“Rust” assistant director Dave Halls broke his silence on Nov. 1 over the Alec Baldwin-involved fatal shooting of a cinematographer in late October.
“Halyna Hutchins was not just one of the most talented people I’ve worked with, but also a friend,” Halls said in a statement, referring to the deceased cinematographer. Director Joel Souza also was hit in the shoulder but is recovering, officials said.
“I’m shocked and saddened by her death,” Halls told news outlets. “It’s my hope that this tragedy prompts the industry to reevaluate its values and practices to ensure no one is harmed through the creative process again.”
The assistant director added he has been “overwhelmed by the love and support,” adding that “my thoughts are with all who knew and loved Halyna.”
Last week, the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s office in New Mexico confirmed to reporters that they recovered hundreds of rounds of ammunition from the “Rust” set. Sheriff Adan Mendoza and the district attorney’s office said they’re not ruling out charges in the case, and Mendoza stressed that an investigation into the incident is continuing.
A lawyer for Halls also made comments on the shooting during a Fox News interview on Nov. 1, without elaborating on whether Halls handed the firearm to Baldwin during filming.
“Our condolences go out to the Hutchins family,” lawyer Lisa Torraco said, but noted that “this idea my client grabbed the gun and handed it to Baldwin absolutely did not happen.”
“The armorer brought the weapon in,” she said. “The armorer opens the firearm. … [Halls] didn’t load it.”
“Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed’s lawyers last week said that she pushed for enhanced safety protocols on set but was ignored.
“Safety is Hannah’s No. 1 priority on set,” her lawyers said. “Ultimately, this set would never have been compromised if live ammo were not introduced. Hannah has no idea where the live rounds came from.”
Reed, meanwhile, said that she never saw live rounds being used by any of the weapons she handled on the set.
Over the weekend, Baldwin and his wife, Hilaria Baldwin, were questioned by reporters in rural Vermont. In a lengthy statement to journalists, the 63-year-old actor said that Hutchins “was my friend.”
“There are incidental accidents on film sets from time to time, but nothing like this,” he said, according to video footage published online. “This is a one-in-a-trillion episode. It’s a one-in-a-trillion event.”
“But remember, how many bullets have been fired in films and TV shows in the last 75 years. This is America,” Baldwin said. “How many bullets have gone off in movies and on TV sets before? How many, billions in the last 75 years? And nearly all of it without incident.”
When asked about whether the production of “Rust” will continue, Baldwin said, “I doubt it.”
“So what has to happen now is, we have to realize that when it does go wrong and it’s this horrible, catastrophic thing, some new measures have to take place,” he said. “Rubber guns, plastic guns, no live—no real armaments on set. That’s not for me to decide.
“It’s urgent that you understand I’m not an expert in this field, so whatever other people decide is the best way to go in terms of protecting people’s safety on film sets, I’m all in favor of and I will cooperate with that in any way that I can.”