Emmy-winning actor Alec Baldwin opened up in his first TV interview about the tragic shooting on the set of his new movie “Rust“.
The tragedy occurred on Oct. 21 while actors were rehearsing for the movie at the Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe when one round was accidentally discharged from a loaded prop gun that Baldwin had been told was a cold or unloaded weapon.
The shooting killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza on the set of the movie “Rust“.
Baldwin told Good Morning America host George Stephanopoulos that he and the cinematographer had something profound in common and that they both assumed the gun was empty.
When asked if he felt guilt over her death, the Hollywood star noted: “No. No. I feel that… someone is responsible for what happened and I can’t say who that is, but I know it’s not me. Honest to God, if I felt that I was responsible, I might’ve killed myself if I thought that I was responsible. And I don’t say that lightly.”
As seen in an excerpt of the interview, released earlier in the week, Baldwin also told Stephanopoulos that he never pulled the trigger of the prop gun, but that it went off when he released the hammer – the mechanism that can be cocked back before firing.
The assistant director who handed the actor the gun backs up his assertion that he did not pull the trigger and that it was a “misfire”.
Authorities have said Baldwin was told the gun was safe to handle but continue to investigate how a live round ended up in the weapon. During the interview, the actor revealed he had been told: “by people in the know… that it is highly unlikely I would be charged with anything criminally”.
Baldwin also talked about the claims of safety issues onset in the days leading up to the tragedy have been reported.
He stated that he was not been aware of any safety concerns, only that some crew members wanted better hotel rooms.
Baldwin also gave his account of what happened in the moments leading up to the shooting, saying Hutchins was showing him where to point the gun to get the right shot.
“She was getting me to position the gun, everything is in her direction. She was guiding me through how she wants me to hold the gun for this angle, and I draw the gun out and I find a mark.” It was an “incidental shot”, he said, which might not have ended up in the movie at all.
The actor added that after showing Hutchins how he would cock the gun, he let go of the hammer of the gun and the gun goes off.
He stressed he would never point a gun at anyone nor would pull a trigger at them.
Baldwin noted he initially did not realize what had happened and thought the cinematographer might have fainted.
“I thought to myself, did she faint? The notion that there was a live round in that gun did not dawn on me till probably 45 minutes to an hour later. No one could understand. Did she have a heart attack? Remember, the idea that someone put a live bullet in the gun was not even in reality,” he added.
The actor disclosed that he did not learn about Hutchins’s death until a few hours later.
Baldwin stated that he is clueless about how did a real bullet get on the set, noting: “someone put a live bullet in a gun, a bullet that wasn’t even supposed to be on the property.”
On Tuesday, authorities investigating the sources of the live ammunition searched the premises of Albuquerque-based firearms and ammunition supplier.
Baldwin addressed the criticism he faced for not checking the gun thoroughly himself, noting that is not the actor’s job.
“When that person who was charged with that job handed me the weapon, I trusted them. In the 40 years I have been in this business all the way up until that day, I’ve never had a problem.”