Who Is Halyna Hutchins? 5 Things On Cinematographer Killed By Prop Gun – Hollywood Life

Halyna Hutchins: 5 Things To Know About Cinematographer Killed On ‘Rust’ Set

Alec Baldwin had been charged in January 2023 for the 2021 death of Halyna Hutchins on the set of the movie Rust. Find out more about the cinematographer here.

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  • Halyna Hutchins’ death became national news after she was accidentally killed by a prop gun on the set of Alec Baldwin’s film, Rust.
  • The young Ukrainian cinematographer had worked on more than 30 feature-length films before the accident.
  • Alec Baldwin was holding the gun, but has maintained in interviews he never pulled the trigger.
  • Halyna Hutchin’s husband Matt Hutchins filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Rust production team, including Alec, but has since dropped the suit and is acting as executive producer of the film.
  • Alec Baldwin was charged with involuntary manslaughter by the Santa Fe District Attorney. He plead “not guilty” and waiving his first court appearance.
  • The charges of manslaughter are expected to be dropped, according to a report from Variety on April 20.

Tragedy struck Hollywood on Oct. 21, 2021 when actor Alec Baldwin “discharged” a prop gun that fatally killed a crew member on his new film Rust. Director of Photography Halyna Hutchins died after the on-set incident while director Joel Souza, 42 was injured. Over a year after the tragedy, Alec and prop armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed were both charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter by Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies, on  January 19, 2023. Assistant director David Halls took a plea agreement for negligent use of a deadly weapon.

Over a month after the first charges were revealed, the district attorney announced that she would drop the gun enhancement charge against Alec in a statement on Monday, February 20, per ABC News. With the charge dropped, the actor may only face up to 18 months in prison, if he’s found guilty. “In order to avoid further litigious distractions by Mr. Baldwin and his attorneys, the District Attorney and the special prosecutor have removed the firearm enhancement to the involuntary manslaughter charges in the death of Halyna Hutchins on the ‘Rust’ film set,” Carmack-Altwies said in a statement.

Three days later, on Feb. 23, 2023, Alec pleaded “not guilty” to being charged with involuntary manslaughter, as reported by ABC News. In addition, the actor/producer “waived his first court appearance,” after being charged with involuntary manslaughter last month. The charges are expected to be dropped now, according to a report from Variety on Thursday, April 20.

Alec’s lawyer released a statement to PEOPLE following the news. “We are pleased with the decision to dismiss the case against Alec Baldwin and we encourage a proper investigation into the facts and circumstances of this tragic accident,” attorneys Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro told the outlet.

David, for his part, has agreed to plead “no contest” in regards to the charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon. David’s plea agreement is currently “pending a judge’s approval.”

Both David and Alec filed a waiver for their virtual court appearances, originally scheduled for Feb. 24, 2023. More so, District Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer set conditions for Alec’s release, including that, “he must not possess any firearms, not consume alcohol and have no contact with any potential witnesses unless it’s related to filming the movie,” as reported by ABC.

Alec has claimed he is not at fault for Halyna’s death. Two months after the incident, he appeared on ABC News to say that though he cocked the gun, he never pulled the trigger. Following the charges, the actor’s attorney Luke Nikas said that they would fight the charges in a statement. “This decision distorts Halyna Hutchins’ tragic death and represents a terrible miscarriage of justice. Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun – or anywhere on the movie set. He relied on the professionals with whom he worked, who assured him the gun did not have live rounds,” he said.

In February, a wrongful death lawsuit was filed in New Mexico on behalf of Halyna’s husband Matthew and their 9-year-old son Andros. The lawsuit claimed that the Rust production team “committed major breaches of industry protocols” that “led to the senseless and tragic death” of Halyna. However, on October 5, Matthew revealed he had dropped the lawsuit after agreeing on a settlement, which included the film to resume with him as executive producer.

In the meantime, here are 5 things about the Halyna, the cinematographer who tragically lost her life.

Halyna was a Los Angeles-based cinematographer

On her official website’s “about” section, Halyna described herself as a “Los Angeles based union cinematographer.” She also graduated from the AFI conservatory in 2015 and had since worked on a series of narrative shorts and features. The 42-year-old was also one of the 8 Female Cinematopgraphers for the 21st Century Fox DP Lab and was featured as one of the film industry’s “Rising Stars of Cinematography 2019” in American Cinematographer.

Speaking of her time at AFI, Halyna told the magazine that it made her “rethink” who she was as an artist and how she wanted to work in the industry. “One thing I learned is that cinematography is not something you do by yourself. It’s a group [project]. You need to develop your own vision, but the key to a successful film is communication with your director and your team.”

Haylna was born in Ukraine and spoke both Russian & English

Halyna describes herself as originally hailing from Ukraine and then growing up on “a Soviet military base in the Arctic Circle” — what a unique locale! The late artist also shared that she had a graduate degree in journalism from Kyiv National University in Ukraine and previously dabbled in investigative journalism “with British documentary productions in Europe” before settling into cinematography. She also spoke both Russian and English, setting her apart for work in the states.

Taking whatever production assistant jobs she could in America, Halyna also shared with American Cinematographer that she worked in fashion photography as well to learn the “aesthetics of lighting — how you create the mood, the feeling.”

She is survived by a husband and son

As mentioned, her husband Matthew had filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Alec and the producers of the film. At the time of her death, he tweeted, “Halyna inspired us all with her passion and vision, and her legacy is too meaningful to encapsulate in words. Our loss is enormous, and we ask that the media please respect my family’s privacy as we process our grief. We thank everyone for sharing images and stories of her life.”

After he dropped the lawsuit, Matt said in a statement, “I have no interest in engaging in recriminations or attribution of blame (to the producers or Mr. Baldwin). All of us believe Halyna’s death was a terrible accident. I am grateful that the producers and the entertainment community have come together to pay tribute to Halyna’s final work.”

Meanwhile, Matt will continue to parent their only child, son Andros.

Her career received critical acclaim

Across Halyna’s Instagram and website, reels are numerous stills and clips from short films and features she’s worked on, ranging in genre and aesthetics. Since finishing her graduate work at AFI in 2015, she completed two features, Snowbound in Colorado and Darlin’. “Right now, I’m just really interested in finding fruitful collaborations,” she told American Cinematographer regarding her quest for continued experience. “To me, it’s the collaborative effort between creative minds that elevate each other’s work.”

She added, “I’m just hoping to find my Wong Kar-wai,” citing her inspiration from the renowned Hong Kong director who specializes in bold, immersive, atmospheric works.

It’s no surprise Halyna was employed for a major feature starring an A-lister like Baldwin, considering the breadth of work she obtained over the years. In a post from Oct. 2020, the DP shared a poster from a film she photographed, Sunday’s Child, which was accepted to a few film festivals while the horror feature, Darlin’, premiered at the SXSW film festival in 2019. The film, directed by Pollyanna McIntosh (The Walking Dead), also played internationally at the Edinburgh Film Festival, Fantasia, London FrightFest, and more.

She stood in solidarity with the IATSE union

In some of Halyna’s last posts on Instagram, she shared photos from the New Mexico desert on the set of Rust. One of the shots — perhaps the most touching — was a large group pic of the film cast and crew as Halyna shouted out the IATSE, or The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees union.

“Standing in #IAsolidarity with our @IATSE crew here in New Mexico on RUST,” Halyna wrote in the caption, reposting from another person working on the production. The historic strike, which honors the needs of the tireless workers in the industry who mostly operate behind the scenes, is still putting pressure on Hollywood to negotiate better working conditions and better pay.

Although we’re heartbroken by the tragedy of Halyna’s passing, her final days of living her passion and supporting her fellow artists to live their dreams with dignity and purpose are something to be acknowledged and remembered.