Alec Baldwin rehearsed with the gun before the death of Halyna Hutchins on the set of ‘Rust’ | Culture

Harland Rust is sitting in a pew in an old church. He has his head down and his eyes closed. In an instant, he opens his eyelids and pulls a Colt revolver from his jacket and points the camera. This is the last scene to be rehearsed on the set of Rust. A human error that no one has yet explained caused actor Alec Baldwin, 64, to accidentally kill 42-year-old Ukrainian cinematographer Halyna Hutchins with a bullet. The tragedy occurred last October in New Mexico (United States). This Monday, the office of the sheriff of Santa Fe published a series of images that help to understand the minutes in which the lives of Hutchins, Baldwin and Joel Souza, the director of the film, who was also injured by the projectile, were turned upside down.

The images show Baldwin dressed as the Wild West outlaw he played and for whom the film is named. The actor also produced the tape, whose production was suspended after the incident. The police cameras show that the protagonist of the tape cooperates with the authorities since they arrive at the Bonanza Creek Ranch, where the western was filmed. “You tell me what to do, tell me what to do,” says Baldwin to one of the agents who responded to the emergency call.

-“I understand that you were in the room where the lady…”, says a policeman.

“Yes, I was the one holding the gun,” Baldwin interrupts.

The actor has always maintained that he never pulled the trigger and only took the hammer when rehearsing the sequence in which the accident happened. The first investigators who arrived at the site took pictures of him wearing the character’s clothing, which was already stained with blood after the accident. The graphic material that the office of the sheriff includes photos of some fake bullets that had a hole in the middle of the cartridge, but there are also bullets that look real. So far no one has been able to determine how a real projectile got to the set.

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The investigations are focused on two members of the production that should have made sure that the Colt was not loaded. One is Hannah Gutierrez Reed, the armory manager, and the other is Dave Halls, Souza’s first assistant director, the last person who should have touched the gun before handing it over to Baldwin.

The New Mexico prosecutor’s office has not yet filed charges against any of those involved, nor has it announced whether it will do so. Among the material released Monday are statements by Baldwin and other witnesses to investigators, on-set rehearsals and text messages. “I draw the gun slowly, turn around, load the gun, bang! she falls to the ground and he [Souza] he falls screaming”, explains Baldwin in one of the first interrogations to which he was subjected by the authorities and whose images have been revealed. “If someone put a real bullet in the gun … someone would have loaded a real bullet into the gun he was holding,” he continues minutes later.

Souza was airlifted to an Albuquerque hospital, where he underwent surgery following the shoulder injury. In bed he gave his first statement to the police, in which he states that he believed the gun was unloaded. At the police station, Baldwin gave an idea to the detectives who were making the first inquiries after the tragedy: “One question that Hannah should answer is if she had mixed real bullets with other props, because they are prohibited from doing so.”

Lawyers for the family of Halyna Hutchins have criticized in a statement the decision of the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office to release all the visual materials, much of it being part of the evidence in the prosecution’s case. All this while the investigations continue their course.

Among the text messages that have been made public is one from the head of props, Sarah Zachry, in which she tells a crew member that Alec Baldwin always preferred to use real weapons because he did not like “fake guns or rubber knives ”. This is a common practice in the industry to make scenes more realistic. But a failure in the obligations of the team members turned the realism into a tragedy.

Meanwhile, the investigation of the Office of the Prosecutor of the First Judicial District of Santa Fe continues while waiting for new decisions. On April 20, the New Mexico Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined the production company of rust with more than 135,000 dollars (about 126,000 euros) for breach of security measures during filming.