Alec Baldwin talks ‘Rust’ shooting with Chris Cuomo
(NewsNation) — “Every single person” on the “Rust” movie set knows what happened the day cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was shot, actor Alec Baldwin said in an interview with incoming NewsNation host Chris Cuomo on his podcast.
Speaking on Cuomo’s podcast “The Chris Cuomo Project,” Baldwin said, “The people who are talking the loudest about what happens or speculating about what happened were not on the set of the film.”
“The LA Times, The Hollywood Reporter, they are talking on and on about this,” he said. “The thing that they have in common was no one was there.”
The actor fatally shot Hutchins on Oct. 21 while filming for the movie “Rust.” Director Joel Souza was also wounded when the Colt .45-caliber revolver went off.
Baldwin said in an ABC interview in December that he never pulled the trigger, but an FBI report released this week said otherwise. It concluded that the gun could not have been fired without pulling the trigger.
Baldwin’s lawyer, in a statement to NPR, called the FBI’s findings “misconstrued” and said the gun was in “poor condition.”
Speaking to Cuomo, Baldwin broke down what “fanning a gun” can look like and how that may have contributed to what happened.
“In old Western movies, you would see someone fan the hammer of the gun,” Baldwin said.
If the hammer didn’t lock, and someone pulled it back far enough, it would fire the bullet without someone having to pull the trigger, Baldwin explained.
“The man who is the principal safety officer of the set of the film declared the gun was safe when he handed it to me,” Baldwin said. “The man who was the principal safety officer of the film declared in front of the entire assemblage, ‘This is a cold gun.’ Now, why did he say that if he didn’t know and hadn’t checked? The point is we were told everything was cool and you can relax and we are working with a gun that is safe to rehearse with.”
For Baldwin, there is only one question to ask now: “Who put a live round in the gun?”
“What is likely is that someone who was responsible for one situation or one line of responsibility and the other person — a tandem of the two people — one of them or both were negligent,” Baldwin said.
New Mexico’s Office of the Medical Investigator ruled the shooting an accident after completing an autopsy and review of law enforcement reports. Prosecutors have not yet made a decision about any charges, and police are waiting to receive data from Baldwin’s cellphone before completing the investigation.
Baldwin’s legal team suggested the medical investigator’s report was further proof that the shooting was “a tragic accident” and that he should not face criminal charges.
“This is the third time the New Mexico authorities have found that Alec Baldwin had no authority or knowledge of the allegedly unsafe conditions on the set, that he was told by the person in charge of safety on the set that the gun was ‘cold,’ and believed the gun was safe,” attorney Luke Nikas said in a statement.
Multiple agencies launched investigations into the shooting, and in April, New Mexico workplace safety regulators fined the production company more than $136,000 and outlined a litany of safety failures that took place on the set. There were two misfires on set prior to the fatal shooting, according to the report.
In all his years making movies, Baldwin said he’s never before had “one problem” with these kinds of props.
“Why would anybody believe that I worked in this business for 40 years and that day I decided to play with a gun?” he asked. “That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.”
Despite this, Baldwin said there are people who have seized on the opportunity to use the shooting against him.
“We’ve come down to a point where it doesn’t matter what you do. This is something that was a delight to the people who hate my guts politically,” he said, pointing out how former President Donald Trump claimed that Baldwin “may have had something to do with” the shooting. Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., even made T-shirts mocking the incident that were sold on his website.
“It doesn’t matter what you do, the ones who are out to get you are out to get you,” Baldwin said.
Reflecting on this “cancel culture,” Baldwin attributed it to social media and the current political climate, especially the “disconnect” between politicians and the average person.
People don’t think politicians “who are bought and owned by the people who put them in office” will listen to them or pass laws in their interest, Baldwin said.
So instead, he said the average person uses “cancel culture, ending your career, saying something that will have some impact” to make their voices heard.
Still, Baldwin, on Cuomo’s podcast, insisted: “I’m not the real victim here.”
“Things for me are going to get better,” he said. “Things for me are going to get cleared up, I’m 1000% confident of that. Nothing’s going to bring this woman back. She died. She has a little boy. This is the real tragedy.”
Hutchins’ shooting death was a reminder of the dangers that can be present on film sets, which have resulted in deaths in the past. Most notably, actor Brandon Lee died in 1993 after he was shot on the set of “The Crow” when a makeshift bullet was mistakenly left in a gun.
This interview was edited for clarity.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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