Alec Baldwin Recalls Moment of Rust Shooting During Emotional ABC Interview

Alec Baldwin gave ABC News' George Stephanopoulos his first official interview about the accidental fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of their film Rust.

By Corinne Heller, Lindsay Weinberg Dec 03, 2021 3:55 AMTags
Watch: Alec Baldwin Breaks Silence After Deadly On-Set Shooting

Alec Baldwin broke down in tears remembering cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and also recalled the moments before the Rust film set shooting that claimed her life, in his first official interview about the tragedy.

The sit-down with ABC NewsGeorge Stephanopoulos aired Thursday, Dec. 2, more than a month after the fatal Oct. 21 incident on the Santa Fe, N.M. set. During the interview, the 63-year-old actor paid tribute to Hutchins, 42, who is survived by her husband and 9-year-old son. He also said he did not pull the trigger on the gun he was holding during a rehearsal for the Western movie Rust.

Santa Fe police said on the day of the shooting that Baldwin "discharged" the prop weapon, which killed the cinematographer and injured director Joel Souza. Police are still investigating the incident.

This is not the first time Baldwin has spoken on-camera about the shooting, as he talked to paparazzi about it in a lengthy impromptu media scrum in October in Vermont.

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However, it is the first time he has given an official interview about the matter to a specific media outlet, and Stephanopoulos told his flagship show Good Morning America that it was the "most intense" one he had ever conducted among the "thousands" he's completed at ABC News over the last 20 years."

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Universal Pictures, Anthony Harvey/Getty Images

Here are 10 things Baldwin discussed during the interview.

1. He Shared His Account of What Happened Right Before the Shooting

Baldwin said the shooting occurred during a "marking rehearsal." Portraying character Harland Rust, Baldwin was "playing a cornered and badly wounded character who would draw his weapon on two foes," according to ABC News.

Baldwin said he had the gun in his hand while he and Hutchins were working on the scene.

"[Hutchins] says to me, ‘Hold the gun lower. Go to your right. Okay, right there. All right, do that. Now show it a little bit lower.' And she's getting me to position the gun," Baldwin stated. "She's guiding me through how she wants me to hold the gun for this angle... I'm holding the gun where she told me to hold it, which ended up being aimed right below her armpit."

2. "The Trigger Wasn't Pulled"

According to ABC, Baldwin said he was supposed to cock the gun but not actually fire it. As he recalled, "The trigger wasn't pulled. I didn't pull the trigger." Baldwin said, "I cock the gun. I go, ‘Can you see that? Can you see that? Can you see that?'" 

He continued, "And then I let go of the hammer of the gun, and the gun goes off. I let go of the hammer of the gun, the gun goes off."

When asked, Baldwin confirmed he never pulled the trigger. "I would never point a gun at anyone and pull a trigger at them," he said.

3. The Scene Immediately Afterward

Baldwin recounted the distress on set after Hutchins was shot.

"First of all, everyone is horrified, they're shocked, it's loud," he said. "[Hutchins] goes down. I thought to myself, ‘Did she faint?'" 

Baldwin said he remained by Hutchins' side for about a minute, as he was "in shock." He said it didn't "dawn" on him that there could have been a live round in the gun until nearly an hour later.

He recalled learning more at the police station: "It was like seeing aliens. It was, it was utter disbelief over the idea." He later felt an "insanity-inducing agony" over it reportedly being a live round.

4. How Did the Live Round Get on Set?

Baldwin said he has "no idea" how a live round got on the set of Rust. "Someone put a live bullet in a gun," he alleged. "A bullet that wasn't even supposed to be on the property."

Elsewhere, The Departed actor stated, "I don't know what happened on that set. I don't know how that bullet arrived in that gun. I don't know." 

Jeff Neira/ABC via Getty Images

5. Baldwin Denies Being Responsible

Baldwin told the reporter, "Someone is ​responsible for what happened, and I can't say who that is, but I know it's not me."

Also during their conversation, he said he did "exactly what I've done every day on that movie," in terms of handling the gun. "The actor's responsibility is to do what the prop armorer tells them to do."

6. First Assistant Director Dave Halls Allegedly Witnessed the Incident

Baldwin said the film's first assistant director, Dave Halls, gave him a revolver during rehearsal and allegedly told the star, "This is a cold gun," meaning it was not loaded with live rounds. 

Halls' lawyer, Lisa Torraco, "would not confirm" to ABC whether Halls actually handed Baldwin the weapon that day on set. 

Torraco also said it was "not his responsibility" to check the gun. She told ABC, "Expecting an assistant director to check a firearm is like telling the assistant director to check the camera angle or telling the assistant director to check sound or lighting."

However, she said that Halls was watching the incident from about three feet away, and therefore could confirm Baldwin's account. "Alec did not pull that trigger," she said.   

7. Baldwin Mourns Halyna Hutchins

"[Hutchins] was someone who was loved by everyone who worked with [her] and liked by everyone who worked with [her], and admired," Baldwin said, covering his face with his hand and weep. He explained that her death "doesn't seem real to me."

Baldwin also said he "loved" working with her: "She was a joy. Everyone loved her as a person. And everyone admired her talent."

Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

8. No Guilt

At one point, Stephanopoulos asked, "Do you feel guilt?" Baldwin told him no, saying, "I might have killed myself if I thought I was responsible, and I don't say that lightly."

He said he does "have dreams about this constantly now," adding, "Emotionally, I collapse" at the end of the day.

9. The Future of His Career

"I couldn't give a s--t about my career anymore," Baldwin stated. When Stephanopoulos asked if his career is "over," the comedian speculated, "Well, it could be."

10. "The Worst Thing"

When asked if this incident was the "worst thing" that's ever happened to him, Baldwin replied, "Yes. Yeah. Yeah. Because I think back and I think of what could I have done." 

He additionally shared, "I would go to any lengths to undo what happened. I would go to any lengths to undo what happened."

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