In a set, the cinematographer is the one who lends his eyes to the filmmaker. To Halyna Hutchins, the cinematographer of Rust, this endeavor has cost him his life. According to the police investigation, it was a shot from a blank gun that the actor and also producer of the film, Alec Baldwin, used for filming at that time, which killed this 42-year-old Ukrainian and also wounded the man. director Joel Souza. The accident took place at the Bonanza Creek Ranch, in Santa Fe (USA), the usual location for many westerns —from Laramie’s man (1955) a Cowboys & Aliens (2011) the The 3:10 train (2007) -, like the one they were shooting at that time. The death of this “tireless dreamer”, as she described herself on social media, has been greeted with dismay in an industry where, despite the years since similar accidents, such as the one that skewed the life of Brandon Lee in 1993 , these incidents continue to occur. And also with reminders of the work of one of the few female cinematographers in a largely male-dominated industry sector.
Hutchins’ career has been brief, although she was described in 2019 in the magazine American Cinematographer like a new star in the field of cinematography. Already at that time Halyna was laughing at her preparation, the result of nothingness in which she grew up in a Soviet military base in the Arctic Circle “surrounded by reindeer and nuclear submarines,” according to her website.
Without much else to do, this “adrenaline lover”, in her words, got hold of a camera and shot her own experiences in extreme sports such as skydiving or caving. Her studies in England diverted her to international journalism, but that was only a detour to meet the camera again, shooting documentaries in Eastern Europe. That is where his desire to seek the narrative and the light of his characters arose. His dream was to find his Wong Kar-wai, a director he admired and with whom he aspired to work. To do this, already in the United States, he did everything to be on set. Production assistant, part of the team of electricians, even worked in fashion photography in order to learn while working his way between short film and short film.
Many of those she met on this journey are those who now remember her in networks portraying a tireless woman wanting to take over the world. “I will always remember the day we met, our adventures together and the last time I saw you, having a mezcal,” recalls Mexican filmmaker Rodrigo Iturralde on his Facebook page. “I just hope that all this is not true and that one day we will shoot a movie in Kamchatka”, still wishes who knew her during the filming of the pilot of The Providers. Haly, as her friends called her, has also remained with the nickname of “photography rock star”, as her friend and colleague Elle Schneider recalls, always wearing her ragged jeans, short hair, black leather jacket, in look for the best angle.
“It’s DEVASTATING,” wrote casting director Sidra Smith who worked with Hutchins on the Vanessa Williams television series in capital letters. A Luv Tale. They had spoken just before Halyna started filming for Rust. “I was so happy and so was I. The work is very difficult for women who are dedicated to cinematography and this was a GREAT opportunity, “he added of the time he spent with this married professional with a son.
As well as those he worked with, like Joe Manganiello, who starred in the film Archenemy where Hutchings was the director of photography and who also added to the messages of regret, there are many more who remember a promising career. Among them is the colleague by profession and the first woman to be nominated for the Oscar in the category of best photography, Rachel Morrison. “I am devastated. Especially because I have no doubt that this tragedy could have been avoided “, he stated on his Instagram page before adding:” There is no reason to use blank weapons when it costs nothing to add the shot in post[producción]”.
Hutchins’ death is being investigated as an accident and no charges have been filed at this time. The Silence of Baldwin, Oscar nominee for The Cooler and with a long career in Hollywood, he was broken on Friday afternoon when in a couple of messages on Twitter he expressed his “shock and sadness ”at this tragic accident and added that he was cooperating with the police in the investigation and in close contact with the family of the deceased.
The actor’s friend, the interpreter Debra Messing, also asked on Twitter for respect for the protagonist of 30 Rock in the midst of this pain for the deceased. “They gave him a gun that he used at the scene. Then something catastrophic happened, “he said. The calls to cease the use of weapons in filming are as numerous as the reminders of Halyna, her work and her person. Especially when leaked information from an internal email from the Hollywood workers union begins to be published in some media stating that the death could have been due to the accidental discharge of live ammunition.