Production on Western Stopped After Cinatographer Killed During Rehearsal

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Movie Death, 2nd Ld

Production on Western Stopped After Cinatographer Killed During Rehearsal

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was remembered tonight at a candlelight vigil in Burbank as a creative visionary, whose life was tragically cut short as producers of the movie she was working on announced a temporary halt to filming.

The remembrance was held at 6 p.m. Sunday at the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 80 headquarters, 2520 W. Olive Ave., where mourners gathered to grieve and share stories.

Meanwhile, producers of “Rust” sent an email to crew members Sunday night announcing a temporary “wrap” at the New Mexico set, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“As we go through this crisis, we have made the decision to wrap the set at least until the investigations are complete,” the producers said.

“Although our hearts are broken, and it is hard to see beyond the horizon, this is, at the moment, a pause rather than an end. The spirit that brought us all to this special place remains,” the producers said.

“Our hearts are with all of you, as we all go through this tragic time and mourn the loss of our colleague and dear friend, Halyna Hutchins. We are family and we must stand beside each other as families do in difficult times,” the producers said.

Hutchins, who was 42, was killed when actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun on the New Mexico movie set on Thursday.

She is survived by her husband, Matthew, and son, Andros.

Speakers Sunday night included John Lindley, president of Local 600; Mike Miller, vice president of IATSE; and Stephen Lighthill, a director of photography who mentored Hutchins at the American Film Institute, among others, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The trade paper reported Lindley read a statement from Matthew Hutchins that said, “The outpouring sympathy from her many friends has been overwhelming and we thank everyone for their kind and generous sharing of her images and stories of her life. Please take time to remember her and we will all work together to honor her memory emulate her determination and creativity.”

In his own statement, Lindley said, the reason for the gathering was to try to make sense of tragedy that he called “senseless.” He encouraged those in attendance to “not let our grief turn to anger,” according to the report.

Miller said that Hutchins’ death should serve as a reminder that “our fight to protect the safety of ourselves and our coworkers is never over.”

Lighthill praised his mentee, noting her upbringing in a remote area of the former Soviet Union, then cautioned about the need to discuss exhaustion for below-the-line workers in the industry, saying “We need to start working normal days, so we can have normal family lives,” according to the report. He added that a dialogue needs to take place regarding functional guns on sets. “There is no place for weapons that can kill on a motion picture set.”

A friend from AFI described Hutchins as “luminous” and “a joyful soul who could strike up a friendship as easily as she could capture a beautiful image,” according to the report.“Halyna was everywhere. She loved to be around people. She wanted to be involved in everything. Wherever she went — whether it be a set, a party, a classroom, a living room — the world was brighter because of her energy.”

The Hollywood Reporter said that by all accounts, she was a “star on the rise in a male-dominated field and someone who deeply loved her craft.”

“Her life story is also singular. From Ukraine, Hutchins grew up on a Soviet military base in the Arctic Circle before going on to study international journalism at Kyiv National University in Ukraine. Per her personal website, she transitioned from university to working as an investigative journalist with British documentary productions in Europe. After moving to the U.S., Hutchins studied at UCLA and cut her teeth in production by working on a number of short films across a variety of disciplines on set including second unit, camera operator, gaffer and key grip before transitioning to cinematography.”

A vigil was also held Saturday night at the Albuquerque Civic Plaza in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Baldwin has expressed “shock and sadness” over the death. Hutchins died at University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque following the on- set mishap Thursday. The film’s director, Joel Souza, 48, was also injured, but was treated and released from the hospital.

“There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours,” Baldwin wrote on his Twitter page Friday morning.

“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.

“My heart is broken for her husband, their son and all who knew and loved Haylna.”

Baldwin, 63, was rehearsing a scene outside a church on the set of the western “Rust” south of Santa Fe, New Mexico, Thursday when he discharged the prop weapon. Sheriff’s officials were continuing to investigate what happened. Baldwin is a producer of the film.

In a search warrant released Sunday night, the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office said it would seize “all computer hardware equipment,” firearms, firearm components, used or unused ammunition (“whether it be live ammunition or prop ammunition”),and all cameras and film or memory cards, according to the Times. The paper also reported that the sheriff’s department said it had taken blood, saliva and skin and hair samples but did not disclose whose samples it was testing.

Late Friday, the Associated Press obtained an affidavit in support of a search warrant in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in which investigators stated that first assistant director Dave Halls picked up one of three guns from a mobile cart that had been prepared by the production’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez Reed.

Halls allegedly declared “cold gun,” meaning the weapon was not loaded, as he was handing it to Baldwin. The shooting occurred moments later.

The Times also reported that on the 9-1-1 call recording, obtained by the Albuquerque Journal, script supervisor Mamie Mitchell presumably refers to Halls when she says, “He’s supposed to check the guns. He’s responsible for what happens on the set.”

Souza released a statement to NBC Saturday, saying he was “gutted by the loss of my friend and colleague.”

“She was kind, vibrant, incredibly talented, fought for every inch and always pushed me to be better,” he said.

Local 44 of the IATSE, the union representing prop masters, sent its members an email — subsequently obtained by The Times and other media outlets – – saying “a live single round was accidentally fired on set” by Baldwin.

The death of Hutchins has again renewed concerns about on-set safety. The Times reported Friday that a half-dozen camera crew workers had walked off the “Rust” set hours before the fatal shooting, protesting working conditions, including long hours, safety conditions and issues getting their paychecks. The paper reported that Hutchins had been advocating for safer conditions for her team.

One person who was on the set told the Times there had been two misfires involving the prop gun on Saturday, and one the previous week.

The “Rust” production company issued a statement Thursday saying, “The entire cast and crew has been absolutely devastated by today’s tragedy, and we send our deepest condolences to Halyna’s family and loved ones.

“We have halted production on the film for an undetermined period of time and are fully cooperating with the Santa Fe Police Department’s investigation. We will be providing counseling services to everyone connected to the film as we work to process this awful event.”

In response to Hutchins’ death, the showrunner of the ABC police drama “The Rookie” announced that “live” weapons would no longer be used on the set, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Showrunner Alexi Hawley announced the change in a memo to the show’s staff, saying “all gunfire on set will be with airsoft guns with CG muzzle flashes added in post. There will be no more `live’ weapons on the show. The safety of our cast and crew is too important. Any risk is too much risk.”

Copyright 2021, City News Service, Inc.

CNS-10-24-2021 23:13

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