Amateurism, savings, social conflict: five days after the death of the director of photography Halyna Hutchins, Thursday, October 21, killed by an accidental shooting at the ranch of Bonanza Creek near Santa Fe (New Mexico), the details began to filter on the difficulties of the production. As the autopsy results and the analysis of the pistol, which was supposed to fire blank bullets, have not yet been made public, the mystery remains on the central question of the drama: what contained the weapon used by the actor Alec Baldwin in the scene which was fatal to the young woman and in which the director Joel Souza was injured in the shoulder? On the other hand, the testimonies of the protagonists, collected by the investigators and of which the press was aware, describe a chaotic shoot. The assistant director had already been fired from a previous production, in 2019, for non-compliance with safety rules after an incident with a firearm.
Filming Rust was on its twelfth day of the planned twenty-one. Tragic coincidence, the western tells the story of an accidental homicide. Alec Baldwin stars as a notorious outlaw who returns to duty when his 13-year-old grandson is threatened with being hanged after unintentionally killing a Kansas rancher. Harland Rust, the grandfather, frees the boy from prison and the two go on the run, pursued by sheriffs and headhunters.
In June, the actor explained that he had come up with the idea for the script himself during a conversation with Joel Souza, after wondering who had been the youngest hanged in the history of the Wild West. Popular figure in the United States – he played the role of Donald Trump for four years in the satirical show “Saturday Night Live” – Baldwin is not only the star actor of the film but also one of the producers , which could lead to him having to answer for some of the negligence that appeared on the set.
“Not quite ready”
The drama took place on the afternoon of Wednesday, October 20, during a scene depicting a shootout as it exited a church. Harland, aka Baldwin, was supposed to back out of the chapel. He was rehearsing the way to free the pistol from the holster. He had already drawn a first time, no problem. On the second try, a projectile came out and Halyna Hutchins, who was monitoring the angle of the camera, was shot near the shoulder. Transported by helicopter, she was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. The director, Joel Souza, slightly affected, was hospitalized for twenty-four hours.
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