Who is Joel Souza? Details on Director Injured in Alec Baldwin Prop Gun Incident on ‘Rust’ Set

by Josh Lanier
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Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun on the set of his new movie and killed the director of photography and wounded the director, Joel Souza, Thursday night. Police are still investigating the cause of the incident. But investigators have not said much about the circumstances of the shooting.

Most of the coverage focused on the famed actor and producer Alec Baldwin, while the incident brings light to the work of Joel Souza and Halyna Hutchins.

Halyna Hutchins, 42, was the director of photography on Rust, a police thriller filming in New Mexico. She died after paramedics airlifted her to the University of New Mexico Hospital.

Emergency medical workers also rushed director Joel Souza to the hospital. Though, doctors did release him Friday morning, actress Frances Fisher tweeted. The extent of his injuries is unclear. But Fisher said early reports that claimed his wounds were life-threatening are untrue.

Joel Souza is the writer and director of Rust. He worked with Alec Baldwin once before on the 2019 film Crown Vic. Baldwin also produced that movie but did not star. Crown Vic stars Thomas Jane and Bridget Moynahan. The premise of the film is very similar to the 2001 Oscar-winning film Training Day.

Rust, set in 1880s Kansas, stars Baldwin as an outlaw on the run with his young grandson, Deadline said. A jury convicts the teenager of accidentally killing a local rancher and sentences him to die. Producers put the production on hold indefinitely, PEOPLE reported.

Souza made his directorial debut on the comedy Christmas Trade starring Tom Arnold and Denise Richards. He wrote that film also.

Joel Souza lives with his wife and two children near San Francisco, IMDb said.

Alec Baldwin: Shooting Reminds Many of Brandon Lee’s Death

Thursday’s shooting has similarities to another on-set death. Brandon Lee, son of martial arts icon Bruce Lee, died filming The Crow in 1993. The crew loaded a live round into a gun used during filming by accident, PEOPLE reported. The actor thought he was firing blanks. A district attorney ruled that the crew was negligent, but did not file any charges.

Brandon Lee’s family tweeted their sympathies for Halyna Hutchins on his official Twitter account.

On-set deaths like these are rare, but they do happen. Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn tweeted it’s his worst fear that someone could die on one of his sets.

Gunn said that safety procedures on movie sets changed after Brandon Lee’s death. And he believes someone on the crew of Rust likely made a mistake.

“There is no way what happened yesterday on Rust could have happened if every single person followed the rules,” he tweeted. “That’s not me placing blame at any individual’s doorstep; I don’t know all the facts. But with everyone following proper protocol it could not have occurred.”

Though, he said blaming anyone before the police have investigated the incident is counterproductive.

Outsider.com