Update, 5:13 p.m. ET Friday: Following Local 44’s Friday email, which described the gun fired by Alec Baldwin as being loaded with “a live single round,” there remains a lack of clarity around what kind of projectile was in the gun.
Citing a source close to Local 44, the Los Angeles Times reported that the union is unaware of what projectile was in the gun fired by Baldwin. The source pointed out that “live” is an industry term that refers to a gun loaded with material, such as a blank, in preparation for filming.
Local 44 did not return IndieWire’s request for comment.
A Baldwin representative told People Thursday that the shooting was an accident “involving the misfire of a prop gun with blanks.” The Santa Fe Sheriff’s Department has declined to reveal details about the nature of the shooting, which led to the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza.
“The incident occurred not even 24 hours ago. We don’t have any forensics on those particulars. We can’t confirm that one way or another. We’re going to allow our investigators to conduct our investigation,” a sheriff’s department spokesman Juan Rios told People Friday.
As IndieWire reported earlier Friday, the nonprofit that oversees industry safety has two distinct sets of standards for “blank ammunition” and “live ammunition,” the latter of which is severely restricted.
Earlier Friday: Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed on the New Mexico set of the film “Rust” after she was shot by a prop gun fired by the film’s star and producer, Alec Baldwin. IATSE Local 44, which covers prop masters, sent an email to its members early Friday morning that said the gun used in the scene contained “a live single round” and the production’s propmaster was not a member of Local 44. Director Joel Souza also was hit and injured by a bullet and was treated at an area hospital before being released.
Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to Bonanza Creek Ranch, a popular filming location south of Santa Fe, Thursday afternoon in response to a 911 caller reporting a shooting on set. No charges have been filed and the incident remains under investigation.
“The sheriff’s office confirms that two individuals were shot on the set of Rust. Halyna Hutchins, 42, director of photography and Joel Souza, 48, director, were shot when a prop firearm was discharged by Alec Baldwin, 68, producer and actor,” reads a statement from the sheriff’s department. “Ms. Hutchins was transported, via helicopter, to University of New Mexico Hospital where she was pronounced dead by medical personnel. Mr. Souza was transported by ambulance to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical center where he is undergoing treatment for his injuries. This investigation remains open and active. No charges have been filed in regard to this incident. Witnesses continue to be interviewed by detectives.”
“Mr. Baldwin was questioned by investigators and released,” a Santa Fe Sheriff’s Department official told Deadline. “No arrests or charges have been filed.”
Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Juan Rios told the New York Times that the incident happened in the middle of a scene that was being rehearsed or filmed. “We’re trying to determine right now how and what type of projectile was used in the firearm,” he said.
In the email that IATSE Local 44 sent to its membership, Secretary-Treasurer Anthony Pawluc described the event as an “an accidental weapons discharge” in which “A live single round was accidentally fired on set by the principal actor, hitting both the Director of Photography, Local 600 member Halnya Hutchins, and Director Joel Souza … Local 44 has confirmed that the Props, Set Decoration, Special Effects and Construction Departments were staffed by New Mexico crew members. There were no Local 44 members on the call sheet.”
The International Cinematographers Guild released the following statement Thursday night: “We received the devastating news this evening, that one of our members, Halyna Hutchins, the Director of Photography on a production called ‘Rust’ in New Mexico died from injuries sustained on the set. The details are unclear at this moment, but we are working to learn more, and we support a full investigation into this tragic event. This is a terrible loss, and we mourn the passing of a member of our Guild’s family,”
Hutchins, who was based in Los Angeles, graduated from AFI in 2015. She was named one of American Cinematographer’s Rising Stars of 2019. She previously worked as an investigative journalist on documentaries in Europe, according to her website.
The Ukraine native’s credits include Pollyanna McIntosh’s horror film “Darlin’,” which premiered at SXSW in 2019; Adam Egypt Mortimer’s “Archenemy,” which premiered at Beyond Fest last year; and Mike Nell’s “Blindfire.”
Her recent Instagram posts include a video of her riding horseback in New Mexico on a day off from production, and a photo of the film’s cast and crew alongside a message of IATSE solidarity.
“Rust” stars Baldwin as outlaw Harland Rust, whose grandson is convicted of an accidental murder. CAA Media Finance and Highland Film Group launched sales on the film at last year’s Cannes virtual market.
Fatal on-set gun incidents in Hollywood history include Brandon Lee, who died while shooting the 1994 film “The Crow,” and Jon-Erik Hexum, who died while shooting an episode of the 1984 CBS TV series “Cover Up.” In Hexum’s case, he held the gun while simulating Russian roulette; Lee died when cast member Michael Massee fired the gun in a scene.