Alec Baldwin has said he does not feel guilty about his accidental on-set shooting of camerawoman Halyna Hutchins, because someone else was responsible for bringing the live ammunition onto set.
Hutchins, 42, was shot and killed on October 21 on the set of the Western film Rust, which was being filmed in New Mexico.
Baldwin, who produced Rust as well as starred in it, also hit back at George Clooney, after his fellow actor criticized him for not checking the gun.
Asked if he felt by guilty by ABC journalist George Stephanopoulos, Baldwin replied: ‘No. No. I feel that someone is responsible for what happened, and I can’t say who that is, but I know it’s not me.’
He added: ‘I mean, honest to God, if I felt that I was responsible, I might have killed myself if I thought I was responsible. And I don’t say that lightly.’
In a deeply emotional interview – his first televised recounting of the events of October 21 – Baldwin also defended himself from criticism.
Earlier in the month, George Clooney called the shooting ‘insane’ and ‘infuriating’.
Alec Baldwin, 63, spoke to George Stephanopoulos for an interview which aired on Thursday
The Oscar-nominated actor and father of seven said he wanted to set the record straight
Halyna Hutchins was described by Baldwin as ‘fantastic’, as he paid tribute to her vision and professionalism
‘Every single time I’m handed a gun on the set — every time — they hand me a gun, I look at it, I open it, I show it to the person I’m pointing it too, I show it to the crew,’ Clooney said.
‘Every single take. You hand it back to the armor when you’re done.’
Clooney added: ‘Part of it is because of what happened to Brandon. Everyone does it. Everyone knows.
‘Maybe Alec did that — hopefully he did do that.’
But Baldwin told Stephanopoulos he was unimpressed with Clooney’s remarks.
‘There were a lot of people who felt it necessary to contribute some comment to the situation, which really didn’t help the situation at all.
‘If your protocol is you checking the gun every time, well, good for you. Good for you.
‘I probably handled weapons as much as any other actor in films with an average career, never shooting or being shot by someone. And in that time, I had a protocol. And it never let me down.’
Asked why he never checked his gun, Baldwin replied: ‘What I was taught by someone years ago was: if I took a gun and I popped a clip out of a gun or I manipulated the chamber of a gun, they would take the gun away from me and redo it.
‘The prop person said, ‘Don’t do that.’ I mean, I was young.
‘And they’d say, ‘One thing you would need to understand is we don’t want the actor to be the last line of defense against a catastrophic breach of safety with the gun. ‘My job,’ they told me, man or woman.
‘My job is to make sure the gun is safe, and that I hand you the gun, and I declare the gun safe. The crew’s not relying on you to say that it’s safe. They’re relying on me to say that it’s safe.’
‘When that person who was charged with that job handed me the weapon, I trusted them. And I never had a problem, ever.
He said he trusted others on set to do their job.
Among those were Hannah Gutierrez Reed, the armorer, and Dave Halls, the assistant director.
‘One person has that responsibility to maintain the gun,’ Baldwin said.
Baldwin, 63, also revealed it 45 minutes after the shooting for it to even occur to him that live ammunition might have been used.
He said that, when she fell to the ground, he thought she might have fainted.
‘She goes down. I thought to myself, ‘Did she faint?” Baldwin said.
‘The notion that there was a live round in that gun did not dawn on me till probably 45 minutes to an hour later.’
A tearful Baldwin spoke out for the first time in a full interview about the events of October 21
Baldwin said that, in the moments before the fatal shooting, they were participating in ‘a marking rehearsal.’
He said: ‘She’s getting me to position the gun – everything is at her direction. I draw the gun, to her marker.
‘I’m not shooting to the camera lens, I’m shooting just off. In her direction. This was a completely incidental shot, that may not have ended up in the film.’
Baldwin says he cocked the gun, and was discussing with Hutchins how it looked on camera.
‘I’m just showing. I go, ‘How ’bout that? Does that work? You see that? Do you see that?’
The film’s rookie armorer, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, pictured above
‘And then she goes, ‘Yeah, that’s good.’
‘I let go of the hammer, bang. The gun goes off. Everyone is horrified. They’re shocked. It’s loud. They don’t have their earplugs in.
‘No one was – the gun was supposed to be empty. I was told I was handed an empty gun.
‘If they were cosmetic rounds, nothing with a charge at all, a flash round, nothing.
‘She goes down, I thought to myself, ‘Did she faint?’
‘The notion that there was a live round in that gun did not dawn on me ’till probably 45 minutes to an hour later.’
He added: ‘Well, she’s laying there and I go, ‘Did she hit by wadding? Was there a blank?’
‘Sometimes those blank rounds have a wadding inside that packs, it’s like a cloth that packs the gunpowder in. Sometimes wadding comes out, it can hit people, and it could feel like a little bit of a poke.
‘But no one could understand. ‘Did she have a heart attack?’
‘Because remember the idea that someone put a live bullet in the gun was not even in reality.
Baldwin said: ‘I never pulled the trigger. No, no, no. You would never do that.’
Dave Halls, the assistant director who was watching, confirmed Baldwin’s account, through his lawyer.
The live round that Alec Baldwin fired and accidentally killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of Rust may have been a homemade bullet, according to court documents
Hutchins’ October 19, 2021 Instagram post showed cast members and staffers, including Baldwin alongside Hutchins herself and armorer Gutierrez-Reed (circled left to right) on the set of Rust in Santa Fe, New Mexico
He said he stood over her for ‘about 60 seconds’ and was then ushered out.
Was she conscious, Stephanopoulos asked?
‘My recollection is yes,’ said Baldwin.
He said ‘no one had any idea’ there was live ammunition used until a police officer showed a photo of the shrapnel removed from Souza’s arm.
He said then began ‘the agony, insanity, that someone put a live bullet in the gun.’
Stephanopoulos asked about the photo of Baldwin with his head in his hands.
‘She was laying there and she was there for a while I was amazed at how long they didn’t get her in a car or get her out, but they waited until a helicopter came,’ he said.
‘And by the time the helicopter took off with her we were literally all glutted to that process outside.
‘When she finally left, I don’t know how long she was there for. She kept saying, she’s stable, just as you disbelieve there was a live round in the gun, you disbelieve its going to be a fatal accident.
‘At the end of my interview with the sheriff’s department, they told me ‘we regret to inform you she didn’t make it,’ they told me then and there.’
He added: ‘That’s when I went outside and called my wife.’
Baldwin said both he and Hutchins thought the gun was empty.
‘Halyna and I had something profound in common: we both presumed the gun was empty,’ he said.
The Oscar-nominated actor said that he had been handed the antique gun and told it was safe, and he trusted the people who told him that.
‘The gun was supposed to be empty,’ Baldwin added. ‘I was told I was handed an empty gun.’
Halyna Hutchins is seen with head electrician on the Rust movie set, Serge Svetnoy
Halls, an experienced assistant director, is pictured on the set of Rust, outside Santa Fe in New Mexico
Hutchins, born in Ukraine, was fondly remembered by those who worked with her on the set of Rust
Baldwin said he was unaware of Hutchins’s work until he was introduced to her by the film’s director, Joel Souza.
‘I knew nothing about her til Joel said ‘I got her’,’ Baldwin said.
‘She was fantastic.’
‘Her work was beautiful. She was someone who was loved by everyone who worked with her, and liked by everyone who worked with her, and was admired.’
He then broke down into sobs.
Baldwin composed himself, and discussed concerns about the budget, and union complaints.
But he then broke down again talking about the film.
He said he rarely made films any more, as it would entail long periods of time away from his wife Hilaria and their six children. But he agreed to Rust because he loved the script, and was excited about the New Mexico filming.
‘This movie made me love making movies again,’ he said. ‘I really thought we were onto something.’
After the fatal shooting, Baldwin met Hutchins’s husband, Matthew.
‘He hugged me and said: ‘I guess we’re going to go through this together.”
He said that Hutchins’s husband and son were incredibly kind.
‘This boy doesn’t have a mother any more,’ Baldwin said.
‘And there is nothing we can do to bring her back.
‘I said: I don’t know what to say.’
Baldwin said he ‘would be stunned’ if Matthew Hutchins did not seek some form of civil redress.
Halyna Hutchins is seen with her husband Matthew and their son, in a 2018 photo
He said he accompanied Matthew to Halyna’s memorial, and they had spoken since, but Baldwin believed his lawyers were now advising him to be cautious.
Earlier, Baldwin said he wanted to stress from the beginning that his thoughts were with the family of Hutchins and Souza, who was also shot in the disaster.
‘I want to make sure that I don’t come across as a victim, as there are two victims here,’ he said.
ALEC BALDWIN ON-SET TRAGEDY: WHAT COULD HAVE GONE WRONG?
The Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate what exactly happened on the set that led to the death of Hutchins and the injury of the director, but past accidents involving guns on movie sets present a range of options for what could have led to the tragedy.
Squib load – something was lodged in the barrel of the gun when Baldwin fired
One possibility is that an object was stuck in the barrel of the prop gun that Baldwin was using. Known as a squib load, it happens when a cartridge isn’t fired from the barrel because the gas isn’t strong enough to push it out.
In itself, it is not dangerous and can be fixed if the gun is safely cleared but if someone keeps firing rounds from that same gun – live or not – it can be highly dangerous.
If a second round is fired behind the stuck round, it can cause the weapon to explode, or injure people in the near vicinity.
A real bullet was accidentally loaded, or part of one was, instead of a blank
After firing the gun, Baldwin’s immediate reaction was to ask why he’d been handed a ‘hot’ gun – meaning one containing live bullets.
That is what happened in the 1993 shooting of actor Brandon Bruce Lee on the set of The Crow.
Those on set thought the gun was loaded with blanks, but an autopsy revealed a .44 caliber bullet was lodged near Lee’s spine.
Police recovered dummy shell casings from the set.
A dummy, unlike a blank, looks like a live round with a bullet at the tip of the cartridge.
The difference between live rounds and blanks is the tip of the cartridge where the lethal bullet is contained is not there on a blank. Sometimes they are replaced with cotton or paper. Dummy bullets, unlike blanks, look like ordinary bullets but aren’t meant to contain the metal bullet tip either
Blast from the blank struck something else on set
One possibility, though it is not likely, is that the blank hit something else, damaged it, and caused that prop or piece of equipment to send pieces flying towards the director and Hutchins.
Rhys Muldoon who has used guns on set many times and says even blanks are dangerous, speculated at that possibility, telling the BBC: ‘The first thought I had is this is a close up of a gun being fired by the actor, very close to the frame of the camera, that has misfired, hit the DoP, and then something has either come off the French Flag or the black box like a part of the camera and hit the director as well.’
But movie experts say even in those cases, there should be more safeguards in place.
‘If you are in the line of fire… You would have a face mask, you would have goggles, you would stand behind a Perspex screen, and you would minimize the number of people by the camera.
‘What I don’t understand in this instance is how two people have been injured, one tragically killed, in the same event,’ Steven Hall, who has worked on films such as Fury and The Imitation Game, told BBC.
He said: ‘I can’t imagine ever doing another movie that has a gun in it’.
Baldwin added: ‘There is only one question to be answered, only one.
‘And that is: where did the live round come from?’
The fatal gunshot may have been a homemade bullet that a New Mexico armorer supplied from a previous film where the makeshift ammunition was used to train actors at a firing range, according to court documents.
Detectives are investigating whether Seth Kenney, a 51-year-old Hollywood veteran who was supposed to provide the film with dummy rounds and blanks, may have sent recycled bullets from a previous set, according to an affidavit filed by the Sante Fe County Sheriff’s Office.
Investigators continue to probe Hutchins’ death, and have yet to file any criminal charges.
‘A live round is not supposed to be anywhere near the set,’ Baldwin said.
Asked if he was worried about being charged, Baldwin said: ‘I don’t have anything to hide.’
Baldwin was asked if he thought there had been sabotage – a prospect floated by the lawyer for the armorer, Hannah Gutierrez Reed.
‘No, because I can’t believe a world in which that could have happened,’ he replied.
‘That’s a big swing. That’s an enormous charge to make. To attack who, to discredit who? Me? The production?’
He said he ‘feels terrible’ for what has happened to Gutierrez Reed and Halls, the assistant director.
Baldwin said he hopes the sheriffs office ‘follow this to the end of the earth.’
He added: ‘At the same time, I don’t want to see Hannah suffer, Halls suffer.’
Baldwin said it had been ‘very tough’.
‘I don’t think anyone has used this as an opportunity, except those you would expect.
‘The former president of the United States said he thinks I did it deliberately. I thought to myself, just as I think it couldn’t get any more surreal.’
Two people have filed suits.
Serge Svetnoy, the lighting director, who was close to Hutchins and cradled her as she lay dying, has filed for emotional distress.
Baldwin emphasized that he found it ‘unsettling’ that Svetnoy’s suit was filed before Matthew Hutchins filed his.
Baldwin said that ‘one of the two’ told him outside the church: ‘What happened is not your fault.’
Svetnoy confirmed through his lawyers that it was he who told Baldwin he was blameless.
‘That person has the right to change their mind, of course,’ Baldwin said.
Baldwin said: ‘To be honest, I couldn’t give a f*** about my career any more.’
He said he was not sure if he would make any more films – although he then added that he would be filming a new movie in January.
‘Nobody gave a f*** who you are any more until this. You see a lot of people with their phones now, in a coffee shop,’ he said, showing them filming him.
Is this the worst thing that has ever happened to you, Stephanopoulos asked.
‘Yep. Because I think back, what could I have done.
‘Someone is responsible for what happened, and I can’t say who it is, but it’s not me.
‘Honest to God, if I thought I was responsible I might have killed myself. And I don’t say that lightly.’
He stressed again: ‘Who bought bullets onto the set?’
Baldwin said: ‘I’ve worked with some of the greatest cinematographers in world. And she is the loveliest woman.
‘I think it’s important to remember she is as admired as she loved. People really thought she had a great talent.’
Hours before the interview aired, Baldwin was seen with his wife Hilaria in New York City, where they have a home.
The pair were seen grabbing coffee at the Madman Espresso in the West Village, a favorite haunt for the couple.
Baldwin kept a sullen look, dressed in all black, while Hilaria wore electric metallic leggings and a golden-colored Moncler vest priced at $1,900.
The Baldwins had also been spotted earlier in the day taking a stroll with their infants in the Manhattan streets.
After the coffee break, Baldwin carried suitcases and packed them into his SUV before going home.
Alec and Hilaria Baldwin were spotted grabbing coffee near their New York City apartment just hours before the actors interview with ABC was set to air
The pair can often be seen grabbing coffee at the Madman Espresso. They’re pictured waiting for their order
Baldwin kept a sullen look after crying over the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in the pre-recorded interview
The actor was dressed in all black on Thursday and seen carrying around luggage outside the coffee shop
Hilaria was dressed in metallic leggings, high heel boots and a golden-colored vest
Hilaria cut a striking figure, beside her husband’s pitch-black outfit, as they headed towards their car
Baldwin packed his suitcases inside his SUV
The dramatic 90-minute interview aired on Thursday at 8pm on ABC, and then later on Hulu
Alec Baldwin lights up as he smiles at one of his kids while pushing strollers with Hilaria
Hilaria Baldwin is glued to her phone as the couple walk their children near their Greenwich Village home
Hilaria put on a fashion display more fitting for a catwalk than a sidewalk in high heels, metallic leggings and pricey vest
Hilaria Baldwin melts for her baby as they wait to cross the street
The couple enjoyed a stroll with two of their six kids during an unseasonably warm December day
‘He’s supposed to check the guns, he’s responsible’: Panicked 911 calls from Alec Baldwin tragedy reveal how script supervisor blamed assistant director for death of cinematographer – but why did ANY of the guns have live ammo?
The audio recordings of 911 calls made by the crew of Alec Baldwin’s film Rust have revealed desperate attempts to save their colleague, and allegations of negligence.
Mamie Mitchell, the script supervisor of the film, made the call after Baldwin accidentally shot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, 42, and director Joel Souza, 48.
The group were filming the Western film in the desert outside Santa Fe, New Mexico, when the tragedy happened on October 21.
In her call, Mitchell, a veteran script supervisor with credits dating back to 1974, points the finger at the assistant director, accusing him of negligence.
Mitchell calls 911 and tells the woman answering: ‘We need an ambulance out at Bonanza Creek Ranch right now. We have had two people accidentally shot on a movie set accidentally.’
While she is on the phone, Mitchell is instructing another person to ‘clear the road’ to allow the ambulance easy access to the site.
Mitchell is then transferred to the Santa Fe fire and EMS, and, sounding panicked, urges a swift response.
‘Bonanza Creek ranch. We have had two people accidentally shot on a movie set by a prop gun.
‘We need help immediately. Bonanza Creek ranch. Come on.’
David Halls is the Assistant Director of Rust, the Western movie Baldwin was acting in and producing when he accidentally killed Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza
The 911 operators then asks Mitchell for her details.
Mitchell, who has worked on films including No Country For Old Men, Sicario and 3:10 to Yuma, can be heard saying: ‘It sounds like somebody else is calling for ambulances.
‘Everybody should be. We need some help.
‘Our director and our camerawoman has been shot.’
She then asks someone on set: ‘Are they going to take him to the road?’
The 911 operator asks: ‘So, was it loaded with a real bullet or what?’
Mitchell replies: ‘I don’t, I cannot tell you that. We have two injuries from a movie gunshot.’
While the phone operator is inputting the details, Mitchell can be heard telling someone else: ‘OK, this f****** AD that yelled at me at lunch asking about revisions, this motherf*****.
‘Did you see him lean over my desk and yell at me? He’s supposed to check the guns. He’s responsible for what happened.’
According to a search warrant filed in a Santa Fe court, the gun was one of three that the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez, had set on a cart outside the wooden structure where a scene was being acted.
Assistant director Dave Halls grabbed the gun from the cart and brought it inside to Baldwin, unaware that it was loaded with live rounds, a detective wrote in the search warrant application.
It is not known whether Mitchell was referring Halls in the audio.
It was unclear how many rounds were fired. Gutierrez removed a shell casing from the gun after the shooting, and she turned the weapon over to police when they arrived, the court records say.
On the call, the 911 operator tries to ask Mitchell how many people were injured and, confused, Mitchell replies: ‘No, no, I’m a script supervisor.’
The operator asks again, and Mitchell says: ‘Two that I know of. I was sitting there rehearsing and it went off and I ran out. We all went out there, but doubled over the camerawoman and the director.’
She tells another person: ‘They are clearing the road, can you go back – back in the town, back in the Western camp.’
The operator asks if there is any serious bleeding, and Mitchell, flustered, hands the phone over to a man.
‘Hello?’ the man says.
‘Hi, I have a protocol of questions I need to ask. If you could answer them as best you can,’ the 911 operator says. ‘Are they completely alert?’
The man replies: ‘Yes, they are alert.’
The operator asks if the bleeding is controlled, and the man replies: ‘Let’s see if I’m allowed to get closer… No.’
It is unclear if he is saying that the bleeding is not controlled, or that he is not able to get closer.
‘We’ve got one laying down,’ he tells the operator, adding that they are near gate one and have a van ready to escort the ambulances quickly to the precise spot.
A devastated Baldwin is pictured bent over outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s office after speaking to investigators
A woman then calls back saying: ‘Hi, I am calling back from Bonanza Creek Ranch. We actually need two ambulances not one.’
The operator replies: ‘OK, so we’re doing a call now for somebody else and we’ll get two up to you.’
The woman, her voice showing the strain, replies: ‘OK. And that’s 10 to 15 minutes?’
‘I don’t know – we’re getting them right now, to you now,’ the operator replies.
‘What? What?’ the woman says, sounding panicked as she speaks to someone else.
‘We have two ambulances heading your way.’
‘What?’ the woman says, then returns speaking to the operator: ‘OK, thank you.’
The operator replies: ‘You’re welcome, bye.’
Mitchell later said she was standing next to Hutchins when she was shot.
‘I ran out and called 911 and said ‘Bring everybody, send everybody,’ Mitchell told The Associated Press.
‘This woman is gone at the beginning of her career. She was an extraordinary, rare, very rare woman.’
Mitchell said she and other crew members were attending a private memorial service in Santa Fe.
Baldwin described the killing as a ‘tragic accident.’
‘There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours. I’m fully cooperating with the police investigation,’ Baldwin wrote on Twitter.
‘My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna.’
No immediate charges were filed, and sheriff’s spokesman Juan Rios said Baldwin was permitted to travel.
‘He’s a free man,’ Rios said.