Tributes pour in for Halyna Hutchins, 'brilliant' cinematographer killed on set of Alec Baldwin's 'Rust'

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Hollywood is mourning the death of Halyna Hutchins, a well-respected cinematographer described as a "ray of light" who was killed when Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun on the set of Rust. Hutchins was 42.

"According to investigators it appears that the scene being filmed involved the use of a prop firearm when it was discharged," the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Department said in a statement. "Detectives are investigating how and what type of projectile was discharged." The film's director, Joel Souza, was also injured in the incident and initially listed in critical condition; however, he was released from the hospital overnight.

Born in Ukraine, Hutchins had been working steadily in Hollywood for the past decade, with more than two dozen credits to her name. She is survived by her husband and son.

Baldwin released a statement on his social media channels early Friday, expressing condolences to Hutchins's family.

Following the tragic news, a petition was created overnight calling on Hollywood production companies to end the use of real guns on sets. The petition was started by Bandar Albuliwi, a director who graduated from the American Film Institute Conservatory — the same school Halyna Hutchins attended.

Hutchins, who before her death was vocal in her support for a strike over poor working conditions on film sets, was beloved by the film community. Since the news of her death, friends and colleagues have come out to voice their admiration and love for an artist who was gone too soon.

That includes the family of Brandon Lee, who was killed after being shot with a prop gun that was believed to be loaded with dummy bullets on the production of 1994's The Crow. "Our hearts go out to the family of Halyna Hutchins and to Joel Souza and all involved in the incident on Rust." Shannon Lee tweeted from her brother's official Twitter account. "No one should ever be killed by a gun on a film set. Period."

Hutchins's agency, Innovative Artists, also paid tribute, describing her as someone who was "always smiling" and "always hopeful."

"Rest in Paradise Dear Halyna," wrote Rust actress Frances Fisher. "I loved watching you work. Your intense focus and your vibrant command of the room. ... My prayers are with your family and with all who love and miss you."

Joe Manganiello posted a tribute to Hutchins on Instagram Friday. The actor wrote how "lucky" he was to have worked with her on the 2020 film Archenemy, on which she served as director of photogaphy. "She was an absolutely incredible talent and a great person. She had such an eye and a visual style, she was the kind of cinematographer that you wanted to see succeed because you wanted to see what she could pull off next. She was a fantastic person."

"There was no amount of pressure she couldn’t handle. She was a great collaborator and an ally to anyone in front of her camera. Everyone who knew her was rooting for her. I can’t believe that this could happen in this day and age… gunfire from a prop gun could kill a crew member? This is a horrible tragedy. My heart goes out to her family and especially to her son. I am so sad today for everyone who knew her and worked with her…"

Archenemy director Adam Egypt Mortimer wrote that Hutchins "was a brilliant talent who was absolutely committed to art and to film," adding he was "so infuriated that this could happen on a set."

Elijah Wood also tweeted a tribute. “Absolutely horrifying and devastating news about cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins," he wrote. "My heart goes out to her family.”

"What happened is a tragedy seemingly fueled by a supreme amount of negligence," actor and comedian Paul Scheer, who also worked with Hutchins on Archenemy, wrote on his Instagram Stories. "Seek out her work. Sending love to her family, her friends, and her crew."

Credit: Instagram
Credit: Instagram

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."

Casting director Sidra Smith, who worked with Hutchins on A Luv Tale, wrote, "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."

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

Fellow cinematographer Elle Schneider tweeted, "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."

The Suicide Squad director James Gunn wrote: "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."

"Sorrow and absolute horror that cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed on set," wrote Mia Farrow. "This should never have happened. Thoughts with her family and friends."

"My heart goes out to Halyna Hutchins family," added Patricia Arquette. "What a heartbreaking loss. Sending prayers to Joel Souza. I’m sure everyone is devastated."

"My heart breaks for the family and friends of Halyna Hutchins," wrote Midnight Mass director Mike Flanagan. "This is just horrifying and devastating news.

Developing story, more to come...