Alec Baldwin breaks silence on Rust shooting: ‘She was my friend’

In his first public comments since accidentally fatally shooting the cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of a film, Rust, in New Mexico earlier this month, Alec Baldwin said on Saturday: “She was my friend.”

The actor spoke to a reporter from BackGrid, a “global celebrity news agency”, in Vermont, where he was photographed having lunch with his wife.

“There are incidental accidents on film sets from time to time, but nothing like this,” Baldwin said. “This is a one-in-a-trillion episode, a one-in-a-trillion event.”

Baldwin’s wife, Hilaria, used her phone to film the remarks. Baldwin said he he had been “ordered” by the sheriff’s department in Santa Fe not to discuss the case.

“A woman died,” he said. “She was my friend, she was my friend. When I arrived in Sante Fe to start shooting, I took her to dinner.”

The shot that killed Hutchins also wounded the director of the film, Joel Souza.

Baldwin said he was “in constant contact” with Hutchins’ husband and was “very worried” about the family.

“We were a very, very well-oiled crew shooting a film together when this horrible event happened,” he said.

Investigators said this week there was “some complacency” in how weapons were handled on the set of Rust, but it was too soon to determine if charges would be filed.

The Santa Fe county sheriff, Adan Mendoza, noted that 500 rounds of ammunition – a mix of blanks, dummy rounds and suspected live rounds – were found.

“Obviously I think the industry has had a record recently of being safe,” Mendoza told reporters. “I think there was some complacency on this set, and I think there are some safety issues that need to be addressed by the industry and possibly by the state of New Mexico.”

Baldwin, who was a producer on the film, was told the gun he handled was safe. Authorities have confirmed there is no footage of the shooting, which happened during a rehearsal.

On Saturday, Baldwin said he would welcome discussion about eliminating guns from film productions.

“Ongoing effort to limit the use of firearms on a set is something I’m extremely interested in,” he said.

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