New Details of the 'Rust' Shooting, Plus: Wounded Director Is 'Gutted' by the Tragedy
Joel Souza, the writer-director injured on the set of the western "Rust" Thursday in an incident that left cinematographer Halyna Hutchins dead, is speaking out about the tragedy.
In a statement to Deadline, Souza — who was treated in a hospital after the incident and released Friday — said, “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.”
“My thoughts are with her family at this most difficult time,” he went on to say. “I am humbled and grateful by the outpouring of affection we have received from our filmmaking community, the people of Santa Fe, and the hundreds of strangers who have reached out... It will surely aid in my recovery.”
Souza's statement comes as new details have been reported about the shooting. Deadline reports "Rust" was about 50% complete as of Thursday. Production has been shut down in the wake of Hutchins' death.
According to The L.A. Times, the shooting occurred during rehearsal for a gunfight scene set in a church. Star Alec Baldwin was supposed to back out of the church, withdrawing a gun from a holster. Hutchins, Souza, and one other crew member were busy lining up the shot as Baldwin withdrew the gun once from close range. The second time he withdrew it, the gun discharged, mortally wounding Hutchins and striking Souza in the clavicle.
It is unclear exactly what type of gun was used. It is also unclear if it held live ammunition or blanks, which can also be deadly at close range.
TMZ has reported that the gun in the incident was being fired recreationally by crew members for target practice between takes — and that real bullets were used.
According to a search warrant affidavit issued in the case, Baldwin was unknowingly handed the weapon with live ammunition by an assistant director.
Immediately before the incident, the assistant director reportedly took the gun from a rolling prop cart that had been prepared by the film's armorer, handing it to Baldwin.