Rust: Alec Baldwin Talk about Incident in First Interview

Alec Baldwin says ‘Rust’ Production Was “Well-Oiled” in First Interview

The ‘Rust’ star and producer confirmed that the production was wrapped for now before sharing that he has remained in contact with Hutchins’ husband and supports calls for increased gun safety on set.

 

Alec Baldwin addressed the Oct. 21 death of Rust cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and questions around the now -paused production in his first on-camera interview since the on-set shooting.

Speaking to reporters, while stopped on the side of a road in Manchester, V.T. on Saturday, Baldwin — who was with his wife Hilaria — once again spoke to the work and person that the Rust director of photography was, calling her his friend. He also commented on the capability of the production and its crew and stated that he does not think production will start up again.

“She was my friend. The day I arrived in Santa Fe and started shooting, I took her to dinner with Joel Souza, the director,” Baldwin said. “We were a very well-oiled crew shooting a film together, and then this horrible event happened.”

 

Rust movie set
The set of the movie "Rust" at Bonanza Creek Ranch where a fatal shooting occurred on the set on October 22, 2021 in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Hutchins died on October 21, after being struck by a live round from a gun fired by Baldwin on the movie’s New Mexico set. Director Souza, who was standing behind Hutchins, was wounded and hospitalized before being discharged.

The gun used by Baldwin had been handled by armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed and assistant director Dave Halls. All three have been identified by Sante Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza as the “primary focus” of the ongoing investigation around the on-set incident.

Ahead of the gun discharge, Halls handed the firearm to Baldwin, announcing, “cold gun” — or that it was “not loaded” — according to a Santa Fe County Sheriff detective’s affidavit used to obtain a search warrant. In the midst of explaining how he would draw the gun, Baldwin went through the motion, which is when the gun fired.

Since the October 21 incident, there’s been focus on the experience of those involved with the production, including Gutierrez-Reed, Halls and the group of producers, including Baldwin.

Members of the crew walked offset the day Hutchins was shot over unsafe conditions, with several crewmembers expressing  frustration specifically with those six producers.

The movie’s line producer, Gabrielle Pickle, was also named in a previous unfair labor practices settlement for the 2018 low-budget Atlanta production Keys to the City.

Parts of the settlement agreement mirrored treatment Rust crew said they experienced on the New Mexico set before that production shut down on Oct. 21 and then officially wrapped.

During the interview, Baldwin also responded to a question about whether he had been in contact with Hutchins’ husband, Matt, and her family. Matt posted a statement to Twitter on Oct. 22 mourning the loss of his wife and asking for privacy before sharing that a scholarship at AFI had been established in her name.

While speaking to the press, Baldwin confirmed he had been in touch with Hutchins’ husband, with whom she had a son, and stated that Matt is “in shock.” He went on to say that they are “in constant contact with him because we’re very worried about his family and his kid.”

While talking to the media, there was tension, though it remained respectful and professional.

Baldwin also clarified why he has not spoken out more. “I’m not allowed to make any comments,” he said. “I’ve been ordered by the sheriff’s department in Santa Fe. I can’t answer any questions about the investigation.”

He later added that he is “eagerly awaiting” to learn what the sheriff’s investigation has yielded.

The office of attorney Lisa Torraco, who represents assistant director Dave Halls, declined to comment.

In Gutierrez-Reed’s first statement since the shooting, which she released through her lawyers Jason Bowles and Robert Gorence, the Rust armorer said she had “no idea where the live rounds came from.” She also said that “she never witnessed anyone shoot live rounds with these guns and nor would she permit that.”

Her lawyers said Gutierrez-Reed had been hired for two positions on the production, which made it more difficult to focus on her job as an armorer, and that she “fought for training, days to maintain weapons and proper time to prepare for gunfire but ultimately was overruled by production and her department.”

After the fatal shooting of Hutchins, there have been increasing calls for change and, both from within the industry and from political leaders in New Mexico and California, the heart of Hollywood production.

One day after Hutchins’ death, ABC’s The Rookie banned the use of “live” guns on set.

When asked about where he stands regarding on-set gun reform, the actor pointed out the industry’s long use of firearms but affirmed that he believes efforts should be made to increase safety.

“I do know that an ongoing effort to limit the use of firearms on film sets is something I’m extremely interested in. But remember something that I think is important and that is how many bullets have been fired on films and TV shows in the last 75 years. This is America. How many bullets have gone off in movies, nearly all of them without incident,” he said.

“It’s urgent that you understand I’m not an expert in this field. So whatever other people decide is the best way to go in terms of protecting people’s safety on film sets, I’m all in favor of and I will cooperate with that in any way I can,” he added.

In an October 27 press conference, the Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza and Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said the investigation could take several months.

Mendoza said it’s still too early to comment on charges, though arrests will be made if warranted.