In ABC’s interview special Alec Baldwin Unscripted, Alec Baldwin sat down with George Stephanopoulos and addressed the Rust tragedy that left cinematographer Halyna Hutchins dead and director Joel Souza injured. Baldwin described the incident from the beginning: He was told that he was handed a cold gun, which means there are no live rounds in the gun at all. In Baldwin’s words, a cold gun could mean there are possibly dummy rounds in the gun but no explosive charge. Hutchins directed Baldwin in the scene as he cocked the gun and faced the camera. He let go of the hammer of the gun and it went off, without Baldwin pulling the trigger, he said.
Baldwin also discussed issues of budget concerns, stating that he was “purely a creative producer” on Rust and only had influence over casting and the script. When directly asked if budget costs were being cut at the expense of safety and security, Baldwin replied, “In my opinion, no … I did not observe any safety or security issues at all in the time I was there.”
Baldwin said he trusted the armorer and prop person on set to do their jobs correctly, regardless if they demonstrated the prop gun to him and the crew. Baldwin stated, “Sometimes [the armorer] wouldn’t demonstrate to me. Some insisted on demonstrating. They would do the demonstration for everybody there right before we rolled the camera or rehearsed. Then there were others who they didn’t do that because I trusted them to do the job.”
When asked if the set was sabotaged, Baldwin said he believes the incident was an accident and hopes the sheriff’s department finds where the live bullets came from. He doesn’t believe he will be facing criminal charges for the tragedy. “I’ve been told by people who are in the know … that it’s highly unlikely that I would be charged with anything criminally,” said Baldwin. Stephanopoulos asked if the tragedy was the worst thing to ever happen to Baldwin, who immediately answered yes but explained he does not feel guilty about the tragedy.
“Someone is responsible for what happened, and I can’t say who that is, but I know it’s not me,” concluded Baldwin on his feelings about the incident. When discussing Hutchins and her talent, Baldwin said, “It’s important to remember that she was as admired as she was loved. That’s — that’s essential to say that, is that she’s someone who people really, really thought she had a great talent.”
The full interview is available to stream on Hulu.