Halyna Hutchins, a well-admired cinematographer who was blazing a new path for women in her field, was killed Thursday in a tragic accident on the set of the film "Rust" in New Mexico.
Actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun, striking Hutchins and the film's director, Joel Souza, the sheriff's office said in a statement Thursday night. Hutchins, the mother of a young son, was transported via helicopter to University of New Mexico Hospital "in critical condition" and later died, according to sheriff's deputies and the hospital.
Souza was hospitalized but has since been released, according a tweet from "Rust" actress Frances Fisher.
A source tells ABC News that Hutchins' husband, Matthew Hutchins, spoke with Baldwin, who has been very supportive.
Hutchins, 42, was born in Ukraine and grew up on a "Soviet military base in the Arctic Circle surrounded by reindeer and nuclear submarines," according to a biography on her website. The website also states she earned a graduate degree in international journalism from Kyiv National University in Ukraine and began her career as an investigative journalist on documentary productions. Eventually, she moved to Los Angeles and in 2015, she graduated from the American Film Institute.
“She had this amazing background that you just sort of instantly romanticize,” director Adam Egypt Mortimer, who worked with Hutchins on the 2020 film, “Archenemy,” told the Los Angeles Times. “She had this whole Ukrainian vibe that made her seem both super cool and serious about truth.”
“I think she was going to be a very famous, very successful DP,” he added. “After we made ‘Archenemy,’ people were calling me saying, ‘She did good work. We’re thinking about putting her up for something.’ She was building a reputation. She was showing people what she could do.”
Hutchins was remembered by colleagues for breaking barriers for women in Hollywood's male-dominated cinematography sector. She was selected as one of the American Cinematographer's Rising Stars of 2019 and recently worked on the film "Blindfire," with director Mike Nell. Fellow cinematographer Elle Schneider paid tribute to Hutchins in a series of tweets Friday, remembering her as a "friend and rockstar cinematographer."
"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," Schneider wrote.
Halyna was shooting the Western RUST when she died. 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.
— 𝖊𝖑𝖑𝖊 𝖘𝖕𝖎𝖉𝖊𝖗 🕷️🕸️ (@elleschneider) October 22, 2021
"True Blood" actor Joe Manganiello, who also worked with Hutchins on "Archenemy," paid tribute to her on Instagram, calling the DP "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," he recalled. "She was a fantastic person."
"My heart goes out to her family and especially to her son," he added. "I am so sad today for everyone who knew her and worked with her."