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The film industry is shocked, dismayed and angry following the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on Thursday. She was killed while filming “Rust” when one of the movie’s actors, Alec Baldwin, discharged a prop gun on set.

Director Joel Souza was also injured in the incident and required hospitalization. Frances Fisher, who stars in the movie alongside Baldwin, Jensen Ackles and Travis Fimmel, tweeted late Thursday night that Souza had been discharged.

No one has been arrested in the incident, and no charges have been filed. An investigation is ongoing.

In the meantime, there has been an outpouring of grief and anger on social media, from those who knew and worked with Hutchins as well as the industry at large. Director Adam Egypt Mortimer, who worked with Hutchins on 2020 film “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.”

Joe Manganiello, who starred in “Archenemy” wrote: “I’m in shock. I was so lucky to have had Halyna Hutchins as my DP on ‘Archenemy.’ An incredible talent & great person. I can’t believe this could happen in this day and age… gunfire from a prop gun could kill a crew member? What a horrible tragedy. My heart goes out to her family.”

Casting director Sidra Smith, who worked alongside Hutchins on Vanessa Williams TV series “A Luv Tale,” wrote on Instagram: “I just found out DEVASTATING news. My cinematographer for ‘A Luv Tale’ Halyna Hutchins was killed in a terribly tragic accident on the film set of ‘Rust.’ This breaks my heart into pieces. We spoke when she was headed to shoot this film. She was so happy and I was so happy for her. It’s hard out here for women cinematographers and this was a HUGE opportunity for her. She was so young and so talented. Halyna and I spent so much time together. She was so beautifully gracious and words can not express how supportive she was to me. She loved black women, loved Harlem, was SUCH a hard worker. We laughed. This woman was AMAZING. Halyna had a beautiful son and husband. God bless her beautiful heart and soul. Life is so short. You never know when. This has me so so sad. Rest in peace, my beautiful sister. I will be forever grateful to you.”

Filmmaker Ava DuVernay commented on Smith’s post: “Devastating. Absolutely horrific. Blessings to you during this difficult time, Sidra. And may her soul be at rest.”

Hutchins’ friend, cinematographer Elle Schneider, also tweeted her devastation: “Sick and devastated to hear that my friend and rockstar cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed on set today in New Mexico. I don’t have words to describe this tragedy. I want answers. I want her family to somehow find peace among this horrific, horrific loss.”

Make-up artist Vera Sawalha also expressed her horror, posting on Instagram: “I just cannot believe what I just read. How is this even possible?!?! Halyna Hutchins was one of the most talented women I’ve ever had the honor of working with. She was an absolute pleasure to work with because she was as passionate about film as I am. I simply cannot believe something like this could even happen today. So many before her have died in this very careless and preventable way. I am in shock. I’m so sorry to her husband and son and family. If you met her you knew she was doing what she was meant to do which is why they called her a ‘rising star’ so talented and such a beautiful soul be around. May god be with her family during this devastating time and may god guide her through the gates in eternal peace.”

“Verotika” producer Jarrett Furst wrote: “I can’t believe the news that I got today hearing that you are gone. This shocked me to my core! You were an incredible artist and an incredible person! You cared so much about every project and were always a friendly smiling face whenever we would run into each other at events! You were always so supportive of those around you and put your heart on the screen and it truly shows. I will never use another live gun on set for the rest of my life, this is a true tragedy and you will be missed! Please Rest In Peace even though this was WAY too early…I’m going to miss you.”

And ARRI cameras’ Twitter account posted: “We are deeply saddened to learn about the tragic death of our friend, cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. You were an exceptional talent and will not be forgotten.
Rest in peace.”

Hutchins’ death, which comes in the wake of discussions about crew safety, also prompted tweets from film industry about the need to ensure safe working practices on set.

IA Stories, an Instagram account that posts anonymous stories of crew mistreatment and endangerment, wrote: “We are so heart broken for Halyna Hutchins, her family and friends and the entire crew of the film ‘Rust’. A full investigation into the incident absolutely needs to be done. All crew should be safe doing our jobs.”

Cinematographer Rachel Morrison, who was director of photography on “Black Panther,” posted a photograph of Hutchins on Instagram Stories, writing: “Devastated. Especially because I have not a single doubt that this tragedy could have and should have been avoided. Gutted beyond words.”

“Also just want to vent for a second that there is no fathomable reason to use blanks anymore when it costs like 50 cents to add gunfire in post and even less reason to use them during a day scene where there is little to no interactive light,” she added. “I am so mad at this needless and completely preventable loss. Also if you don’t have enough funding to make a film safely, you shouldn’t be making it. No shot, no scene, and no movie is worth the loss of life.”

And Philippa Childs, head of the U.K. union Bectu, which represents below-the-line workers, tweeted: “Tragic news and an incident that should never have happened. Lessons must be learned. Condolences to her loved ones from all @bectu. RIP #HalynaHutchins.”

“The Suicide Squad” director James Gunn also weighed in on the tragedy, tweeting: “My greatest fear is that someone will be fatally hurt on one of my sets. I pray this will never happen. My heart goes out to all of those affected by the tragedy today on ‘Rust,’ especially Halyna Hutchins & her family.”

“Lord of the Rings” actor Elijah Wood wrote: “Absolutely horrifying and devastating news about cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins. My heart goes out to her family.”

“X-Men: First Class” screenwriter Zack Stentz posted: “For all of us in the film & TV industry this is a dark day. Much love to you all, many condolences to the family & friends of Halyna Hutchins, and I sure hope Joel Souza pulls through.”

The incident also called to mind previous fatalities related to guns on set. The family of Brandon Lee, who died when a bullet in a prop gun was fired at him during production, tweeted: “Our hearts go out to the family of Halyna Hutchins and to Joel Souza and all involved in the incident on ‘Rust.’ No one should ever be killed by a gun on a film set. Period.”

And in 1984, Jon-Erik Hexum died on the set of TV show “Cover Up” when, as a prank, he shot himself in the head with a prop gun containing a blank cartridge. Although the blank did not penetrate his skin, the impact fractured his skull and caused hemorrhaging in his brain. He was rushed to hospital but died six days later, on Oct. 18.

Following news of Hutchins’ death, a woman who claimed her sister worked on the set of “Cover Up” tweeted: “Many years ago Jon-Erik Hexum was killed on set w/ a prop gun. My sister was there & I remember how affected she was. You think you’re in a safe space at work. I didn’t know Halyna Hutchins, but my heart is heavy thinking about this. Love to her family.”

Meanwhile, Alec Baldwin’s former co-star Debra Messing, who starred opposite the actor in “Along Came Polly,” took to Twitter to defend the actor. Replying to a Twitter user who wrote “BREAKING: Alec Baldwin kills person with gun, criminal investigation underway. This is the accurate headline fyi,” Messing replied: “It is absolutely NOT. A prop gun was handed to him. He used it in the scene. Then- a catastrophic event happened where Halnya Hutchins lost her life and Joel Souza was injured. I am praying for all of their families [sic].”

'Rust' Tragedy
Full Coverage


Alec Baldwin on Halyna Hutchins Death: ‘There Are No Words to Convey My Shock and Sadness’


Dismay and Anger After Halyna Hutchins’ Death on the Set of Alec Baldwin’s ‘Rust’


Prop Gun That Killed Cinematographer on Alec Baldwin Film Contained ‘Live Single Round,’ Union Claims