[quote] Jensen Ackles Shared Insight into Film's Gun Practices Before Fatal Shooting
Several days before Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of his new film Rust, his co-star Jensen Ackles talked to fans about how he was coached about safe usage of a firearm for the movie.
The incident occurred at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in New Mexico on Thursday, Oct. 21. Hutchins, the Western movie's photography director, was airlifted to a hospital and later died of her wounds. The film's director, Joel Souza, 48, was also injured in the shooting and was treated at a medical center before being released. Baldwin has said he is cooperating with a police investigation into the "tragic accident."
Appearing at a Supernatural convention in Denver on Saturday, Oct. 16, Ackles, who starred on all 15 seasons of the series until its 2020 finale, talked to fans about his experience preparing for Rust. He spoke about how the armorer, or weapons specialist typically responsible for firearms and firearms safety on a filming set, taught him how to use a gun for the film.
"They had me pick my gun," the actor said. "They were like, 'All right, what gun would you like?' and I was like, 'I don't know' and the armorer was like, 'You have gun experience?' and I was like, 'A little,' and she's like, 'OK, well, this is how you load it. This is how we check it and make sure it's safe.'"
Ackles continued, "So she's like, 'OK, I'm going to put some blanks in there and I want you to just go and fire off a couple rounds towards the hill.' And I was like, 'OK.' So I put the belt on, I put the gun there and I walked out and she's like, 'Just make sure you know you pull the hammer all the way back and you aim at your target.'"
The circumstances surrounding the shooting are unclear. Police are investigating the incident. No charges have been filed.
"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," Baldwin, 63, tweeted on Friday, Oct. 22. "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."
Hutchins' husband, Matthew Hutchins, father of their 9-year-old son, told The New York Post, "I have spoken with Alec Baldwin and he is being very supportive."
He also told Insider regarding his wife's death, "I don't think there are words to communicate the situation. I am not going to be able to comment about the facts or the process of what we're going through right now, but I appreciate that everyone has been very sympathetic. I think that we will need a little bit of time before we can really encapsulate her life in a way that is easy to communicate."
The Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office said in a statement that "according to investigators, it appears that the scene being filmed involved the use of a prop firearm when it was discharged. Detectives are investigating how and what type of projectile was discharged."
Baldwin's rep had said in a statement on the day of the incident that there was an accident "involving the misfire of a prop gun with blanks."
An eyewitness told Roger Friedman's Showbiz 411 site that Baldwin appeared to be in shock after the shooting but remained composed and kept asking why he was handed a "hot gun," adding that the actor kept saying, "In all my years, I've never been handed a hot gun."