a tweet from Lee's account, which is handled by his sister.

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 

The accident renewed debate about whether certain types of prop guns should be banned.

"This suggestion doesn't help any of them, but it's time to stop being macho about blanks and end the practice," Ben Rockula, a director, said on Twitter.

Earlier on Thursday, Baldwin had posted a picture of himself on Instagram from the set dressed in cowboy-style attire, with what appeared to be a fake blood stain on his shirt and jacket.

The post was deleted on Thursday night.

Hutchins, 42, who was originally from Ukraine and grew up on a Soviet military base in the Arctic Circle, once worked as an investigative reporter in Europe, her website said.

She graduated from the American Film Institute in 2015 and was selected as one of American Cinematographer's Rising Stars of 2019, her website http://www.halynahutchinsdp.com/bio said.

She described herself as a "Restless Dreamer" and an "Adrenaline junkie" on her Instagram page.

Her last post, two days ago, shows her grinning under a wide-brimmed hat as she rides a horse. "One of the perks of shooting a western is you get to ride horses on your day off:)" she captioned the video.

April Wright, a writer, director and producer, paid tribute to her on Facebook.

"I'm in disbelief," wrote Wright. "So young, vibrant, and talented. Such a wonderful soul. My heart goes out to her son and family."

Representatives for Hutchins did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

"I'm so sad about losing Halyna. And so infuriated that this could happen on a set," director Adam Egypt Mortimer, who worked with Hutchins on the 2020 movie "Archenemy," wrote on Twitter.

"She was a brilliant talent who was absolutely committed to art and to film."

Souza, 48, directed, wrote and produced "Crown Vic," a 2019 action film also co-produced by Baldwin.

The New Mexico Film Office, which promotes the state as a location for movies and television, declined to comment.

The Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, which represents 160,000 actors and other media professionals, said it would investigate the incident "to understand how to prevent such a thing from happening again."