Halyna Hutchins: who was the cinematographer shot by Alec Baldwin in tragic accident on set of Rust movie?

Hutchins graduated from the American Film Institute in 2015, and was named a ‘rising star’ by American Cinematographer

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Last month, a prop firearm discharged by veteran actor Alec Baldwin, who is starring and producing a Western movie, killed his director of photography and injured the director.

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and director Joel Souza were shot on the set of Rust, which was filming in the desert on the southern outskirts of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Hutchins, 42, was airlifted to University of New Mexico Hospital, where she was pronounced dead by medical personnel, authorities said.

But who was Hutchins, and what films had she previously worked on?

Here is everything you need to know.

What happened?

There was an accident on the set involving the misfire of a prop gun with blanks, a spokesperson for Baldwin said.

After 911 calls described a person being shot, deputies responded to the movie set at the Bonanza Creek Ranch at around 2pm on Thursday 21 October.

Sheriff’s spokesman Juan Rios said in a statement that detectives were investigating how and what type of projectile was discharged.

“The details are unclear at this moment, but we are working to learn more, and we support a full investigation into this tragic event,” said John Lindley and Rebecca Rhine, president and executive director respectively of the International Cinematographers Guild, in a statement.

Who was Halyna Hutchins?

Hutchins was a Ukrainian-born American cinematographer credited with work on more than 30 films, short films and TV miniseries.

She grew up on a military base in the Arctic, and prior to her work in cinematography, Hutchins worked as a journalist in Eastern Europe.

She moved to the United States to focus on film-making, taking on roles in production and even fashion photography.

In 2015, Hutchins graduated from the American Film Institute, and was named a “rising star” by American Cinematographer in 2019.

She most notably worked as director of photography on the 2020 action film Archenemy, starring Joe Manganiello.

“I’m so sad about losing Halyna. And so infuriated that this could happen on a set,” said Archenemy director Adam Egypt Mortimer on Twitter. “She was a brilliant talent who was absolutely committed to art and to film.”

Film colleague Manganiello called her “an incredible talent” and “a great person” on his Instagram account. He said he was lucky to have worked with Hutchins.

Has this happened before?

Brandon Lee, the son of martial arts superstar Bruce Lee, was killed in 1993 after he was shot on the set of the film The Crow.

The gun was supposed to have fired a blank, but a post mortem examination found a .44-calibre bullet lodged near his spine.

A statement on Lee’s official Twitter account, which is run by his sister Shannon, said: “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.”

The incidents that killed Lee and Hutchins are part of a long history of tragedies on film sets.

In 1984, actor Jon-Erik Hexum died after shooting himself in the head with a prop gun blank while pretending to play Russian roulette with a .44 Magnum on the set of the television series Cover Up.

During the filming of Twilight Zone: The Movie in 1982, a helicopter crash killed actor Vic Morrow and two children, Myca Dinh Le and Renee Shin-Yi Chen, while filming a scene involving explosions, which damaged the helicopter’s rotors.

In 2002 Vin Diesel’s stunt double on the action film xXx, Harry O’Connor, died while he was performing a paragliding stunt.

A stunt expert was also killed on the set of Batman film The Dark Knight; Conway Wickliffe was leaning out the window of a car operating a camera when the car crashed into a tree.

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