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 at the movie set outside Santa Fe in the American state of New Mexico, authorities said.
Santa Fe County Sheriff’s officials said Halyna Hutchins, director of photography for the movie Rust and director Joel Souza were shot.
Hutchins, 42, was airlifted to University of New Mexico Hospital, where she was pronounced dead by medical personnel, authorities said.
Souza, 48, was taken by ambulance to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center, where he’s undergoing treatment for his injuries.
Production has been halted on the film.
A spokesperson for Baldwin said there was an accident on the set involving the misfire of a prop gun with blanks.
The Santa Fe New Mexican reported the 63-year-old Baldwin was seen Thursday outside the sheriff’s office in tears, but attempts to get comment from him were unsuccessful.
The International Cinematographers Guild confirmed that the woman fatally shot was Hutchins, a cinematographer.
“The details are unclear at this moment, but we are working to learn more, and we support a full investigation into this tragic event,” guild president John Lindley and executive director Rebecca Rhine said in a statement.
Hutchins, 42, was director of photography on the 2020 action film Archenemy starring Joe Manganiello. A 2015 graduate of the American Film Institute, she was named a “rising star” by American Cinematographer in 2019.
“I’m so sad about losing Halyna. And so infuriated that this could happen on a set,” said Archenemy director Adam Egypt Mortimer on Twitter. “She was a brilliant talent who was absolutely committed to art and to film.”
Actor Joe Manganiello, who starred in Archenemy called her “an incredible talent” and “a great person” on his Instagram account. He said he was lucky to have Hutchins as director of photography on the film.
Baldwin was a producer on Souza’s 2019 film Crown Vic which starred Thomas Jane as a veteran Los Angeles police officer on a manhunt for two violent bank robbers. His first credited film, 2010’s Hanna’s Gold was a treasure hunt adventure featuring Luke Perry.
Deputies responded about 2 pm to the movie set at the Bonanza Creek Ranch after 911 calls came in of a person being shot on set, sheriff’s spokesman Juan Rios said. The ranch has been used in dozens of films, including the recent Tom Hanks Western News of the World.
He said detectives were investigating how and what type of projectile was discharged.
“This investigation remains open and active,” Rios said in a statement. “No charges have been filed in regard to this incident. Witnesses continue to be interviewed by detectives.”
Filming for Rust was set to continue into early November, according to a news release from the New Mexico Film Office.
The movie is about a 13-year-old boy who is left to fend for himself and his younger brother following the death of their parents in 1880s Kansas, according to the Internet Movie Database website. The teen goes on the run with his long-estranged grandfather (played by Baldwin) after the boy is sentenced to hang for the accidental killing of a local rancher.
In 1993, Brandon Lee, 28, son of the late martial-arts star Bruce Lee, died after being hit by a .44-caliber slug while filming a death scene for the movie The Crow The gun was supposed to have fired a blank, but an autopsy turned up a bullet lodged near his spine.
A Twitter account run by Lee’s sister Shannon said: “Our hearts go out to the family of Halyna Hutchins and to Joel Souza and all involved in the incident on Rust. No one should ever be killed by a gun on a film set. Period.”
In 1984, actor Jon-Erik Hexum died after shooting himself in the head with a prop gun blank while pretending to play Russian roulette with a .44 Magnum on the set of the television series Cover Up.