Alec Baldwin's First On-Camera Words About Halyna Hutchins: 'She Was My Friend'
In a tense, but ultimately restrained, confrontation with aggressive paparazzi who have been tailing him and his family in Manchester, Vermont, Alec Baldwin on Saturday fielded questions about the accidental shooting death of Halyna Hutchins on the "Rust" set in New Mexico.
In the video, first posted by TMZ, the people filming, while not seen on camera, act as if taken off guard that Baldwin is relenting and saying he would answer questions — anything not directly related to the "ongoing investigation of a woman dying."
At the very beginning of the exchange, Baldwin exclaims, "She was my friend! She was my friend!"
He goes on to say, "The day I arrived to start shooting in Santa Fe, I took her to dinner with Joel [Souza], the director. We were a very, very, you know, well-oiled crew shooting a film together, and then this horrible event happened."
Incredibly, the first question in the video comes from a man who can't remember Hutchins' name. This gaffe incenses Baldwin's wife Hilaria, who is by his side filming her husband's interrogators. "Her name is Halyna. If you're spending this much time waiting for us, you should know her name."
The pap then asks how Baldwin's meeting with Halyna's widower Matthew went, to which Baldwin says, "I wouldn't know how to characterize it." Though Hilaria wants Alec to offer "no details," he insists, saying, "There are incidental accidents on film sets from time to time, but nothing like this. This is a one-in-a-trillion episode... He is in shock, he has a 9-year-old son, we are in constant contact with him because we are very worried about his family and his kid. As I said, we're eagerly awaiting for the sheriff's department to tell us what their investigation has yielded."
Would he ever work on another set involving firearms? "I couldn't answer that question," he says, "I do know that an ongoing effort to limit the use of firearms on film sets is something I am extremely interested in."
He goes on to point out that nearly every time a "bullet" has gone off in movies of the past 75 years, it has gone off safely. Still, urging the paps to understand he is "not an expert in this field," Baldwin does say he would support a push for safety on film sets regarding firearms.
For the first time, Baldwin says that production on "Rust" is unlikely to ever resume.
As the confrontation winds down, the Baldwins plead for privacy.
The footage was posted just one day after "Rust's" armor Hannah Gutierrez Reed released a statement via her lawyers absolving herself of any responsibility in the shooting, which also wounded Souza.
The statement from her lawyers, obtained by “Extra,” says, “First Hannah would like to extend her deepest and most sincere condolences to the family and friends of Halyna. She was an inspirational woman in film who Hannah looked up to. She also offers her thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery to Joel. Hannah is devastated and completely beside herself over the events that have transpired.”
Combatting stories about her in the media, the statement continues, “Safety is Hannah’s number one priority on set. Ultimately this set would never have been compromised if live ammo were not introduced. Hannah has no idea where the live rounds came from. Hannah and the prop master gained control over the guns and she never witnessed anyone shoot live rounds with these guns and nor would she permit that. They were locked up every night and at lunch and there’s no way a single one of them was unaccounted for or being shot by crew members. Hannah still, to this day, has never had an accidental discharge. The first one on this set was the prop master and the second was a stunt man after Hannah informed him his gun was hot with blanks.”
The lawyers went on to say, “Hannah was hired on two positions on this film, which made it extremely difficult to focus on her job as an armorer… This was not the fault of Hannah.”
The case is under investigation, and earlier this week, Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said this about Gutierrez Reed and assistant director David Halls during an interview with “Today” show host Savannah Guthrie: "I can say this, those two individuals are obviously the focus of the investigation." He also confirmed, "Nobody’s been cleared as of yet.”
Meanwhile, First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies told “Today’s” Miguel Almaguer that criminal charges have not been ruled out, saying, "We know mistakes happened. We’re not exactly sure who did, when they did, how they did it."
In a new search warrant affidavit released this week reveals David Halls admitted to authorities he should have checked all rounds in the gun before handing it to Alec, but did not.