Director Joel Souza discharged from hospital after being wounded on Alec Baldwin film ‘Rust’

A desert with a concentration of buildings in the foreground and another in the background
The set of the movie “Rust” at Bonanza Creek Ranch.
(Sam Wasson/Getty Images)
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Writer-director Joel Souza, who was wounded in a tragic incident Thursday on the New Mexico set of his film “Rust” that took the life of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, was released from the hospital after being treated for his injuries.

The 48-year-old Souza was taken to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center after being wounded by a gun used as a prop that was fired during a rehearsal by the film’s star and producer, Alec Baldwin.

Actress Frances Fisher, who co-stars in the period western, wrote on Twitter Thursday evening that Souza “texted me that he’s out of hospital.”


Souza and his representatives did not immediately respond to inquiries regarding his condition.

For the San Francisco-based Souza, “Rust” had the makings of a project that could boost his profile following a string of small-scale independent releases including, most recently, 2019’s gritty, R-rated police drama “Crown Vic.” Reviewing that film, The Times wrote, “Souza and his cast explore a familiar milieu, and though they fall short of saying anything startlingly insightful about it, they do a fine job of making it feel real, and even vital.”

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed on the set of “Rust” in October 2021. A judge dismissed the involuntary manslaughter case against star Alec Baldwin in July 2024.

Baldwin had served as a producer on “Crown Vic” and, in an interview last year with the Hollywood Reporter, said he had become enamored with Souza’s writing and jumped at the opportunity to collaborate with him on his next film.

Set in 1880s Kansas, ”Rust” centers on a 13-year-old who goes on the run with his estranged outlaw grandfather (played by Baldwin) after being sentenced to death for the accidental killing of a local rancher.

“I love Joel’s writing,” Baldwin told the Hollywood Reporter. “It wasn’t even that I was looking to do a western, I was just looking for something a little more cinematic with a little less talking. ... In terms of tone, when I read it the first thing that came to mind is ‘Unforgiven.’ That time was filled with some dark realities and some harsh realities.”

Writer/director Joel Souza
Writer-director Joel Souza attends the “Crown Vic” New York screening in 2019.
(Jim Spellman/Getty Images)

Asked at the time about the state of his gun-fighting and horse-riding skills, Baldwin said, “They’re always at the ready. I’m an actor of the old school. So if you read my resume — my motorcycle riding, my French, juggling, my horseback riding, my gunplay — is all right at my fingertips at all times.”

Production on “Rust” has been halted as authorities in New Mexico investigate the incident. In a statement on Twitter on Friday, Baldwin said he is “fully cooperating with the police investigation to address how this tragedy occurred.”

On his LinkedIn profile, Souza, who made his feature debut in 2010 with the Luke Perry adventure film “Hanna’s Gold,” says he was inspired to become a filmmaker after seeing “Raiders of the Lost Ark” at age 8.

In a 2019 interview, Souza spoke of his love of collaborating with actors and the satisfaction that comes with tackling unforeseen problems on the set, when “you make your plan and somebody kicks the chair out from under you and you still figure it out.”

Halyna Hutchins, the cinematographer killed on set of an Alec Baldwin movie, was going to be ‘very famous,’ a director who worked with her said.

Oct. 21, 2021