Alec Baldwin Movie Takes 'A Pause' After Fatal Shooting, Will Resume Filming At Some Point

Producers for Rust, a Western movie starring Alec Baldwin, halted filming after the actor fatally shot a cinematographer with a prop firearm while on set.

While an investigation into the shooting is underway, filming has been halted at the New Mexico ranch that has served as the set for much of the movie. Many speculated that the movie would never be completed after cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and director Joel Souza were shot, but producers said Monday that the Western will merely take "a pause" from filming.

"Although our hearts are broken, and it is hard to see beyond the horizon, this is, at the moment, a pause rather than an end," an email from the producers to the crew read. The company also announced it will provide grief counseling to those involved.

The email added that the production team is working in cooperation with the police investigation and launching an internal review of its own.

According to an affidavit, Baldwin was practicing a scene where he had to point the revolver at the camera lens and suddenly the firearm went off, killing Hutchins. Souza was standing behind Hutchins at the time and was injured.

The affidavit said assistant director Dave Halls, who handed Baldwin the gun, told the actor it was a "cold gun," indicating the weapon was safe to use. The crew was also told that the firearm did not have live ammunition in it.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Alec Baldwin Rust Filming Halted
This aerial photo shows the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, N.M., Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021. Actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun on the set of a Western being filmed at the ranch on Thursday, Oct. 21, killing the cinematographer, officials said. Jae C. Hong/AP Photo

When asked about how Baldwin treated firearms on the set, Russell said the actor was safe, citing a previous instance when Baldwin made sure a child actor was not near him when a gun was being discharged.

The affidavit released Sunday also included statements by director Souza.

It detailed the moments before the shooting and showed that there was turmoil on the set the day of the shooting. Several members of the camera crew walked off the production in a dispute over payment and lodging, Russell said, and he was left with a lot of work to do. Only one camera was available to shoot, and it had to be moved because the light had shifted and there was a shadow.

It detailed the moments before the shooting and showed that there was turmoil on the set the day of the shooting. Several members of the camera crew walked off the production in a dispute over payment and lodging, Russell said, and he was left with a lot of work to do. Only one camera was available to shoot, and it had to be moved because the light had shifted and there was a shadow.

On Sunday, a crew member who worked with Halls on another project said she had raised safety concerns about him in 2019.

Maggie Goll, a prop maker and licensed pyrotechnician, said in a statement that she filed an internal complaint with the executive producers of Hulu's "Into the Dark" series in 2019 over concerns about Halls' behavior on set. Goll said in a phone interview Sunday that Halls disregarded safety protocols for weapons and pyrotechnics and tried to continue filming after the supervising pyrotechnician lost consciousness on set.

Halls has not returned phone calls and email messages seeking comment.

The fatal shooting and previous experiences point to larger safety issues that need to be addressed, Goll said, adding that crew member safety and well-being were top issues in recent contract negotiations between a union that represents film and TV workers and a major producers' group.

"This situation is not about Dave Halls. ... It's in no way one person's fault," she said. "It's a bigger conversation about safety on set and what we are trying to achieve with that culture."

The film's chief electrician, Serge Svetnoy, blamed producers for Hutchins' death in an emotional Facebook post on Sunday. Svetnoy said he had worked with Hutchins on multiple films and faulted "negligence and unprofessionalism" among those handling weapons on the set. He said producers hired an inexperienced armorer.

Since the shooting, other production crews have stepped up safety measures.
Jeffrey Wright, who has worked on projects including the James Bond franchise and the upcoming movie "The Batman," was acting with a weapon on the set of "Westworld" when he learned of the shooting Thursday at a New Mexico ranch.

"We were all pretty shocked. And it informed what we did from that moment on," he said in an interview Sunday at the Newport Beach Film Festival.

"I don't recall ever being handed a weapon that was not cleared in front of me — meaning chamber open, barrel shown to me, light flashed inside the barrel to make sure that it's cleared," Wright said. "Clearly that was a mismanaged set."

Actor Ray Liotta agreed with Wright that the checks on firearms are usually extensive.

"They always — that I know of — they check it so you can see," Liotta said. "They give it to the person you're pointing the gun at. They do it to the producer. They show whoever is there that it doesn't work."