‘Rust’ director Joel Souza says he’s ‘gutted’ by the shooting death of Halyna Hutchins

Joel Souza smiles in a file photo.
“Rust” director Joel Souza broke his silence after death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
(Jim Spellman / Getty Images)

“Rust” director Joel Souza has broken his silence after the cinematographer on his film was shot and killed Thursday by a prop gun fired by actor and producer Alec Baldwin.

“I am gutted by the loss of my friend and colleague, Halyna,” Souza said in statement Saturday to Deadline. “She was kind, vibrant, incredibly talented, fought for every inch, and always pushed me to be better.”

Halyna Hutchins, the cinematographer, died during production of “Rust” in Santa Fe. The Associated Press, citing court records, reported that the assistant director handed Baldwin the weapon and told him it was safe to use. The assistant director did not know the prop gun was loaded with live rounds, according to a search warrant filed in a Santa Fe County court.


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“I am humbled and grateful by the outpouring of affection we have received from our filmmaking community, the people of Santa Fe, and the hundreds of strangers who have reached out,” Souza said. “It will surely aid in my recovery. “

Souza, 48, was injured in the shooting and taken to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center in Santa Fe. He was released from the hospital on Friday.

Late Friday, Matt Hutchins, Halyna’s husband, shared a statement commemorating his wife.

“Halyna inspired us all with her passion and vision, and her legacy is too meaningful to encapsulate in words,” he said on Twitter. “Our loss is enormous, and we ask that the media please respect my family’s privacy as we process our grief. We thank everyone for sharing images and stories of her life.”

In a series of tweets Friday, Baldwin said he had “no words to convey my shock and sadness.”

“I’m fully cooperating with the police investigation to address how this tragedy occurred and I am in touch with her husband, offering my support to him and his family,” he added. “My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna.”


Set in 1880s Kansas, ”Rust” tells the story of a teenager who goes on the run with his outlaw grandfather (played by Baldwin) after being sentenced to death for the accidental killing of a local rancher.

The term ‘prop gun’ includes nonfunctioning guns and cap guns, but also real guns firing blank cartridges, which can pack a punch — and be fatal.

Oct. 22, 2021