Alec Baldwin: How a bullet “marked” the career of one of Hollywood’s most famous actors


“Rust” is set to resume filming, with Hutchins’ widower producing

On October 21, 2021, actor Alec Baldwin, who was on the set of the American western film “Rust” on a ranch in New Mexico, pulled and fired a .45 Colt revolver. A bullet exited the barrel, which was supposed to be filled with lead, accidentally killing the film’s female cinematographer, Halina Hutchins.

On Jan. 19, the New Mexico district attorney’s office announced that Baldwin will be charged with accidental homicide or criminally negligent homicide in the death of 42-year-old Hutchins.

Mary Carmack-Altwies, New Mexico’s first district attorney, said charges against the 64-year-old actor will be filed soon. American film industry protocols require assistant directors to check the barrel of each gun on set and inform the crew if it is empty, using the expression “cold gun”. The Colt, however, was full.

The prosecutor took 15 months to present the charges. During that time, investigators from the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office gathered information about what happened inside an old church on Bonanza Creek Ranch. They submitted their final report in October 2022.

In more than 500 pages, the researchers describe a “shabby” environment on the set of a film that Baldwin also produced. A report, compiled by an FBI laboratory, stated that five bullets had been found at various points on the set. Failure to follow these safety protocols resulted in the production being fined $140,000.

Attorneys interviewed about the case believe it will be difficult to prove the manslaughter charge to a jury. The crime carries a prison sentence of between 18 months and five years, in addition to a fine.

Several experts recall a 1993 incident involving Brandon Lee, son of martial arts legend Bruce Lee, who was accidentally shot and died at the age of 31 while filming “The Crow.” North Carolina District Attorney Jerry Spivey, who had jurisdiction over the state where the film was shot, decided not to press charges against the production due to a lack of hard evidence.

Luke Nikas, Baldwin’s attorney, made it clear that he will “fight” the charges in court. “My client had no reason to believe there was a real bullet in the gun or on the set. He trusted the professionals he worked with who assured him there were no bullets in the gun,” the lawyer said in a statement.

In December 2021, in his first interview since the incident, Baldwin told reporter George Stephanopoulos that he did not pull the trigger during the rehearsal. Months later the FBI concluded, after seeking an expert opinion, that he had pulled the trigger.

Although there are no certainties, the authorities have some suspicions. Almost all refer to Gutierrez-Reed, the daughter of Thell Reed, a famous Hollywood gunsmith who taught her his craft. Police found bullets in a cart used by the art department, a shoulder bag and a box full of bullets.

The incident has caused Baldwin – a three-time Emmy winner and one-time Oscar nominee – to stop accepting job offers. His acting has been limited to independent productions, financed by the other producers of “Rust”, along with a few animated films. During this time, he has also participated in podcasts.

In October, Baldwin entered into a confidential settlement with Matthew Hutchins, the filmmaker’s widower. According to this agreement, the team must continue shooting in 2023 and the profits from the box office will go to the deceased’s husband, who is now an executive producer of the film.

You May Also Like

Recommended for you

Immediate Peak