Rust: Shooting Tragedy–Alec Baldwyn Opens Up

In his first sit-down interview since the shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, Baldwin spoke to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.

In his first sit-down interview since the shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the New Mexico set of his film Rust, an emotional Alec Baldwyn gave a detailed timeline of exactly what happened that day. He broke down in tears while remembering Hutchins.

Baldwin told Good Morning America’s George Stephanopoulos, that he did not want to wait for the lawsuits or investigations to conclude before telling his side of what happened that day. “I think that there is a criminal investigation, that could be a while. There is all kinds of civil litigation, and I felt that there were a lot of misconceptions,” Baldwin said. “The sheriffs department hasn’t even released a report to the DA yet … I feel like I can’t wait for that process to end.”

On October 21, Hutchins was fatally shot and Rust director Joel Souza was wounded when Baldwin, a producer and star on the Western that was filming in Bonanza City, New Mexico, discharged a gun that he believed was safe but actually contained a live round, per the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office.

In the interview, Baldwin walked through what happened in detail, telling Stephanopoulos that they were doing a marking rehearsal, with Hutchins giving Baldwin instructions so she could line up a shot when they began filming.

“She was standing next to the camera, looking at a monitor … guiding me for how to hold the gun for this angle,” Baldwin said. “The gun wasn’t meant to be fired in that angle. I am holding the gun where I was told to hold it, which was right below her armpitAn angle that might not be filmed at all.”

Baldwin says that Hutchins told him to begin cocking the hammer for a particular shot.

I pulled the hammer as far back as I could without cocking the gun,” Baldwin said. “I let go of the hammer and bang, the gun goes off.”

“Everyone was shocked … the gun was supposed to be empty. I was told I was handed an empty gun. She goes down, I thought to myself, did she faint?” he added. “The notion that there was a live round in that gun did not dawn on me until 45 minutes or an hour later.”

Baldwin and the crew were rushed out of the church where they were filming while medics attended to Hutchins. Police arrived 15 or 20 minutes later, and Hutchins was airlifted to the hospital.

It wasn’t until the end of his interview with the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office that he learned that the gun had been loaded with a live round, and that Hutchins had died from her injuries. The photos of Baldwin that circulated that day were taken minutes after he was told of her death.

The criminal investigation into the shooting is being conducted by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office and the New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney and could take months to complete, authorities have said.

Baldwin, armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed and assistant director Dave Halls are among those under investigation; two lawsuits have been filed as a result of the incident.

Baldwin discussed both Halls and Gutierrez Reed in the interview, saying of the armorer that he assumed “because she was there and she was hired, that she was up for the job.”

As for the claims made by Guttierez-Reed’s attorney that what happened may have been an act of sabotage: “That is a big swing, that is an enormous charge to make, that someone came in and did something, for what purpose? To attack who? To Discredit who? It is overwhelmingly likely that it was an accident,” Baldwin said. 

He also said, as has been previously reported, that Halls said the gun was “cold” before handing it to Baldwin. “When he is saying, this is a cold gun, what he is saying to everyone on the set is everyone can relax, the gun is empty.”

He added later on, however, that he was sympathetic to what Halls and Guttierez Reed went through, saying,”don’t want to see Hannah suffer, or Halls to suffer.”

Baldwin also discussed meeting with Halyna’s husband, Matthew Hutchins, and their son.

“They were as kind as can be,” Baldwin said. “He said, ‘Well I guess you and I are going to go through this together.’”

“This boy doesn’t have a mother anymore. And there is nothing we can do to bring her back,” Baldwin added, with tears in his eyes. “And I told him, I dont know what to say, I don’t know how to convey to you how sorry I am, and that I will do anything to cooperate.”

Baldwin told Stephanopoulos that he expects Hutchins to file a lawsuit over his wife’s death. “How could it be otherwise? His wife was killed … something happened here that resulted in his wife’s death,” Baldwin said.

On Tuesday, a search warrant affidavit filed for a prop shop shed light on how alleged live ammunition may have ended up on the set. The affidavit notes that Thell Reed, a longtime Hollywood armorer and the father of Gutierrez Reed, had a can containing between 200 and 300 rounds of “live ammunition” from a previous project that was kept by Seth Kenney of PDQ Arm & Prop, LLC. Thell Reed suggested that ammo may match ammo collected from the Bonanza Creek Ranch set.

Kenney told ABC that his company did not provide any live rounds to the production.

Baldwin said during the interview that the key to the investigation is how those live rounds got on set in the first place. 

“Someone is responsible for what happened, and I can’t say who that is, but I know it’s not me,” Baldwin said. Asked later whether he expects to face charges: “I have been told by people in the know, even inside the state, that it is highly unlikely that I would be charged criminally.” 

But when asked whether his career is over after what happened on Rust, Baldwin quickly responded “it could be.” 

“My family is all I have, honest to God, I could give a shit about my career anymore,” he said. But when asked if he felt guilt over what happened, Baldwin responded “no.” 

“I might have killed myself if I felt that I was responsible,” he said. 

Baldwin told Stephanopoulos that what happened on the set of Rust will change how films are made, suggesting that actors will need to be more mindful of any weapon props they use.