American actor and producer Alec Baldwin, famous for his movie roles and his impersonation of Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live, fired a gun used in the filming of the western “Rust”. Director of photography Halyna Hutchins has passed away, and director Joel Souza seriously injured.
Fatal accident on the set of “Rust” involving Alec Baldwin
Terrible shock for the world of cinema. Thursday, October 21, 2021, at the Bonanza Creek ranch, a famous film location in the Santa Fe region, a very serious accident has taken place. As the western turns Rust, written and directed by Joel Souza and which Alec Baldwin co-produces and performs, an accidental gunfire occurred during a sequence that included dummy weapons. According to the spokesperson for the Santa Fe sheriff, this shot was fired by Alec Baldwin. Director of photography Halyna Hutchins was fatally injured. Director Joel Souza was injured.
Urgently rushed to Albuquerque hospital, 42-year-old Halyna Hutchins is sadly died of her injuries. A nearby hospital took care of director Joel Souza, 48. He arrived, according to the Santa Fe sheriff’s spokesperson, in “critical” condition.
A tragedy and gray areas
As AFP has been informed, the actor then voluntarily surrendered to authorities to make a statement and answer questions. For the moment no prosecution has been initiated nor any arrests made.
It’s hard to imagine that such a thing could still happen. Indeed, strict safety protocols exist for filming involving the use of such accessories. We remember the death of Brandon Lee in 1993. The son of the legendary Bruce Lee was fatally wounded in the stomach by a gun, also supposed to be loaded “blank”, on the set of the film The Crow.
Investigators are currently working to determine exactly what happened. It is indeed a question of establishing whether the safety protocols were respected and what were the actions of Alec Baldwin during the accident. The production of the film Rust was thus stopped for an indefinite time.
In an official statement, Rust Movie Productions LLC said on Thursday night:
The entire cast and crew were absolutely devastated by today’s tragedy, and we send our deepest condolences to Halyna’s family and loved ones. We have ceased production of the film indefinitely and are fully cooperating with Santa Fe Police investigators.
As revealed by IndieWire later in the day of October 22, 2021, an email sent by the IATSE Local 44 union to its members, which represents several professions in the entertainment industry (decorators, props, special effects technicians, builders, costume designers, etc. ) informs that members of the New Mexico team have prepared the props. It is specified that the head props in charge of the local filming of Rust is not part of the union. Furthermore, no Local 44 member was present at the time of the accident.
In this email, it is written that the weapon-accessory contained “a real ammunition”. This shot hit Halyna Hutchins as well as Joel Souza, killing the first and injuring the second. In addition Joel Souza, after being taken urgently to the hospital, was able to quickly get out once his injuries were taken care of.