Hollywood is mourning the loss of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins after a tragic incident on the New Mexico set of the movie “Rust.” On Thursday, actor Alec Baldwin accidentally fired a live round from a prop gun, killing Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza.
Now “Yellowstone” star Brecken Merrill has posted a tribute to Hutchins on his Instagram page. The teen actor said he is “heartbroken” over the incident and hopes it will usher in a renewed commitment to gun safety.
“Heartbroken over the loss of @halynahutchins,” Merrill wrote Friday. “May this tragedy serve as a reminder of the importance of gun safety. Our hearts go out to her family and loved ones.”
Halyna Hutchins’s Death Prompts Calls to Ban Real Guns from Movie Sets
After Hutchins’s death, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 44 emailed its union members that “a live single round was accidentally fired on set by the principal actor,” according to NBC News.
Baldwin has said that Hutchins’s death was an accident. And he apparently believed the gun was loaded with blanks. The movie’s armorer and prop master would have been responsible for putting that particular gun into Baldwin’s hands. The stunt coordinator also would have been involved in any stunts.
The young “Yellowstone” star is not the only one calling for gun safety. Now some Hollywood directors, such as Rian Johnson and Paul Fieg, are advocating a movie-industry ban on real guns on set. They point out that this is not the first time someone has died needlessly at the business end of a prop gun.
“People say we should learn from this. But we learned this lesson a long time ago. People have been killed on set before with prop guns,” Stephen Lighthill, president of the American Society of Cinematographers and Hutchins’ former mentor, told Time. “It’s time for us to remove all guns from sets.”
Lighthill added that this incident illuminates a deeper problem. Hollywood crew members work grueling weeks and extra-long days. He said actors have to be willing to work a few days more so crew members aren’t pulling 14-hour shifts, leaving them overtaxed beyond their ability to function properly.
‘Yellowstone’ Season 4 Is Fast Approaching
Meanwhile, “Yellowstone” fans have endured a long wait between seasons. And in the run-up to the Season 4 premiere, the show has been dropping trailers, teasers and tweets left and right to keep fans interested in the show.
For his part, Merrill has been helping out on social media. The young “Yellowstone” star has launched “Yellowstone” Sundays, in which he offers behind-the-scenes pictures as well as anecdotes about the production of the show.
So, thanks to Merrill and his costars, “Yellowstone” fans should know more about the show now than they did when Season 3 ended. And that’s some consolation for the long wait. But it’s almost over now. Season 4 drops Sunday, Nov. 7, exclusively on the Paramount Network. Let’s hope all the stunts involved panned out safely.