Alec Baldwin claims that he did not pull the trigger on the pistol that murdered cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of Rust in October.
When the gun Baldwin was holding went off during rehearsals for the western on a ranch outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico, Hutchins, 42, was killed, and director Joel Souza, 48, was injured – a rare filming fatality that shocked Hollywood and forced a reckoning on the use of weapons on set and cutting corners on production safety.
George Stephanopoulos is featured in a preview for Baldwin’s first ABC interview after the tragedy, asking the actor to clarify that the trigger wasn’t pulled since it wasn’t in the script. “Well, the trigger wasn’t pulled,” says the narrator.
Baldwin claims, “I didn’t pull the trigger.” “So you never pulled the trigger?” Stephanopoulos verifies, to which Baldwin responds, “No, no, no, no.” I’d never aim a gun at someone and pull the trigger. Never.”
In his appearance on Good Morning America on Wednesday morning, Stephanopoulos called the 80-minute interview as “raw” and “intense.”
Baldwin, 63, was characterized by the writer as “devastated” yet “very candid” and “forthcoming.” The actor “answered every question” and spoke about Hutchins, meeting her family, and his version of events on set that day.
“I have to tell you, over the course of that hour and twenty minutes we sat down yesterday, I was surprised in many places,” Stephanopoulos remarked.
“In the last 20 years at ABC, I’ve done thousands of interviews,” he remarked. “This was the most intense experience I’ve ever had.”
The Sante Fe County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident, with a particular emphasis on how live ammunition, which are prohibited on set, ended themselves in Baldwin’s pistol.
Baldwin, according to sources, thought the pistol was empty. Assistant director Dave Halls reportedly gave him the pistol and said “cold gun” as he handed it over.
Hannah Gutierrez Reed, a 24-year-old head armorer balancing her second feature film role handling weapons with her employment as a crucial props assistant, was in charge of weapons on set, including the pistol delivered to Hall.
Baldwin claimed he had “no idea” how a live bullet got into the pistol, which was meant to be loaded with blanks or fake rounds.
Baldwin also said categorically to Stephanopoulos that the unintentional shooting was the worst thing that had ever happened to him: “Yep… yeah, because I think back and I think of ‘what could I have done?'”
Alec Baldwin Unscripted will premiere on ABC in the United States on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET, and will be accessible on Hulu afterwards.
Thanks to Adrian Horton at The Guardian whose reporting provided the original basis for this story.