In his first statement since the accident that killed “Rust” cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, the film’s assistant director Dave Halls said he was “shocked and saddened” by Hutchins’ death and said he hopes the film industry will reassess its values in the wake of the tragedy.
“Halyna Hutchins was not just one of the most talented people I’ve worked with, but also a friend,” Halls said in a statement via the New York Post. “I’m shocked and saddened by her death. It’s my hope that this tragedy prompts the industry to reevaluate its values and practices to ensure no one is harmed through the creative process again.”
He also added that he’s “overwhelmed by the love and support,” and said, “my thoughts are with all who knew and loved Halyna.”
Halls, who has been cooperating with authorities in Santa Fe, did not comment on details of the case or respond to comments on previous reports, including that he had announced “cold gun” prior to handing the weapon that killed Hutchins to Alec Baldwin. He did not respond to an additional request for comment from TheWrap.
In a recent search warrant released to media last week, Halls admitted that he did not thoroughly check the guns used on set as he “should have.” He told police that he checks the barrel of the gun for obstructions, that the film’s armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed opens the hatch, spins the drum, and he says “cold gun” on set. Halls had said that when Gutierrez-Reed showed him the gun before rehearsal, he only remembers seeing three rounds in the gun.
“He advised he should have checked all of them, but didn’t, and couldn’t recall if she spun the drum,” according to the affidavit. He stressed to police that this was not a deliberate act.
Halls was previously reported to have been fired from working on the film “Freedom’s Path,” with Rolling Stone reporting that he declined to provide a 74-year-old actress on the film a crash pad as she fell to her knees, leading her to fall awkwardly and become injured. He also faced complaints for safety regarding on-set weapons on a different film on which he worked from 2019.
The Santa Fe Sheriff and the Santa Fe County District Attorney held a news conference last Wednesday in which they said a “live” round with a “lead projectile” was in the gun that killed Hutchins and injured the film’s director. A mix of live rounds along with dummy cartridges and blanks were recovered from the set, approximately 500 rounds of ammunition in all, and detectives also recovered three firearms from set, two of which were plastic, non-functioning weapons.
Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies added that it was too early to determine whether criminal charges would be filed over Hutchins’ death but that no one has been ruled out to face charges at this point.