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Tragic news came out of New Mexico on the indie western production of Rust. Multiple news outlets are reporting one person killed and another one treated for injuries after a discharge from a prop gun fired by Alec Baldwin on set.
Specific details of the incident are still under investigation by local authorities at Bonanza Creek Ranch, a popular production location south of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, 42, was identified as the deceased as she died upon arrival at the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque. The other victim was identified as director Joel Souza, who is undergoing treatment for injuries at the Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center in Santa Fe.
A statement from the local Sheriff’s office said that Hutchins and Souza, “were shot when a prop firearm was discharged by Alec Baldwin, 68, producer, and actor.” Baldwin was questioned by investigators and released. No charges are filed at this time.
The Santa Fe New Mexican reported that Baldwin “was in tears” over the accident.
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The case remains an “open and active” investigation. According to Deadline, Baldwin was unaware of any type of ammunition in the prop gun. On a movie set, the prop master or armorer is responsible for any firearms safety.
“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,” said John Lindley, president of the International Cinematographers Guild, Local 600. “The details are unclear at this moment, but we are working to learn more, and we support a full investigation of this tragic event. This is a terrible loss, and we mourn the passing of a member of our Guild’s family.
Hutchins graduated from the American Film Institute in 2015. She worked on multiple short films, including the feature film Archenemy starring Joe Manganiello. In 2019, she was named “rising star” by American Cinematographer.
Rust also stars Frances Fisher, Jensen Ackles, Brady Noon, and Travis Fimmel. Souza also wrote the script for the western with Baldwin on board as a co-producer.
The film is about Harland Rust (Baldwin) as an infamous western outlaw with a bounty on his head. His 13-year-old grandson Lucas (Noon) is convicted of accidental murder and sentenced to a hanging. Rust travels to Kansas to free him from prison as they successfully escape. The fugitives escape in the frontier with the pursuit of U.S. Marshal Wood Helm (Ackles) and bounty hunter Fenton “Preacher” Lang (Fimmel) in hot pursuit.
This tragic incident is reminding fans on social media of the 1993 accidental shooting of Brandon Lee on the set of The Crow after he was shot in the head with blanks. There was another incident in 1984 when actor Jon-Erik Hexum accidentally shot himself with a gun loaded with blanks in the television series Cover Up.
Rust production is halted until further notice. No other official statements are released at this time.