A tragedy occurred Thursday on the set of Rust, the upcoming Alec Baldwin movie which was currently filming in New Mexico. A prop gun for the film was accidentally discharged and the director of photography, Halyna Hutchins was killed. The film’s writer and director, Joel Souza, was also injured in the accident. According to Deadline, and other outlets, Alec Baldwin was holding the prop gun at the time. It is unclear what exactly happened with the prop gun that could have led to such a deadly event. No criminal charges have been filed against anyone involved with the early reports all concluding that this tragic event was an accident.
The incident occurred during the afternoon on Thursday. Right after the event, emergency medical teams were called to the scene via a 911 call. Hutchins was airlifted to the University of New Mexico Hospital but died of her injuries while en route to the facility. Souza was being treated for his injuries at a local hospital but appeared to be in stable condition. Alec Baldwin was seen entering and exiting the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s headquarters and, according to some reports, looking “distraught”. Reports are still coming in on what exactly happened on the set that could have led to such a terrible outcome. Prop guns, on the set of films, are not meant to hold live rounds of ammunition. They are meant to replicate the sound of a gun firing, but there are to be no projectiles in the chamber.
According to the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office, the investigation remains “active and open”. By all accounts, the discharge of the prop gun, possibly held by Alec Baldwin at the time, was a total and complete accident. While great care is often taken with props on movie sets, this isn’t the first time there has been an accident of this type. Most famously, actor Brandon Lee was tragically shot and killed on the set of The Crow in 1993 when improperly made dummy rounds were fired from a prop gun while filming a scene for the movie.
Rust was co-written by Alec Baldwin and Joel Souza with the latter working as the director as well. Halyna Hutchins was in charge of cinematography after having previously worked on films like Archenemy and Darlin’ in recent years. Other notables on the set of Rust include Travis Frimmel, Frances Fisher, and Jensen Ackles. The Western film was set to follow Alec Baldwin’s character, Harland Rust, as he tries to break his grandson out of prison before the teenager is hanged for a murder he didn’t commit. Filming had just begun this month with a reported budget of under $6 million dollars.
Production on Rust has been halted in the wake of this tragedy. Cast and crew members had been sent home and the scene was now part of an active investigation. People throughout the industry were quick to ring in with sadness about this tragedy, expressing condolences for the loss of Hutchins. We will have more information when it is released concerning the details of the accident, what occurred and how exactly such a terrible thing happened on the set of Rust.