Actor Alec Baldwin discharged a prop gun on the sets of his upcoming film Rust, which left the cinematographer dead and the director injured on Thursday, Deadline reported.
The Santa Fe Police Department of New Mexico confirmed the death of Halyna Hutchins, the director of photography. The 42-year-old cinematographer was transported via helicopter to University of New Mexico Hospital, where she was pronounced dead by medical personnel.
Director Joel Souza, 48, was transported in an ambulance to Christus St Vincent Regional Medical Center. He is currently 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,” read the statement from the Santa Fe sheriff.
Deadline confirmed that production of the Western feature film has been halted for the time being, and the set is under lockdown.
Members of the Sheriff’s Department told Deadline that Baldwin, who serves as a producer as well as writer on the film, was released after being questioned by the investigators. No arrests or charges have been filed, they said.
The police department received a 911 call from the movie set at Bonanza Creek Ranch in New Mexico on Thursday about the incident. The sheriff’s office said the incident was caused when a prop gun was discharged by Baldwin. Deadline reports that the 68-year-old actor was unaware of the type of ammunition in the gun.
Meanwhile, the Cinematographers Guild’s National President John Lindley and National Executive Director Rebecca Rhine, said in a statement, “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.”
The Screen Actors Guild – American Federation for Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) wrote in a statement on Twitter, “We are devastated by this tragic news. Our hearts go out to the family of Director of Photography Halyna Hutchins who has passed away, and to Director Joel Souza who is injured and hospitalized.”
“This is still an active investigation and we do not yet have all the facts. We will continue to work with production, the other unions, and the authorities to investigate this incident and to understand how to prevent such a thing from happening again,” said SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher and National Executive Director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland.
Rust is an American Western film that features Travis Fimmel, Brady Noon, Frances Fisher, and Jensen Ackles, along with Baldwin. Announced in May 2020, the film follows an “infamous western outlaw Harland Rust (Baldwin), who has had a bounty on his head for as long as he can remember. When his estranged 13-year-old grandson Lucas is convicted of an accidental murder and sentenced to hang, Rust travels to Kansas to break him out of prison. Together, the two fugitives must outrun the legendary US Marshal Wood Helm and bounty-hunter Fenton ‘Preacher’ Lang who are hot on their tail.”