The producers of Rust have shut down production indefinitely on Alec Baldwin’s western while an investigation is conducted into the on-set shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. “As we go through this crisis, we have made the decision to wrap the set at least until the investigations are complete,” the producers told the crew in an email Sunday night, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“Although our hearts are broken, and it is hard to see beyond the horizon, this is, at the moment, a pause rather than an end. The spirit that brought us all to this special place remains.” Baldwin, who is also a producer on the film, fatally shot Hutchins in the chest with a prop gun on the film’s New Mexico set last Thursday. Writer-director Joel Souza was also struck, but he has been treated for his injuries and released from the hospital.
The movie was more than halfway finished at the time of the incident. Baldwin plays as an outlaw who comes out of hiding to save his teenage grandson from being executed after he is sentenced for an accidental death. The ensemble also includes Jensen Ackles, Travis Fimmel, Brady Noon and Frances Fisher.
Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office has scheduled a news conference pertaining to the real-life investigation for Wednesday. A search warrant released Sunday night said police would seize firearms, firearm components, ammunition, computer hardware, cameras, film and memory cards.
The movie’s producers and the New Mexico Occupational Health & Safety Bureau are also investigating the shooting. Media reports this week have claimed working conditions on the film’s set were unsafe and the crew was planning to walk out before the shooting to demand better conditions.
No union prop master is believed to have been working on the day of the incident. Hannah Gutierrez-Reed had served as head armorer on only one other film before Rust and first assistant director David Halls was responsible for safety overall on-set. Halls reportedly handed to Baldwin one of three prop guns prepared by Gutierrez-Reed. Baldwin was told the prop was a “cold gun” and safe to fire, which he did.