Rust director Joel Souza 'gutted' by Halyna Hutchins' death: 'She pushed me to be better'
Rust director Joel Souza says he is "gutted" by the loss of his colleague Halyna Hutchins, who was killed when a prop gun was fired on the film's set by Alec Baldwin. Souza, 48, was injured in Thursday's shooting and has been released from hospital, and has spoken for the first time about the incident in a statement shared with Deadline. "I am gutted by the loss of my friend and colleague, Halyna. She was kind, vibrant, incredibly talented, fought for every inch, and always pushed me to be better," Souza said.
Rust cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed while Alec Baldwin was rehearsing a scene that involved the actor pointing a revolver in the direction of a camera lens, the film's director Joel Souza said in an affidavit released Sunday that provides new details into the circumstances of the shooting.
Souza, who was also injured in the on-set accident, said that the cast and crew had been assured that Baldwin was handling a "cold gun," meaning it had no live rounds. Safety protocols on the set required that the film's armourer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, checked to make sure that the barrel was empty, with her work double-checked by Rust assistant director Dave Halls before the firearm was handed to the actors.
'Someone will be fatally hurt': What to know about prop guns on movie sets
Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins died Thursday after Alec Baldwin fired a loaded weapon that was handed to him by an assistant director who mistakenly believed it was safe to use on the New Mexico set of Rust. Director Joel Souza was also hit and injured but has since been released from the hospital. While many things still aren't known — police are investigating — the AP looks at the use of firearms on film and television productions and the safety protocols in place.
© Getty Images for National Geogra Alec Baldwin attends the World Premiere of National Geographic Documentary Films' 'The First Wave' at Hamptons International Film Festival on October 07, 2021 in East Hampton, New York.
Souza and Hutchins were standing behind the camera to see the angle. Baldwin was sitting on a wooden pew facing south towards the camera and crew, outfitted in Western garb. After noticing a shadow, Souza and Hutchins repositioned their gear and were talking with Baldwin, who was showing them how he planned to pull the gun from his holster when it discharged.
READ MORE: Rust production shuts down 'at least until investigations are complete'
Reid Russell, a cameraman who was standing next to the two, told police that he "remembered Joel having blood on his person, and Ms Hutchins speaking and saying she couldn't feel her legs." Souza told investigators that Hutchins grabbed her midsection, at which point he noticed he was bleeding from his shoulder.
Rust crew member says he held Halyna Hutchins 'while she was dying' after prop gun shooting
Halyna Hutchins' colleague has shared his account of the on-set shooting that claimed the cinematographer's life last week, saying he "held her" as she was dying. Hutchins, 42, was accidentally shot and killed by actor Alec Baldwin on Thursday while the actor was rehearsing a scene for the film Rust that involved him pointing a revolver in the direction of a camera lens. Serge Svetnoy, the film's 'gaffer' or chief electrician, wrote in a Facebook post titled "My vision of the RUST tragedy" that he was standing next to Hutchins when she was killed.
Hutchins was pronounced dead on Thursday, October 21 after being airlifted to an Albuquerque hospital. She was 42. © AP This photo shows the Bonanza Creek Ranch one day after an incident left one crew member dead and another injured, Friday, Oct. 22, 2021 in Santa Fe, N.M. A prop firearm discharged by veteran actor Alec Baldwin, who is producing and starring in a Western movie, killed his director of photography and injured the director Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021 at the movie set outside Santa Fe, authorities said.
The Rust production had been grappling with labour issues in the lead-up to the accident. Several IATSE crew members on the New Mexico set of Rust quit the production because they felt producers were not following safety guidelines, according to numerous reports.
Rust began shooting October 6 at Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe, and crew members had been observing safety problems for several days. Souza referenced those conflicts in his discussion with police, noting that on Thursday, production "…started off late due to a camera crew that had quit and they had to find another camera crew to help film the movie."
'Rust' shooting left film locals 'rolling their eyes' at alleged lack of safety measures: 'Just unthinkable'
The "Rust" movie shooting incident in Santa Fe, New Mexico that left its rising star cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, dead – and also sent director Joel Souza to the hospital -- has local film buffs baffled at the alleged lack of safety protocols on the Bonanza Creek Ranch set. "The very first thing you learn in the very first class you take is safety," Santa Fe Community College School of Art and Design dean Dr. Jim Wysong told Fox News on Tuesday.
READ MORE: Assistant director who gave Alec Baldwin gun was subject of complaints dating back to 2019
The Rust production broke for lunch around 12.30pm. on Thursday. When the cast and crew returned back to the set after lunch, Souza said he was not sure if the firearm that Baldwin was using was checked again. As Baldwin was practising a cross draw. Souza looked over the shoulder of Hutchins when he heard what sounded to him "like a whip and then loud pop." © Getty Filmmaker Halyna Hutchins attends the 2018 Sundance Film Festival in 2018 in Park City, Utah.
Hutchins' death has prompted calls for greater safety measures on sets and inspired a petition on change.org to ban the use of real firearms on sets. That petition has drawn more than 25,000 signatories.
The producers of the movie Rust announced on Sunday that they are suspending production while sheriffs investigate Hutchins' death.
"As we go through this crisis, we have made the decision to wrap the set at least until the investigations are complete," said the statement from the Rust production company.
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Crisis manager advises the Baldwins to stop posting on social media: 'Better off to wait' .
After the fatal shooting of "Rust" cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, the Baldwins' Twitter and Instagram activity can be misinterpreted, according to one expert.Despite the tragedy, both the actor and his wife are continuing to post on social media. Most recently, Hilaria posted about her lost cat (which was later found) and her kids' Halloween costumes while Alec tweeted political jabs at Sen. Joe Manchin, D. W.Va.