The heartbroken family of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins who was shot dead by Alec Baldwin on a film set are demanding answers over the tragedy.
The 42-year-old’s parents Antoly and Olga are said to be ‘beside themselves with grief’ after learning of their daughter’s death from her husband Matthew.
She died shortly after being shot by Baldwin around 1.50pm Thursday at Bonanza Creek Ranch, near the city of Santa Fe in New Mexico, where they were filming the movie Rust.
A friend from her hometown of Kiev in Ukraine told The Sun: ‘The family is grieving but at the same time they are asking and they will want answers. If someone made a mistake then they will have to pay.
‘They just don’t understand how something dreadful like this could have happened when safety measures are supposed to be in place.
‘They are also frantically trying to secure documents to get to the United States. Her mother does not have the correct paperwork.’
Film studio bosses are also worried of a major lawsuit from the family.
Last night, Matthew, a lawyer, was comforting their eight-year-old son Andros at home in California.
Born in Ukraine and raised on a Soviet military base ‘surrounded by reindeer and nuclear submarines’, Halyna, had trained as a journalist and spent time in Europe working on British documentaries before making the move to Los Angeles, where she had established her career – and started a family. Halyna grew up on a Russian military base and her father is believed to be a former member of the Soviet navy.
The heartbroken family of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins (pictured) who was shot dead by Alec Baldwin on a film set are demanding answers over the tragedy
Halyna’s widower Matthew, a lawyer, was comforting their eight-year-old son Andros at home in California after the shocking tragedy
Alec Baldwin is pictured sobbing after shooting and killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of his upcoming movie Rust in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on Thursday
Baldwin and Hutchins (circled) are pictured together on the set of Rust, in an image that she uploaded to Instagram two days ago saying the crew of the film were supporting a strike by the IATSE union
Sister Sveltana who now lives in Indonesia said she was ‘very proud’ of Halyna and considered her a role model.
Earlier, husband Matthew told DailyMail.com: ‘I have spoken with Alec Baldwin and he is being very supportive.’
Police have disclosed few details about the shooting, saying only that a ‘projectile’ was fired by a ‘prop gun’ and they are investigating. A spokesman for Baldwin last night issued a statement saying only blanks were used.
Matthew told DailyMail.com he was reluctant to comment on specifics of the tragedy at this time, but was gathering his thoughts and preparing a statement.
‘At this time, I still have not had an opportunity to prepare a statement, which I am planning to release,’ he said.
‘My intent is to, you know, put into words some of the things about her life and the situation which are I think most important. I plan to post that onto my Twitter as soon as I have an opportunity later today.
‘There’s obviously a lot to deal with whenever there’s any death in the family,’ he continued. ‘We’re moving around to address all the things we need to do on the ground. There’s a lot of phone calls and messages.
‘And we greatly appreciate all the sympathy,’ he said. ‘It feels like people are going to move mountains.’
‘One thing we’re trying to do is to set up a memorial with AFI, the American Film institute,’ he said. ‘And that is in process, and there will be more details in the statement.’
In two tweets on Friday, Baldwin said: ‘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.
‘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 Halyna.’
According to witnesses on-set, Baldwin was stunned after firing the fatal round and asked: ‘Why was I handed a hot gun?’
Just two days before the tragedy, a smiling Halyna had posted a picture of her on set alongside Baldwin and surrounded by cast and crew members.
A photo taken in the aftermath showed a clearly distressed Baldwin bent double in anguish at the side of a parking lot, while in another picture he appeared distraught as he spoke on the phone.
Remembered by friends as a ‘kind’ and ‘loving soul’, Halyna lived in Venice Beach, California , with her husband Matthew, a lawyer, and their son Andros, pictured in an old Facebook photo
The 68 year-old actor was also snapped doubled-over in a parking lot, with his hands on his knees and his face seemingly crumpled with distress
Sun streaming from above, cinematographer Halyna Hutchins smiles into the camera as she films herself riding off into the New Mexico desert on horseback. This was the last Instagram post shared by the married mother-of-one before she was accidentally killed by actor Alec Baldwin when he fired a prop gun while filming a scene for upcoming Western, Rust, yesterday
‘Halyna loved him so much and enjoyed watching him grow into the handsome boy he is today,’ one friend wrote in a moving Instagram tribute. ‘I know she is looking after him and Matt in this horribly scary time.’
Social media photos capture a playfulness and sense of adventure, with Halloween costume parties, road trips with friends and days out exploring all lit up by Halyna’s smile.
She was also highly regarded by her peers and had been tipped as a ‘rising star’ by other cinematographers. ‘She was somebody who was absolutely dedicated to art and integrity,’ director, colleague and friend Adam Mortimer told GMB this morning. ‘I can tell already she was going to be a genius.’
Baldwin, 62, was filming a scene for new film Rust when the gun went off, fatally wounding Hutchins and leaving writer-director Joel Souza, 48, injured.
Hutchins was rushed to the University of New Mexico Hospital in an air ambulance but was pronounced dead a short time after.
Souza was taken by ambulance to the Christus St Vincent Regional Medical Center. He has since been released although his exact condition is unclear.
Meanwhile Baldwin was taken to a Santa Fe detectives’ office to be questioned about the shooting. He was not arrested and was later released without charge – though investigations are ongoing.
The Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office said the gun was fired during the middle of a scene that was either being filmed or rehearsed. It is unclear exactly how the gun was fired – whether by accident or on purpose. Detectives said the gun was ‘discharged’ and gave no further details.
Fatal accidents with prop guns are rare, but not unheard of. Brandon Lee, the 28-year-old son of martial arts star Bruce Lee, was shot and killed on the set of The Crow in 1993 after part of a dummy round got lodged in the barrel of the gun – and was then fired into Lee’s stomach when a second dummy round went off.
It is a tragedy that has shaken the film industry and led friends, colleagues and strangers to pay tribute to Hutchins, whose life was so shockingly cut short.
Alec Baldwin is seen on the set of Rust with fake blood earlier Thursday, hours before he shot and killed the film’s cinematographer. He shared this photo on Instagram with the caption ‘Back to in person at the office. Blimey…it’s exhausting.’ Filming was halted following the fatal incident at the Bonanza Creek Ranch movie set in Santa Fe
Halyna, 42, was shot dead in the incident on Thursday at the Bonanza Creek Ranch movie set in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where writer-director Joel Souza, 48, (pictured) was also injured
Police tape cordons of a small church used as a set for the movie, after a fatal accidental shooting at a Bonanza Creek Ranch movie set near Santa Fe on Thursday
Born in 1979, Halyna Hutchins was the daughter of military parents and grew up on a Soviet base ‘in the Arctic circle’. Recalling what it was like, she said they were ‘surrounded by reindeer and nuclear submarines’.
In a sign of her broad interests, Halyna, who was fluent in Russian and English, attended the National University of Kyiv, Ukraine’s most prestigious higher education institution, and graduated with a degree in International Journalism.
She used this as a ticket to work abroad and spent time as an investigative journalist, working in print and documentaries.
Richard Denton, producer behind Shakespeare Uncovered and many films in the former USSR, said today: ‘Halyna was the most wonderful, vital, lively and positive person to work with. She was friendly and enormously helpful.
‘She handled everything from translating interviews to making Leonid’s horse move in the right direction. She was completely unpretentious and incredibly professional.’
At some point Hutchins moved to the US, settling in California. She married husband Matthew, a lawyer who worked as an associate with US firm Kirkland & Ellis until 2017. His current role is not known.
In 2012 the couple welcomed their much wanted son, Andros.
‘I remember when Halyna and I would talk about how much she wanted to have a child so many years ago,’ wrote her friend, Stephanie, ‘and being at the hospital the day he was born and seeing her so filled with happiness.’
The couple both posted loved-up family photos on Facebook, treasured memories of family hikes and fun-filled days out.
Shortly after Andros’s birth Hutchins, who had begun working on short films, enrolled on a two-year course at the American Film Institute Conservatory to hone her skills as a cinematographer. A cinematographer, also known as a director of photography, is in charge of the film and lighting crews on set.
The AFI Conservatory is well regarded within Hollywood and provided a launchpad for the likes of directors Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan) and Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman).
Hutchins would later speak of the important role this experience played in developing her career, saying it made her ‘rethink’ who she was as an artist. She added: ‘One thing I learned is that cinematography is not something you do by yourself.
‘It’s a group [project]. You need to develop your own vision, but the key to a successful film is communication with your director and your team.’
Alongside her early cinematography work, Hutchins worked as a fashion photographer in order to learn how to ‘create the mood, the feeling’ in an image. A string of smaller projects came along, largely in short films.
In 2018 she was named as part of the inaugural class of the 21st Century Fox DP Lab, a networking cohort designed to expand opportunities for female cinematographers by connecting them with working professionals.
The following year, she was hailed as one of the ‘rising stars of cinematography’ in respected industry publication American Cinematographer.
‘Right now, I’m just really interested in finding fruitful collaborations,’ she said in an interview with the publication. She added, ‘I’m just hoping to find my Wong Kar-wai,’ in a nod to the renowned Hong Kong director.
Hutchins worked on two feature films. The firs, Darlin’, a horror directed by Pollyanna McIntosh (The Walking Dead), premiered at the SXSW film festival 2019 and played internationally at the Edinburgh Film Festival and London FrightFest.
The second, Blindfire, was a racially charged police drama written and directed by Mike Nell starring Brian Geraghty (The Hurt Locker, TNT’s The Alienist) and Sharon Leal (Supergirl, Instinct), which was winner of Best Crime Drama at the Houston International Film Festival, 2020.
Born in Ukraine and raised on a Soviet military base ‘surrounded by reindeer and submarines’, Halyna had recently wrapped on a project in Ireland and was tipped for a bright future in Hollywood when her life was so tragically cut short. Pictured, in 2018
Photos capture a sense of playfulness and adventure, with snaps of Halloween costume parties, road trips with friends and days out exploring all lit up by Halyna’s smile
Hutchins, pictured back centre as Harley Quinn, dressing up with friends at a costume party
Director Adam Egypt Mortimer, who worked with Hutchins on the 2020 superhero mystery-thriller Archenemy, said on GMB today: ‘She was somebody who was absolutely dedicated to art and integrity.
‘She was Ukrainian and had this incredible European art sensibility so that the more things on our set that would become challenging or difficult the more she would want to figure out how to transcend the limitations and turn it into art.
‘When I met her I knew after about five minutes of talking to her she would be an incredible partner to work with… I can tell already she was going to be a genius and she was so dedicated to do anything to make a movie seem immersive and truthful and that was her personality.’
Actor Joe Manganiello, who starred in Archenemy, called her ‘an incredible talent’ and ‘a great person’ on his Instagram account, adding that he was lucky to have Hutchins as director of photography on the film.
The entrance of Bonanza Creek Ranch in New Mexico, on the outskirts of Santa Fe, where the movie is being filmed
A security guard stands near the entrance to Bonanza Creek Ranch where Hollywood actor Alec Baldwin fatally shot a cinematographer and wounded a director when he discharged a prop gun on the movie set of the film ‘Rust’ in Santa Fe, New Mexico
The ranch on Friday morning was abandoned after filming was halted. The Santa Fe Sheriff’s Department continues to interview ‘witnesses’
Director Amy J. Berg, who also shared a Deadline article detailing the accidental shooting, penned: ‘What an absolute nightmare. We lost a rising star, female cinematographer Halyna Hutchins’.
Across Halyna’s Instagram and website reels are numerous stills and clips from short films and features she’s worked on, ranging in genre and aesthetics.
She was recently in Ireland where she enjoyed runs in Dublin and sight-seeing while on breaks from filming what is believed to be an upcoming period drama.
Her social media profiles also paint a clear image of a free-spirited, much-loved friend, many of whom have been paying tribute.
As her friend Stephanie said: ‘I don’t even have words, I have known Halyna for so many years and to find out that she is dead is beyond words I can even express. She had such a kind-loving soul…
‘I can’t even believe I am saying ‘had’ it just doesn’t make any sense… I just can’t believe this is happening….Halyna was so full of life and way too young to die.’
Hutchins’ devastated friends were too distraught to talk, but Ariel Vida, a production designer who worked with the director of photography on 2020 film Archenemy confirmed her death to DailyMail.com, tearfully adding: ‘I’m sorry, I can’t talk about this right now.’
No criminal charges have been filed, but police said that a criminal investigation into the incident is currently active to determine the circumstances of Hutchins’ death.
‘According to investigators, it appears that the scene being filmed involved the use of a prop firearm when it was discharged,’ sheriff’s spokesman Juan Rios said in a statement. ‘Detectives are investigating how and what type of projectile was discharged.’
‘The incident remains an active investigation. As more information becomes available, updates will be provided,’ he added.
Filming for Rust was set to continue through early November, according to a news release from the New Mexico Film Office, but production has now been halted on the film.