Tragic Alec Baldwin, Halyna Hutchins Incident on ‘Rust’ Set Calls Back to Brandon Lee Disaster on ‘The Crow’

by Brianna Vacca
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/VMN19/Getty Images for Comedy Central)

On the set of the Western movie “Rust,” Alec Baldwin discharged a prop gun that tragically killed a cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, and injured a director, Joel Souza.

University of New Mexico Hospital medical staff pronounced Halyna Hutchins dead upon arrival after being injured on set, presumably by a prop gun that Alec Baldwin was handling. She was 42 years old. Director Joel Souza, 48, is currently at the Christus St. Vincent’s Regional Medical Center. He has since been released.

A rep for Rust Movies Productions LLC says, “The entire cast and crew is absolutely devastated by today’s tragedy. We send our deepest condolences to Halyna’s family and loved ones. The film has halted production for an undetermined period of time. We are fully cooperating with the Santa Fe Police Department’s investigation.”

Baldwin has yet to comment on the incident.

Brandon Lee’s Sister Speaks Out

Unfortunately, an incident of this magnitude has happened before. An incident like this has happened before on the set of a film. For one family, the pain reappears all over again. Bruce Lee’s son, Brandon Lee is a victim of an eerily similar scenario.

While filming “The Crow,” a gun went off and struck Lee with a bullet. The bullet that struck Lee was not a blank as assumed. He was 28 years old. But, even blanks can be deadly if shot at a close enough range.

A post from the Twitter account for Brandon Bruce Lee, reportedly run by his sister Shannon Lee, releases a statement saying, “Our hearts go out to the family of Halyna Hutchins and to Joel Souza and all involved in the incident on “Rust.” No one should ever be killed by a gun on a film set. Period.”

Shannon Lee is the daughter of martial arts legend Bruce Lee.

Who is Halyna Hutchins?

42-year-old Halyna Hutchins was a respected and well-loved cinematographer. She held a degree in international journalism from Kyiv National University. Additionally, she made a home in Los Angeles as filmmaking won over her heart. She graduated from the American Film Institute Conservatory in 2015 and shot a few of her own films.

Hutchins’ worked on The Mad Hatter, Darlin’, Blindfire, A Luv Tale: The Series, Archenemy, and more. In addition, the director of photography’s Archenemy premiered at Beyond Fest 2020 and earned a nomination at the Sitges International Film Festival.

How Do Prop Guns Work?

As of right now, no one knows what exactly caused the incident on the set of “Rust” with Alec Baldwin and Jensen Ackles. However, prop guns are subject to strict safety standards. Blanks pose as real bullets, but allegedly, can cause similar damage.

The former police chief of Miami Beach and Aurora Colorado, Daniel Oates also added some context.

“They all contain a charge, a powder that creates the noise and the explosive, the visual blast, and usually it’s some kind of wire or something that explodes out of the weapon when it’s fired.”