American actor Alec Baldwin said Friday he was “devastated” after having killed the day before, with a weapon which he had been told was blank, a director of photography on the set of a western in the American state of New Mexico, an event as tragic as it is extremely rare in cinema.
“Words fail me to express my amazement and sadness after the tragic accident that killed Halyna Hutchins,” the comedian tweeted. He had activated Thursday a firearm used on the set of the film “Rust”, touching the director of photography, who died of her injuries despite being evacuated to a hospital, and injuring the director Joel Souza.
“I am fully cooperating with the police investigation as to how this tragedy may have taken place,” the actor added.
According to the Santa Fe Reporter, citing court documents prepared by police to obtain a search warrant, the tragedy occurred during a scene rehearsal.
Alec Baldwin was given a prop by an assistant director who told him it was a blank weapon. The assistant director “did not know that there was active ammunition in the accessory”, according to the document.
The clothes worn by Alec Baldwin during the accident were turned over to investigators, along with the gun in question and the cartridge cases.
The drama took place at Bonanza Creek Ranch, used extensively in westerns, which was flown over Friday by two helicopters. The access was still cordoned off by the police.
A spokesman for Santa Fe County Sheriff Juan Rios told AFP that the actor “volunteered and left the building after the interrogations were over. No prosecution has been made. been initiated and no arrests were made. “
He later confirmed that investigators were conducting searches on the filming site on Friday.
According to the Los Angeles Times, six members of the film’s technical crew left the set several hours before the drama to protest their working conditions.
The weapon used as a prop and implicated in the drama had been mistakenly fired at least three times previously, the newspaper added, citing members of the set on condition of anonymity.
Asked about this by AFP, the production company did not react on Friday afternoon.
“The whole team is completely devastated by today’s tragedy and we send our sincere condolences to Halyna’s family and loved ones,” a production spokesperson said earlier in a statement.
“Rust” is a western written and directed by Joel Souza, starring co-producer Alec Baldwin as outlaw Harland Rust, who fled with his 13-year-old grandson when the latter is sentenced, following an accidental homicide, to hanging for murder.
Call for “vigilance”
Los Angeles-based Halyna Hutchins was considered a rising star in American cinema. Born in Ukraine, she grew up in a Soviet military base in the Arctic Circle, according to her website.
The International Alliance of Performing Jobs (IATSE), to which Halyna Hutchins belonged, said it was “devastated”.
“Establishing a culture of safety requires vigilance at all times and from each of us, every day,” added the union.
The IATSE refused to comment to AFP on information relayed by the American press according to which the props branch of the union circulated an email claiming that a “real bullet was accidentally fired” and that none of the its members were not at the shooting location during the drama.
Cinema authorities in New Mexico also declined to comment, noting in a statement that “the safety and well-being of all actors, crews and filmmakers in New Mexico (were) always a priority. “.
Alec Baldwin, 63, has made himself particularly popular in the United States in recent years for his impersonations of Donald Trump on the famous satirical show “Saturday Night Live”.
In “The Singer and the Billionaire” and “Guet-Apens”, he co-starred with Kim Basinger. The two formed one of the most glamorous couples of the time before a very acrimonious divorce.
In the 2000s, the New York actor received two Emmy Awards, equivalent to the Oscars for American television, for the comic series “30 Rock” where he played a studio boss opposite Tina Fey. With its seven seasons, the comedy had signed a real success for Baldwin and considerably improved his reputation as an actor.