Alec Baldwin gave a detailed interview on the “Rust” shooting on ABC Thursday night, answering questions about why he pointed a gun at cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and saying he had not heard any safety concerns on set beforehand.
Baldwin told interviewer George Stephanopoulos that he has nothing to hide and does not feel guilt about the incident.
“Someone is responsible for what happened,” he said. “And I can’t say who that is, but I know it’s not me.”
Hutchins was killed on the set of the Western film on Oct. 21 after being hit by a live round while preparing for a scene. Baldwin was seated on a pew in a church building at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in New Mexico, and was holding a Colt .45 when it fired. Baldwin had been told that the gun was “cold,” meaning it contained only dummy rounds, and he said it took quite a while for him to realize that Hutchins was hit with a real bullet.
Baldwin told Stephanopoulos that he cocked the revolver but did not pull the trigger just before it “went off.”
“I let go of the hammer of the gun, and the gun goes off,” he said.
He also emphasized that it was Hutchins herself who had directed him where to point the weapon, as she was lining up the camera angle.
“Everything is her direction,” Baldwin said. “I’m holding the gun where she told me to hold it, which ended up being aimed right below her armpit.”
Hutchins was airlifted to a hospital in Albuquerque, where she died later that day.
Baldwin has already been sued twice, by the film’s gaffer and the script supervisor. In the interview, Baldwin criticized them for filing their suits before Hutchins’ widower, Matthew, had filed his lawsuit.
All of the film’s producers have been named in the lawsuits, on the theory that they hired inexperienced crew members in order to cut costs. Baldwin was a producer, but stressed that did not mean he was responsible for hiring the crew or overseeing the production.
“I am a purely creative producer,” he told Stephanopoulos. “I don’t hire anybody on the crew.”
He said he did not expect to face criminal charges.
“I’ve been told by people who are in the know, in terms of even inside the state, that it’s highly unlikely that I would be charged with anything criminally,” he said.
Baldwin also addressed the concerns raised by Lane Luper, the camera operator who walked off the project along with other camera crew in protest of conditions on set. Luper has said in interviews that there were not enough safety meetings, that the crew was not given adequate hotel accommodations, and that there were two accidental discharges with blanks prior a few days before the shooting.
“I never heard one word about that,” Baldwin said in the interview, adding he did not believe that cost-cutting created a hazardous situation. “I did not observe any safety or security issues at all in the time I was there.”
Baldwin sat down for the 80-minute interview on Tuesday. He had previously said he could not talk about the case, per the request of the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office. But he told Stephanopoulos that it was important for him to clear up some “misconceptions,” and that he could not wait until the conclusion of the investigation, which could be weeks or months away.
He expressed his sorrow at Hutchins’ death and his bewilderment at how a live round made it on the set of the independent film.
“There’s only one question to be resolved,” Baldwin said. “Only one. And that is, ‘Where did the live round come from?'”
Joel Souza, the film’s director, was also struck in the shoulder.
“Rust” has been shut down indefinitely, and around Hollywood there has been renewed focus on set safety. The armorer on the project, 24-year-old Hannah Gutierrez Reed, has faced criticism for failing to properly check the rounds, as has Dave Halls, the first assistant director, who handed the gun to Baldwin and declared it to be “cold.”