Producer and actor Alec Baldwin accidentally killed a crew member and injured another on set with a prop gun yesterday.
While filming on the set of the movie Rust in New Mexico on Thursday, Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun loaded with a blank cartridge that killed the film’s director of photography, Halyna Hutchins, 42, and injured the director, Joel Souza, 48.
According to the Santa Fe County sheriff’s office, Hutchins was flown by helicopter to the University of New Mexico Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Souza was taken to the hospital by ambulance and was released the next day.
"There was an accident today on the New Mexico set of Rust involving the misfire of a prop gun with blanks," a spokesperson for Baldwin said in a statement. "Production has been halted for the time being. The safety of our cast and crew remains our top priority."
The sheriff’s office said that no charges have been filed and that the investigation is ongoing.
Halyna Hutchins was originally from Ukraine, where she grew up “on a Soviet military base in the Arctic Circle surrounded by reindeer and nuclear submarines,” according to her website. She had a background in investigative journalism and documentaries before moving to Los Angeles. She was named one of American Cinematographer’s Rising Stars of 2019.
Details of how the tragedy occurred are scant, and everyone is wondering what happened. Actor Dominic Monaghan took to Instagram today to explain what working with a gun on set should look like, describing how he’s worked with an armorer who not only taught him how to use the gun but showed him that it was safe and completely empty. Monaghan also described another instance where he had to stand up to a director and refuse to use a prop gun loaded with a blank cartridge as the blanks can still do damage. He recounted shooting the “blank” through a piece of paper to prove to the director that holding the prop gun against his temple and pulling the trigger was a terrible idea.
Monaghan argues that blank cartridges are not necessary on set, as the sounds and special effects can all be added in post-production through editing.
A previous fatal shooting with a prop gun occurred in 1993 on the set of The Crows, killing actor Brandon Lee.