Hollywood remembers Halyna Hutchins, Rust cinematographer who died after on-set prop gun accident

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Halyna Hutchins, a cinematographer on films like Archenemy, Darlin', and Blindfire, died Thursday from injuries sustained after a prop gun was discharged on the set of the upcoming Western movie Rust. She was 42.

Actor Alec Baldwin discharged a prop gun at the Bonanza Creek Ranch during production on the film in Santa Fe, N.M., harming both Hutchins and director Joel Souza. Souza was treated for injuries, but Hutchins died from her sustained wounds at the University of New Mexico Hospital, where she had been airlifted.

Halyna Hutchins
Halyna Hutchins

Fred Hayes/Getty Images Halyna Hutchins

Baldwin issued a statement Friday on social media, saying, "There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours. I'm fully cooperating with the police investigation to address how this tragedy occurred and I am in touch with her husband, offering my support to him and his family. My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna."

Born in the Ukraine, Hutchins grew up on a Soviet military base in the Arctic Circle. She later attended the Kyiv National University, where she received a graduate degree in international journalism. She became involved in feature films due to her background as an investigative journalist for documentary productions in Europe, according to her website.

Her first gig as a cinematographer on a feature film was working on 2017's Snowbound, helmed by Olia Oparina. By 2018, Hutchins had been welcomed into 21st Century Fox DP Lab in 2018, and American Cinematographer magazine named her one of its rising stars in 2019.

Halyna Hutchins and Joel Souza
Halyna Hutchins and Joel Souza

Mat Hayward/Getty Images Halyna Hutchins

Hutchins also worked on the arthouse superhero film Archenemy, starring Joe Manganiello; horror film Darlin', helmed by The Walking Dead actress Pollyanna McIntosh; and the police drama Blindfire, starring The Alienist's Brian Geraghty.

The filmmakers and talent she worked with sang her praises in life and in death. "I'm so sad about losing Halyna. And so infuriated that this could happen on a set," Archenemy director Adam Egypt Mortimer wrote in a tweet. "She was a brilliant talent who was absolutely committed to art and to film."

He also shared a thread he posted during the film's release in 2020, hailing Hutchins' "brilliant mind for light and texture."

"Her tastes and sensibility of what is cinematic were a huge asset for executing our style — the grimy but beautiful feeling I referred to as ROMANTIC BRUTALSM," he wrote at the time.

"The most talented, in the trenches, committed, wonderful artist and team mate," McIntosh recalled of Hutchins from their days working on Darlin'.

"You were going to keep making amazing films," she added. "Much love to her family. I'm so sorry for their loss. And of course I'm angry. This has to stop happening on set. My thoughts are with the whole crew and cast of her current project too."

Sidra Smith, a casting director and creator of the series A Luv Tale who worked with Hutchins, noted how "hard out here" it is in the industry for female cinematographers. She called Rust, starring Baldwin and Jensen Ackles, "a HUGE opportunity for her."

"She was so young and so talented," Smith wrote on Instagram. "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."

Hutchins is survived by her husband, Matthew, and their son.

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