Rust actor and co-producer Alec Baldwin provided his perspectives on the the on-set shooting during an emotional interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in an exclusive special Thursday evening.

Baldwin was holding the F.Lli Pietta long Colt revolver that might have accidentally discharged on a set near Santa Fe, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza.

During his nearly hourlong account of the events of Oct. 21, he shared new details regarding the set’s production and the shooting, and he suggested he might leave the film industry.

Foremost, Baldwin said he didn’t pull the trigger.

“I’m handed a gun and someone presented it and said, ‘This is a cold gun,’ ” he told Stephanopoulos.

Baldwin said they were rehearsing a scene in which he would cross-draw his weapon. Hutchins was instructing Baldwin where to point the gun, the actor said.

“I’m holding the gun where she told me to hold it, which ended up being aimed right below her armpit [which] was what I was told,” Baldwin said.

The gun was not meant to be fired in that scene, he said, adding that Hutchins instructed him to cock back the hammer.

Baldwin said he did not cock the hammer fully back. He emphasized that Hutchins was instructing him where to point the gun, and that he would never point a gun at anyone and pull the trigger.

“I let go of the hammer of the gun, and the gun went off.”

At first, he thought maybe Hutchins had fainted, he said. Others on set guessed she might have had a heart attack.

“The idea that someone put a live bullet in the gun was not even in reality,” Baldwin said.

He wouldn’t learn until the end of his first interview with the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office a few hours later that Souza and Hutchins had been hit by a .45-caliber bullet, and Hutchins had died of her injuries.

Later in the interview, Baldwin said he hopes sheriff’s investigators can find the answer to a key question: How did numerous live rounds end up on set?

Juan Ríos, spokesman for the sheriff’s office, would not discuss details of what Baldwin told investigators and whether what he said in the interview matched his initial statements. He said the department considers Baldwin’s question an integral part of the investigation.

“That is the question,” Ríos said. “How did live rounds end up there? Why did they need them?”

When asked about a theory posited by set armorer Hannah Gutierrez’s attorney Jason Bowles that the set might have been sabotaged, Baldwin said he disagreed.

“When he made those claims, I thought, ‘That’s a big swing,’ ” he said.

Bowles could not be reached for comment.



Prior to the shooting, Baldwin said the reports of a set full of strife were inaccurate.

He was never notified of any serious safety issues on set, Baldwin said. There had been two accidental discharges earlier, he said, but those involved blank rounds — ammunition that has primer and powder, but no projectiles.

He also said he received a 90-minute safety training session from Gutierrez on Oct. 12 and had no red flags about her ability to perform as set armorer.

“I assumed because she was there and she was hired, that she was up for the job,” he said.

Baldwin also told his interviewer that his co-producer role on Rust primarily involved casting and scripting, not budgeting.

Throughout the interview, Baldwin became emotional as he recounted Hutchins.

“She was someone who was loved by everyone who worked with and liked by everyone who worked with and admired by everybody who worked with her,” Baldwin said.

Baldwin’s recounting of the events is consistent with what assistant director David Halls told his attorney, Lisa Torraco.

“He honestly believes it was a misfire, if that’s the right term,” she said in an interview Wednesday.

Torraco could not be reached for comment Thursday night.

Torraco said Wednesday that Halls also believed that the accidental discharges on set prior to the shooting only involved blank rounds.

William Waggoner, attorney for prop master Sarah Zachry, who also helped prepare other guns for the film, said in an interview after the special aired that Baldwin’s statements were not surprising.

“It was the consistent with the facts we’ve known so far,” he said. “I wouldn’t agree with every single thing he has come up with, but for the most part I thought it was courageous of him to do this now, and I think he made some really solid points.”

Rust had been Baldwin’s first film with Hutchins, but he said she had a “spark” and professionalism to her that made her amazing to work with.

While emphasizing he was not the victim, Baldwin told Stephanopoulos he will never work on a film with guns again and might never work in the movie industry again.

His days since the incident have been filled with sleepless nights and nightmares of guns going off, Baldwin said.

He also acknowledged it’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to him.

“I feel that, that, that someone is responsible for what happened, and I can’t say who that is, but I know it’s not me,” Baldwin said. “I mean honestly, if I felt that I was responsible, I might’ve killed myself … and I don’t say that lightly.”

(28) comments

John Bryson

I have been scratching my head over Baldwin's handling of this. Bad enough with the tweets and photo-ops for the paparazzi, but that ABC interview takes the cake.

Start with the claim of triggerless firing. The Pietta replica has two mechanisms that make his story all but impossible. If his gun has a transfer bar (it comes with or without one), it's game over because you cannot "hammer fire" that version unless you hold the trigger down and "feather" the hammer. But he said he never pulled the trigger, and his description is inconsistent with "feathering" anyway.

If there is no transfer bar, the quarter- and half-co*k hammer positions would stop the hammer before the firing pin hits the cartridge primer. The gun can fire if dropped, but it wasn't dropped. This leaves only one realistic alternative: He fully co*ked the gun and pulled the trigger, and either doesn't remember doing it or doesn't want to remember. An unrealistic alternative is that the half-co*ked detent was sheared off. However, if that were the case, the gun would be ridiculously awkward to load, making the defect impossible to miss.

So Baldwin lied, which is what has me shaking my head. He had to know that the FBI crime lab would inspect the gun and catch the lie, so why did he tell it -- on national TV no less? That calls for speculation, and mine is that Baldwin is one of those classic Hollywood egomaniacs who thinks he can get away with anything, no matter how outrageous. Hey, he's accumulated a lifetime's worth of obnoxious behavior, unpunished, so why not this time?

And that, my friends, tosses the ball back to Santa Fe's district attorney. New Mexico is such a mixed bag: beautiful beyond words, but one of the poorest, most violent, and corrupt states. Everyone's watching to see how much self-respect, honesty, and integrity the elected officials have. Alec Baldwin shot a woman to death and wounded a man, on a disorganized, undisciplined clown show of a movie production. He deserves to go to prison for manslaughter and to be bankrupted in civil court.

Santa Fe, this is a test. What will you do?

LEE HAI

But, but, but doesn't America just love all those slickly done ulta violent, muder and mayham movies that Hollywood programs everyone with?

And now all the blamers and whiners with this terrible accident which took place in real life....What ever happened to compassion, for the woman who was shot, RIP, and for Baldwin who has to live with this accident for the rest of his life.....

Annie Flemming

Day before yesterday, 12-1-21, I happened to be listening to one of the talk news radio stations out of ABQ. I ( believe it was KKOB 96.3). A fellow called in discussing his experience as a gun owner of 3-4 guns of this particular firearm/model. He conveyed how sensitive the gun is, something regards having the hammer back and something w/ the pin...that simply a brush of something near the trigger could set it off.

(FYI: same radio station said they would be discussing more 12-3 post the Baldwin interview of 12-2.

Frank Grimes

The gun has a 2.5 to 2.8 pound trigger pull. There is also a trigger guard on them so you aren't going to simply have it go off by itself. Their are only two plausible reasons the gun fired, 1)Baldwin pulled the trigger, or 2) Baldwin was already pulling the trigger back and then pulled the hammer back. If you pull the hammer back while holding the trigger back then the hammer will fall and fire the round when you let go of the hammer.

The other fact is the gun requires you to pull the hammer back. Baldwin clearly did that because without the hammer being pulled back you could squeeze the trigger all day long and it wouldn't do anything.

At the end of the day Baldwin should be put on trial for involuntary manslaughter, and then if he wants to get on the witness stand and lie like a dog he can, but he would be cross examined by someone that wasn't his golfing buddy asking him questions he was provided in advance and coached on with his lawyer. One would then hope the jury would do the right thing and find him guilty.

The bottom line that everyone seems to be forgetting is that under New Mexico law it is illegal to point a gun at someone unless you are law enforcement or are doing so in self defense. The fact that when the gun fired the bullet hit the woman it irrefutable evidence that Baldwin was breaking that law. Given he was playing around with a REAL gun when it happened it is a clear cut case of negligence which means it is a easy win for involuntary manslaughter. I simply wonder why the people of Santa Fe aren't sending letters to the New Mexico Bar to the prosecutor law license pulled he is failing miserably which raises the question incompetence or worse.

John Bryson

Once a revolver is co*ked, it takes very little trigger pressure to fire. But, speaking as someone who owns a bunch of revolvers including two of the type Baldwin shot, it overstates the case to say that "a brush of something near the trigger could set it off."

Rather than go into all the possible permutations, focus on what happened on the Rust set. By all accounts, Baldwin was not brushed or jostled. He pulled the hammer back, and in that specific situation with that specific gun he had to pull the trigger to shoot it. The ONLY way his story could be true is if the gun lacked a working transfer bar safety AND its "stops" were inoperable.

It's highly unlikely that this was the case. That revolver is being inspected by the FBI's crime lab right now. If the highly unlikely case is true, at the very least the armorer could not have failed to know that the gun was defective. The highly unlikely case would've made it ridiculously laborious to load, and would've revealed it as defective to whoever loaded it. Even an incompetent armorer could NEVER have failed to notice, and then to replace the gun.

Lyndell Vallner

I am beginning to believe the account that he did not pull the trigger but instead released the hammer and that caused the live round to be ejected. That does not happen with every gun but it can for some.

It does prove though that most actors do not know all that much about using guns in the first place. Tom Selleck would know how to handle and check for safety... when using both real and prop guns.

Mike Johnson

True, and Clint Eastwood would know very well.....https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Xjr2hnOHiM

Frank Grimes

If you believe he didn't pull the trigger I've got some land in the swamp for sale.

First problem is you know he was coached by his lawyer on what to say. He also knows that he is very likely to be facing a jury trial for involuntary manslaughter, the lawyer knows it and this faked interview was the only way Baldwin could give his side and hope that potential jurors would be influenced by this nonsense without Baldwin having to take the stand in open court where he could be cross examined.

Mike Johnson

It is quite possible to fire an old Western style single action revolver without pulling the trigger. He states he pulled back the hammer and released it, that will fire the round in the chamber in many of these kind of guns.

Chris Mechels

Baldwin is an ACTOR, who doesn't wish to be prosecuted, so of course he ACTS... This has nothing to do with the truth, he's simply creating an alternative reality. Don't buy into his movie!! A larger question concerns the lack of any OSHA concerns for the movie industry's safety practices, in NM and other states. This is not the first serious safety violation on a movie set, and won't be the last. Some adult oversight is called for... or is a lack of oversight part of the NM "package" offered to the industry? I've been looking into the Economic Development Department recently, for their NM Rules Act violations, and I find them incredibly mismanaged, and secretive, about things like their Job Training program, which seems a simple incentive, NOT a job training program at all. They are intent on giving away our money, and claiming victory, all without any oversight. Much worse under MLG, who is much into such giveaways. Larceny is the name of their game. A serious investigation would have some EDD folks in prison, but nobody cares.

Andrew Lucero

For Baldwin to deny any sort of responsibility is not only ridiculous, it’s laughable. As a “Producer” of the film, he is 100% responsible for EVERYTHING that happens on the set. The buck stops with him… Both as a Producer and as an Actor he knowingly and willingly ignored the most basic of firearm safety protocols. Do I believe that he intentionally killed someone? Absolutely not. But the bottom line is, his gross negligence makes him entirely responsible for this tragedy. And at the very least, 100% liable for it.

Angel Ortiz

I am astonished at some of the posts surrounding this story. We've had other deaths as a result of shootings, and no one seemed to really care about those incidents. At the end of the day I think it's really tragic how we prioritize events in our community.

Frank Grimes

What is truly sick is that you have people in New Mexico right now that are in prison or went to prison because they were playing with a loaded gun they thought was unloaded and killed someone with it. It isn't an uncommon thing and happens every year in this country. You also know that in every other case they don't say well lets see if someone else is to blame for the gun not being unloaded. Those other people were arrested within days of the event with involuntary manslaughter charges. Baldwin has already been provided special treatment, either because he is a liberal or because the politicians in New Mexico are coward afraid of upsetting the film industry and putting pressure on the prosecutor to refrain from charging him. Baldwin should be treated like anyone else would be - and that means arrested and put on trial.

John Bryson

We are talking about THIS shooting. Are you implying that we should ignore it?

paul pacheco

Karma caught up with him! Plus, he's a sick man.....and a coward! She's dead...

Emily Hartigan

It actually sounds like a wildly unlikely tragic accident.

If she was working with him to get the scene right, mean-spirited folks might say SHE should have checked the chambers (except seeing the back of the bullet wouldn't have told her the round was live).

Actors and cinematographers should not be the final check.

Mike Johnson

Well finally, with the full transcript available of what he said, instead of misleading, out of context sound bites, which the press loves, we can see what really happened.

Kirk Holmes

Pretty much confirms the actor is a “not-so-good” human being. I had felt bad for him, but not any longer.

Stefanie Beninato

Exactly what confirmed for you that Baldwin is not so good a human being. He looked like he was vomiting in the sheriff's parking lot on the day of the death. And he looks like he has been tormented by his part in this situation. He does not look like someone who is trying to hide or put the blame randomly on someone else. He is waiting for the facts and giving more details of what happened.

Yvonne Babcock

Perfect, I agree with you, Stephanie!

Joseph Tafoya

What you mistakenly take for grief is actually the shock of having taken someone's life, but now that he has lawyer-ed up it's a game of “CYA”.

John Bryson

I watched the ABC interview twice. Aside from the technical side (see my other comments for that), I was struck by how the only authentic tearing up was when he talked about performing alongside Meryl Streep. The rest of his emotion came across as contrived, and not very well contrived.

The facts will be forthcoming from the FBI crime lab, and I firmly believe that the facts will bury him. As I stated in a different comment, if that report shows what I expect it to show, the Santa Fe DA had better put Alec Baldwin on trial for involuntary manslaughter.

Bridgett May

He is also a victim here.

John Bryson

"Victim" of his own arrogance.

John Bryson

Same here. I was initially inclined to blame the armorer and the assistant director, but when Baldwin concocted that story about firing it without pulling the trigger my position changed. To me, that lie shows a guilty conscience. I started out thinking that this was a civil case and not criminal liability for Baldwin. Not now.

Michael Kiley

Read or listen to Stewart Woods' novel The Money Shot. The Rust gunshot live ammunition dead actor is fact. The fact came from a film fiction production. The Stewart Woods book is fiction, but tells a similar story, of Teddy Fay, a CIA op, working as a stunt man, who is hit by a live round (wearing Kevlar so not killed) during filming. Several groups had motive, and the means and opportunity, to hurt Alec Baldwin. Now a jimmied gun is added to the list of means.

Frank Grimes

You should put on the aluminum hat. This was no conspiracy, this was Baldwin breaking the laws of New Mexico that resulted in a death. New Mexico law is clear on not pointing a gun at someone, it is also standard movie practice to NEVER point a gun at someone with only a rare exception when it is a shot that has both the person with the gun and the one they are supposed to be pointing at in the same frame... but never do you point a gun at someone off camera, if you point at a camera for the gun pointing at the audience shot their is supposed to be a clear barrier between the gun and camera and the camera operator is not supposed to be within the line of fire. The fact that she was hit from the gun Baldwin was holding is clear and convincing evidence the ignored both the New Mexico law and the standard filming rules.

John Bryson

A "jimmied gun" is incredibly far-fetched, because the "jimmying" would have rendered it obviously, visibly defective to whoever loaded it. If by "jimmying" you mean that someone slipped a standard round into the gun, Baldwin's false story renders that speculation irrelevant even if it happened. I'd also point out that the sheriff's office has said that there's no evidence of sabotage.

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