This ‘Rust’ scene led to the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins

A police vehicle near an old wooden church building in the desert
The Bonanza Creek Ranch on Friday, one day after an incident left one crew member dead and another injured in Santa Fe, N.M.
(Roberto E. Rosales / Albuquerque Journal)

As further details emerge about a lack of safety protocols that led to the tragic accidental firing of a prop gun on the New Mexico set of “Rust,” a portion of the script obtained by The Times depicts the scene in question.

Co-written by star Alec Baldwin and director Joel Souza, the script’s third act includes a scene featuring Lucas (Brady Noon) and Harland Rust (Baldwin) taking cover in a church after Rust has been gravely injured. Lucas leaves in search of help, but their enemies Wood (Jensen Ackles), Drum (Swen Temmel) and Miller (Travis Hammer) are hot on his tail.

Fenton Lang (Travis Fimmel) enters the church, shooting one person with a shot that knocks him off his feet. The second shot destroys the livery door. Lucas takes off running but meanwhile, inside the church, a shootout ensues that tears the building apart.


Wood and his men begin firing guns at Rust, shredding the church pew in front of him.

Miller scrambles, firing wildly. Wood and Drum fire their weapons as Rust hits the floor and rolls under pews. Out the other side, the men are staggering, their guns barking as they fire at each other. In the midst of gunfire, Rust forces Wood and Drum to take cover. Rust, moving backward in the middle of unrelenting fire, makes it out a door.

At least one of the camera operators complained last weekend to production managers about gun safety on the set.

Oct. 22, 2021

Late Sunday, the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office released court documents that described how the tragedy unfolded Thursday afternoon at the Bonanza Creek Ranch movie set. The directors and crew had just finished their lunch break. The film’s director, Joel Souza, told a sheriff’s detective that he wasn’t sure if anyone checked the guns for safety after the lunch break, according to the court documents.

Assistant director Dave Halls had handed Baldwin the weapon, telling him that it was a “cold gun,” meaning there was no ammunition or blanks inside, according to the court documents.

After lunch, Baldwin, Souza, cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and camera operator Reid Russell began rehearsing the scene in the old wooden church. At the time, the cameras were not rolling. Souza later told the detective that Baldwin was sitting in a pew “practicing a cross draw” when Souza heard “what sounded like a whip and then loud pop,” according to the documents.

Hutchins fell backwards, and her colleagues rushed to help. She was later airlifted to a hospital 50 miles away in Albuquerque, where doctors declared her dead.

About five hours before, , several members of the crew walked off set in protest of the long hours, long commutes and long waits for paychecks as well as a lack of safety protocols that resulted in three accidental discharges of prop guns.


“The safety of our cast and crew is the top priority of Rust Productions and everyone associated with the company,” a spokesperson for the production said in a statement. “Though we were not made aware of any official complaints concerning weapon or prop safety on set, we will be conducting an internal review of our procedures while production is shut down. We will continue to cooperate with the Santa Fe authorities in their investigation and offer mental health services to the cast and crew during this tragic time.”

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, one of American Cinematographer’s Rising Stars, was killed on the set of ‘Rust.’ Here’s everything we know so far.

May 24, 2024

Times staff writer Meg James contributed to this report.