On the set of Alec Baldwin’s Western movie Rust, the volatile actor has reportedly killed a 42-year-old woman and wounded other person with a “prop” gun that was loaded “with blanks” “misfired.”
Personally, I’ve never seen a prop gun that could fire real ammunition. Frankly, many of them don’t fire at all. And others only fire blanks. This keeps the paperwork down for the production staff and increases safety. It also allows actors who are prohibited persons to legally handle these non-firearms on set.
In this case, something went terribly amiss if someone died and a second person was seriously wounded.
According to the AP . . .
Actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun on a movie set and killed the cinematographer, authorities said. The director of the Western being filmed was wounded, and authorities are investigating what happened.
Halyna Hutchins, cinematographer on the movie “Rust,” and director Joel Souza were shot Thursday on the rustic film set in the desert on the southern outskirts of Santa Fe, New Mexico, according to County Sheriff’s officials.
A spokesperson for Baldwin said there was an accident on the set involving the misfire of a prop gun with blanks, though a charge without a metal projectile is unlikely to kill at a moderate distance. Sheriff’s spokesman Juan Rios said detectives were investigating how and what type of projectile was discharged.
Not long after, the UK Daily Mail reported additional details:
Alec Baldwin was pictured weeping and doubled over with grief after he accidentally killed the cinematography director of his upcoming western movie Rust and wounded the director while firing a prop gun on set.
The 68-year-old was filming a scene for the movie at Bonanza Creek Ranch, near the city of Santa Fe, New Mexico, when the gun went off around 1.50pm, fatally wounding 42-year-old photography director Halyna Hutchins and leaving writer-director Joel Souza, 48, injured.
Hutchins – believed to be a married mother-of-one – was rushed to the University of New Mexico Hospital in an air ambulance but was pronounced dead a short time after, while Souza was taken by ambulance to the Christus St Vincent Regional Medical Center. He has since been released, though his exact condition is unclear.
Meanwhile Baldwin was taken to a Santa Fe detectives’ office to be questioned about the shooting. He was not arrested and was later released without charge – though investigations are ongoing.
He was pictured outside the sheriff’s office by the New Mexican: Bent over double near the curb with grief, and tearfully speaking to someone on the phone.
Obviously we will follow the story for additional details and if criminal charges are lodged against the actor. It will be interesting to learn how a supposed prop gun loaded with blanks killed one person and wounded another.
Hollywood has a history of “accidents” with prop guns causing serious injury and even death. While fooling around on a set, John Eric Hexum intentionally shot himself with a .44 Magnum blank in 1984. The blank fractured his skull and sending a bone fragment into his brain causing hemorrhaging. Eventually, he died.
And as the AP recalls . . .
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.
Watch this space for additional information as it becomes available.