Halyna Hutchins and Joel Souza: What we know about the victims of the Alec Baldwin Rust shooting

The film’s director of photography, Halyna Hutchins was 42 at the time of her death

Maanya Sachdeva
Friday 22 October 2021 08:22
Alec Baldwin fatally shoots cinematographer and injures director with prop gun
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Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins died on 21 October after actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun on a film set in New Mexico.

Hutchins was transported to the University of New Mexico hospital where she was pronounced dead by medical personnel. She was 42 at the time.

The film’s director, Joel Souza, was also injured in the shooting. He is currently undergoing treatment at a local hospital.

Alec Baldwin shooting - update: Actor fatally shoots cinematographer and injures director with prop gun

There has been an outpouring of grief on social media, as Hutchins’s friends and colleagues paid tribute to her.

Director Adam Egypt Mortimer, who worked with Hutchins on the 2020 superhero mystery-thriller Archenemy, tweeted: “I’m so sad about losing Halyna. And so infuriated that this could happen on a set. She was a brilliant talent who was absolutely committed to art and to film.”

Mortimer has previously said that Hutchins’s tastes and sensibility of what is cinematic were a huge asset for the Archenemy project.

Her other film credits included Michael Nell’s racially-charged police drama Blindfire, Cate Devaney’s horror movie The Mad Hatter, Adriana González-Vega’s To the New Girl and The Walking Dead actor Pollyanna McIntosh’s horror film Darlin’.

Born in Ukraine in 1979, Hutchins grew up in a Soviet camp in the Arctic Circle “surrounded by reindeer and nuclear submarines”. She graduated from the Kyiv National University with a degree in international journalism.

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Hutchins worked as an investigative journalist on British documentary productions in Europe for a while, before she relocated to Los Angeles.

An alumna of the American Film Institute Conservatory, Hutchins was recognised as one of American Cinematography magazine’s “rising stars” in 2019.

Hutchins’s friend and fellow cinematographer Elle Schneider called her a “rising star” in a tweet.

“Halyna was shooting the Western Rust when she died,” Schneider wrote. “Women cinematographers have historically been kept from genre film, and it seems especially cruel that one of the rising stars who was able to break through had her life cut short on the kind of project we’ve been fighting for.”

Her husband Matthew Hutchins told Insider: “I think that we will need a little bit of time before we can really encapsulate her life in a way that is easy to communicate.”

Hutchins posted a photograph from the set of Rust one day before her death. She also shared a video of herself, enjoying her day off, horse-riding on the same day.

Rust director Souza made his feature debut in 2019 with the R-rated police drama Crown Vic.

The 48-year-old filmmaker is based in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he lives with his wife and two children.

Baldwin was filming the forthcoming Western at Bonanza Creek Ranch, a popular filming location south of Santa Fe, when the tragic incident occurred.

Written by Souza, Rust also stars Travis Fimmel, Brady Noon, Frances Fisher and Jensen Ackles.

According to a Deadline report, the 63-year-old actor was questioned by investigators and released.

At a new conference on 27 October, Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza and District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said it was too early to talk about possible charges over the shooting but said they could not be ruled out.

They revealed that the bullet that killed Hutchins and wounded Souza had been removed from the injured director’s shoulder.

Mr Mendoza said the gun used in the shooting had been handled by two people in addition to Baldwin: armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed and assistant director David Halls.

The sheriff said it was too early to say whether criminal charges are warranted. Asked about the possibility Baldwin will face charges, Mr Mendoza said: “No one has been ruled out” and noted: “He was the person who fired the weapon.”

Ms Carmack-Altwies then spoke to confirm that her office is ready to bring charges if the investigation finds sufficient evidence to do so.

“I must emphasise that a complete and thorough investigation is critical to the DA review,” she said. “We take the corroborated facts and evidence and connect it to New Mexico law, and we are not at that juncture yet.”

“If the facts in evidence and law support charges, then I will initiate prosecution at that time. I’m a prosecutor that was elected in part because I do not make rash decisions and I do not rush to judgment,” she added.

With additional reporting by Megan Sheets

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