'Rust' Producers Give Update on How Long Production Will Be Shut Down

Production on the Western film Rust will be halted at least through the investigation by the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office, which is currently attempting to determine how Alec Baldwin came to discharge a firearm with live ammunition. In a letter to cast and crew Sunday night following the accidental shooting, which left cinematographer Halyna Hutchins dead, the production team announced that they "have made the decision to wrap the set at least until the investigations are complete." Obtained by The Wrap, the statement added that "although our hearts are broken, and it is hard to see beyond the horizon, this is, at the moment, a pause rather than an end. The spirit that brought us all to this special place remains."

The sheriff's office is currently piecing together the moments that led up to the fatal shooting. An affidavit released over the weekend revealed that amid their investigation, authorities have obtained a search warrant to seize all camera footage of this incident, with Detective Joel Cano stating in the documents, "affiant is aware people involved in the commission of crime(s) often attempt to conceal, tamper with and/or dispose of evidence," according to Deadline. Rust's production team said that they are continuing to cooperate with investigation and are also "conducting an internal review of safety protocols."

Production on the film had been halted "for an undetermined period," immediately following the shooting, which occurred during a break as Baldwin was "practicing a quick draw," according to an affidavit. An assistant director handed Baldwin one of a trio of guns previously placed on a cart by the film's armorer. The assistant director said "cold gun," indicating that the firearm was not loaded with live rounds. When Baldwin drew the gun and pulled the trigger, however, it fired a live round, striking both Hutchins and director Joel Souza, who told sheriff's investigators he was bleeding from his shoulder and could see blood on Hutchins, who "was "complaining about her stomach and grabbing her midsection."

"Our hearts are with all of you, as we all go through this tragic time and mourn the loss of our colleague and dear friend, Halyna Hutchins. We are family and we must stand beside each other as families do in difficult times," producer's continued in their email. "We remain in close touch with Halyna's family and commend the strength they show in the face of unspeakable tragedy. It is beyond an inspiration."


The production team, which noted that Souza is "recovering," also shared that they will make a donation to the Halyna Hutchins Scholarship Fund. The American Film Institute (AFI) set up the scholarship fund for women cinematographers following Hutchins' Thursday death, with director and writer Olia Oparina stating that the fund "aims to help female cinematographers build sustainable careers in the movie business."