Alec Baldwin fatally shoots cinematographer with prop gun on set

Alec Baldwin fatally shoots cinematographer with prop gun on set

What are the odds that a movie about an accidental murder will have on its set a tragic accident during filming that will lead to the death of the cinematographer at the hands of one of Hollywood’s top stars?

Not that slim it seems, because that is exactly what happened on the sets of the film Rust, starring Alec Baldwin who accidentally discharged a prop gun and shot dead cinematography director Halyna Hutchins, 42. Director Joel Souza, 48, was wounded in the incident that took place on a film set in the desert on the outskirts of Santa Fe in New Mexico.

Media reports said Baldwin, 68, was pictured weeping and doubled over with grief in the wake of the incident which has led to production being halted “for an undetermined period of time” and “the entire cast and crew… absolutely devastated by… the tragedy”.

Hutchins was taken to the University of New Mexico Hospital in an air ambulance but was pronounced dead shortly, while Souza was taken by ambulance to the Christus St Vincent Regional Medical Center. He has since been released.

“I’m so sad about losing Halyna. And so infuriated that this could happen on a set. She was a brilliant talent who was absolutely committed to art and to film,” director Adam Egypt Mortimer wrote on Twitter.

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A spokesperson for Baldwin reportedly said there was an accident on the set involving the misfire of a prop gun with blanks, though a charge without a metal projectile is unlikely to kill at a moderate distance.

It seems to be a tragic case of life imitating art, as the movie Rust is about a 13-year-old boy who is left to fend for himself and his younger brother after the death of their parents, according to the IMD website. Baldwin plays the teenager’s grandfather with whom he goes on the run after being sentenced to hang for the accidental killing of a rancher.

A picture of the set. Photo: AP

This is not the first such freak accident on a film set. In 1993, Brandon Lee, 28, son of the late Bruce Lee, died after being hit by a .44-caliber slug while filming a death scene for The Crow. The gun was supposed to have fired a blank, but an autopsy showed a bullet in his spine. Earlier in 1984, actor Jon-Erik Hexum died after shooting himself in the head with a prop gun blank while pretending to play Russian roulette on the set of the television series Cover Up.

Detectives are investigating the Rust accident to know what type of projectile was discharged. “This investigation remains open and active. No charges have been filed in regard to this incident. Witnesses continue to be interviewed,” sheriff’s spokesman Juan Rios was quoted as saying in the media.

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