Alec Baldwin fatally shoots woman with prop gun on movie set

and we’re going to begin in santa fe in new mexico where police are investigating what appears to have been a tragic accident on a movie set which saw hollywood star alec baldwin apparently shooting dead a member of his film crew it happened when he discharged what he thought was a prop firearm it seems it fired a lethal projectile the cinematographer on the production helena hutchins died of her wounds while the director joel souza was also treasured in hospital for injuries now this is where the events took place the location set for the movie rust a new western it’s not

clear what exactly was happening when the gun was fired reports from the scene suggest mr baldwin was then doubled over and distraught as he left the set he was later interviewed by detectives who said the actor provided statements and answered questions he came in voluntarily and he left the building after he finished his interviews no charges have been filed no arrests have been made now we’re going to hear from people who worked with and knew the

victims and we’ll look at the tight restrictions around the use of firearms in the movie industry but we’re going to begin our coverage with this report from our correspondent in los angeles david willis well according to the santa fe new mexico sheriff’s department two people were shot on the set of the western film called rust in an initial statement the sheriff’s department said that officers were dispatched to the film set shortly after two o’clock in the afternoon local time following a report that someone had been shot and they later confirmed that two people

had been shot when a firearm that was discharged by alec baldwin went off striking the 42 year old cinematographer helena hutchins she was airlifted to hospital but later died at the scene because of her injuries and the film’s 48 year old director joel souza now he was wounded and is being treated in hospital it said that his injuries are critical a statement from the production team confirmed that the incident involved the misfire of a prop gun and said that an investigation was underway now alec baldwin is both the star and the producer of rust which is an independent film it’s based on the story of the western outlaw harland rust production of the film has now been

halted detectives are interviewing witnesses at the scene the international cinematographers guild confirmed helena hutchins death and called it in a statement devastating news we are supporting a full investigation into this tragic event this is a terrible loss and we mourn the passing of a member of our guild’s family so far there has been no word on this is an incident from alec baldwin or any of his representatives david willis in los angeles well let’s bring you a little bit more detail about helena hutchins the woman who was shot dead on the movie set we know that she

was a 42 year old woman who originally came from ukraine helena worked as a cinematographer and had a growing reputation in the industry director adam egypt mortimer worked with her and he paid this tribute um she’s somebody that i met at a film festival in spain we were about there with movies we had and i just thought she was so cool she looked cool she talked cool and when we spoke for just a few minutes i thought to myself um i’m gonna ask her to shoot my next movie she just had that sort of sense of being an artist with incredible integrity and incredible sense of wanting to make art um and so we formed that partnership and we made a movie together that

was very uh very challenging very you know very low budget movie that was very ambitious and she brought so much um relentless desire and ability to make it like an immersive cinematic experience um she would not uh she would not let us shoot something she would not let us shoot at an image that she didn’t think was beautiful and and truthful and she had this she was ukrainian and she had this very european sensibility uh which meant that she was committed to uh finding something transcendentally uh amazing in any time she she did something and so she could be very stubborn in um insisting that she was gonna make this thing as beautiful as it had to be and we would have to uh wrestle with making sure that she’d be able to do that um and it was really a treat for me

to know that um i was working with somebody who i could trust that much to be sort of poetic and talented and also very knowledgeable about her craft adam egypt mortimer they’re talking about uh um helena hutchins now guns are still widely used in the u.s film industry despite advances in special effects and cgi technology strict controls do remain in place firearms are subject to both federal law and regulations in the state where the filming is taking place in most cases this means permits have to be applied for most states also insist certified weapons handlers should be on the set when any weapon is being used during a production while live bullets

aren’t often used the weapons do have the capacity to fire them blanks are mostly used instead to give a realistic impression well to talk more about this i’m joined by australian actor and director reese muldoon he’s used guns on set multiple times including a new netflix production he’s working on called the interceptor uh and reese just give us a sense of how strictly regulated the use of guns is and any idea you might have as to how an incident like this could have happened um well thanks steven firstly i’m it’s i’m so surprised that it’s happened at all um but in one way not which i’ll get to in just a moment but firstly the how strict gun controls are um on a film set as when as an actor if you are firing a gun or someone is pointing a gun towards you the armor

will come and show you the gun show you that the firing pin has either been taken out or that the gun is empty or that it’s a plastic gun and and and show this in front of a lot of people i mean it’s a little bit like the airline industry where everybody has to know that that plan is safe and it’s the same sort of thing with a gun so so if a gun is being used in any way everybody has to see it and the actor has to be has to see it and actors by nature are very trusting but you are shown again and again that this gun and these are not bullets etc etc etc but in this instance um i think um what’s happened is that they have used blanks and like i’m only going on this is my guess on

this but they have used blanks because that’s happened before and if it’s there’s a certain oxymoron in saying it’s a prop gun a prop gun doesn’t fire anything like it’s it’s not a prop gun therefore it’s a gun so like if you’re you if you’re using a blank it still has some explosive in it but the the shell casing has no bit of metal that will fly out apparently and uh you know it’s a million to one that a bit of that showcase will come out and i think that’s clearly what’s happened would it be unusual for the director of the movie and the director of photography the cinematographer to be in very close proximity to the actor when he is discharging a firearm presumably to be filmed

i think well it’s unusual in that it certainly sounds to me like it’s a close-up in that it’s like um that it’s going to be um you know the cinematographer is always there the cinematographer is is just capturing everything no matter how close no matter how far they’re there right like the cinematographer is as close to the action as is humanly possible they’re like a superhero on set make no mistake and so um for the director to be so close to the cinematographer is rare like normally they’re off in what’s called video village just watching the split but in this case what it sounds like to me is that it’s a close-up of a gun like over as in if you can just imagine that my finger is is like

that they want that shot there and the gun going bang right like a super close-up with an intense look at whoever it is and bang and that something’s happened and that a part of that that um shell casing has come out um it’s it’s hit the cinematographer obviously and then i’m guessing either it’s either ricochet or some part of the camera has or the the french flag as you call it or the camera box right has come off and the director as well maurice uh just time for one quick brief follow-up as i understand it on your latest production the interceptor you’ve switched from using guns with blanks to creating effects with cgi is that the way the movie industry is going

do you think i think it’s almost definitely i think particularly after this incident um i think that it’s a given like on the on the film i’m working that i’m working on was just working on with a lot of gunfire a lot of gunfire and the producers had a very serious meeting um and decided to not go with blanks at all because a they were inconsistent in that guns misfire i mean even in war guns misfire right so if you’re using you know real humans in a pretend situation and

if guns are misfiring you’re gonna have to do take after takeoff to take after take as well as you’ve got this one in a million chance of a of a um of something going wrong so they’ve chosen to go with uh sfx which is a lot cheaper too ironically well reese we really thank you for your insights thank you very much for joining us on bbc world news no problem cheers  

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