Halyna Hutchins‘s final words on the set of Rust have been revealed.
The Los Angeles Times has new details of the frenzy on the Bonanza Creek Ranch movie set outside Santa Fe, New Mexico, on Oct. 21 after Alec Baldwin shot the cinematographer while rehearsing with what he thought was a “cold” gun.
“So, I guess I’m gonna take this out, pull it, and go, ‘Bang!'” Baldwin reportedly said, putting his hand on the Colt .45 revolver that sat in a holster and practicing his cross-draw. There were 16 crew members in the wooden church set of the low-budget film — none of them had on any protective gear, like noise-canceling headphones or safety goggles, for scenes involving guns.
The “cold” gun, which was not supposed to have a projectile, actually had a live round. As it fired, someone screamed, Hutchins — who was hit first — fell to the ground immediately followed by director Joel Souza.
“What the f*** just happened?” Baldwin asked as the bullet reverberated through the church. It was a phrase he said over and over as the tragic scene played out, the report notes.
Hutchins fell into the arms of the head electrician, Serge Svetnoy. Blood was pouring from her chest, as she had entry and exit wounds, and crew members tried to stop the bleeding. Souza, who was behind her, was holding his shoulder because the bullet that passed through Hutchins’s body lodged into his.
“What the f*** was that? That burns!” Souza screamed.
A medic, Cherlyn Schaefer, was called, while a boom operator helping Hutchins looked into her eyes and said, “Oh, that was no good.”
Hutchins replied, “No. That was no good. That was no good at all.”
Baldwin, a producer on the film in addition to starring in it, put down the gun on a church pew as he looked in horror at his two bleeding colleagues and repeated his, “What the f*** just happened?”
“Let’s clear everyone who doesn’t need to be here out of here,” assistant director David Halls said.
Mamie Mitchell, the film’s script supervisor, ran out and called 911.
Hutchins died hours later after being airlifted to the hospital. She left behind a husband, Matthew, and son. Souza was treated at a hospital and released a day later.
Fourteen Rust crew members were interviewed for the L.A. Times story and painted the picture of a chaotic set. There were reportedly three gun discharges prior to the fatal shooting. The inexperience of the armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, had been an issue. And the camera crew had been feuding with production managers over their accommodations, working conditions, safety and being paid with six members of the camera team walking out the day of filming.
For the gun discharges, one was Baldwin’s stunt double accidentally firing a blank after being told that his gun was “cold.” Another was a young woman from the props department who “actually shot herself in the foot” with a blank. It’s unclear what the third one was.
There were also complaints about Gutierrez-Reed, who was head armorer for only one other film, with one, made Oct. 8, saying she needed “handholding.”
Lane Luper, the A-camera first assistant, said the issues with the camera crew were ongoing — and Hutchins was aware of them. Luper said Hutchins treated the crew to sushi a week before, on Oct. 15, and told them their lodging issue had been resolved by her forfeiting a day’s rental of a technocrane, which would have gotten aerial shots.
However, the night before the shooting, five members of the camera crew sent letters of complaint to producers ahead of walking out.
Jonas Huerta, a digital utility technician, wrote in an email the night before Hutchins’s death: “I also feel anxious on set, I’ve seen firsthand our [assistant director Halls] rush to get shots and he skips over important protocols. He often rushes to shoot, I’ve had more than a few occasions where I have been close to the weapons being fired with no regards to my hearing. Sometimes he rushes so quickly that props [department] hasn’t even had the chance to bring earplugs and he rolls and the actors fire anyway.”
The report also detailed how Baldwin practiced his gun work to make it realistic. A few days before the shooting, he practiced a walk-through of his scene in the church and fired blanks.
The day of the shooting, the crew was prepping for the scene when Baldwin returned from lunch. Property master Sarah Zachry retrieved the gun from a locked prop vehicle and gave it to Gutierrez-Reed who brought it into the church set and did a safety check with it in front of Halls. Halls thought he saw three rounds inside the gun but admitted he didn’t thoroughly check, before taking the gun. (It was previously revealed that while the guns were locked up during lunch, the ammunition wasn’t. It all sat out on a cart unsecured. Gutierrez Reed told authorities she had no idea how live ammo got on the set.)
There were no stand-ins on set, so Halls ran through Baldwin’s blocking himself. According to the L.A. Times, he pulled the gun three times while doing so, but did not pull the trigger. Baldwin, of course, did pull the trigger once the gun was passed to him with the guidance that it was “cold.”
It’s also noted that the bullet that struck Hutchins and Souza first barely missed a B-Cam operator named Russell.
After the shooting, as Baldwin waited to be interviewed by police at the ranch, he reportedly said, “I’ve never been handed a live weapon — ever.”
Over the weekend, Baldwin — who left New Mexico for Vermont as the investigation plays out — told reporters, “There are incidental accidents on film sets from time to time, but nothing like this. This is a one in a trillion episode.”
He noted Hutchins was his friend and said, “We were a very, very well-oiled crew shooting a film together and then this horrible event happened.”
The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office said they are trying to determine who brought live ammunition to the set and loaded it in the gun. They say no one has been ruled out amid the investigation.
A Change.org petition to ban the use of real firearms on the set, started by director Bandar Albuliwi, has nearly 95,000 signatures.
Meanwhile, Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey weighed in on the gun safety on sets issue.
“There’s a safety protocol, and if it’s followed, it can be safe on set,” the Dallas Buyers Club star said. “When any firearm is handed from one person to another, when it gets on set, there’s a means of communication… The organization is incredible. And they missed protocol. Somewhere. I don’t know if they were in a rush.”
While making a point that he wasn’t criticizing Baldwin, McConaughey said he “personally would try to always take even more steps” as an actor using a gun, including checking it himself.
“You hear ‘cold’ — now I want a visual,” he said, explaining his own set checklist. “If you and I are in a scene together, I need to give you visual. If it’s a six-shooter, do you see light through all six holes? Let me look you in the eye, you confirm, and you yell it out, ‘cold.’ You can’t over-confirm it.”