Skip to main content

Home Film Film News

‘Rust’ director recalls events leading up to fatal shooting of Halyna Hutchins in new court documents

Halyna Hutchins was shot dead after Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun that had been declared safe for use

By Nick Reilly

Halyna working with a camera
Halyna had been working on the set of 'Rust' at the time of the tragedy (Pic: Twitter @Joemanganiello)

The director of ‘Rust’ has spoken out on the moment he witnessed Alec Baldwin fatally shoot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the movie’s set in New Mexico.

Hutchins died during the movie’s production last week after Baldwin fired a prop gun that had been wrongly declared safe for use, while director Joel Souza was hospitalised.

In a new affidavit secured by the The New York Times, Souza explained he had been told the gun was safe and it had been described as a “cold gun” in safety briefings. He added that weapons were usually checked by chief armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, before follow-up checks by assistant director Dave Halls.

Souza went on to explain that the crew had set up a scene in a church before the incident took place and then went for lunch, but he was “not sure if the firearm was checked again” upon their return.

The fateful incident, Souza explained, occurred during a rehearsal which saw Baldwin “cross drawing” a revolver and pointing it directly at the camera.

He was “viewing the camera angle” next to Hutchins when he suddenly noticed her grabbing her stomach and stumbling backwards, while also noticing he was bleeding from his shoulder.

The document also poses fresh questions about the working conditions on set, which is said to have been plagued by delays. Six camera operators are said to have quit over late pay and safety concerns, while labour problems later arose with a fresh crew hired in their place.

Elsewhere in the affidavit, cameraman Reid Russell said Dave Halls took the gun from a tray personally overseen by Gutierrez-Reed and shouted “cold gun” as he handed it to Baldwin.

The crew were in the process of repositioning the camera when Baldwin reportedly explained how he planned to pull out the weapon for the shot, subsequently removing it from the holster when it discharged.

He added that he “remembered Joel having blood on his person, and Ms. Hutchins speaking and saying she couldn’t feel her legs”.

Baldwin spoke out about the incident for the first time last Friday, speaking of his “shock and sadness” while also paying tribute to Hutchins.

A fresh petition has also been established by actor Xander Berkeley which calls on the industry to ban real guns on set.