“According to investigators it appears that the scene being filmed involved the use of a prop firearm when it was discharged,” the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement. “Detectives are investigating how and what type of projectile was discharged.”
Following the tragic news, a Change.org petition was created overnight calling on Hollywood production companies to end the use of real guns on sets. The petition was started by Bandar Albuliwi, a director who graduated from the American Film Institute Conservatory — the same school Halyna Hutchins attended.
“Halyna was a talented cinematographer and a good friend whose life was taken tragically due to a real firearm being used on set. We need to make sure this never happens again. There is no excuse for something like this to happen in the 21st century,” Bandar said in a press release. “Real guns are no longer needed on film production sets. Change needs to happen before additional talented lives are lost.”
Hutchins, who before her death was vocal in her support for a strike over poor working conditions on film sets, was beloved by the film community. Since the news of her death, people have come out to voice their admiration and love for an artist who was gone too soon.
That includes the family of Brandon Lee, who was killed after being shot with a prop gun that was believed to be loaded with dummy bullets on the production of 1994’s The Crow. “Our hearts go out to the family of Halyna Hutchins and to Joel Souza and all involved in the incident on Rust.” Shannon Lee tweeted from her brother’s official Twitter account. “No one should ever be killed by a gun on a film set. Period.”
“Rest in Paradise Dear Halyna,” wrote Rust actress Francis Fisher. “I loved watching you work. Your intense focus and your vibrant command of the room… My prayers are with your family and with all who love and miss you.”
Joe Manganiello posted a tribute to Hutchins on Instagram Friday. The actor wrote how “lucky” he was to have worked with her on the 2020 film Archenemy. “She was an absolutely incredible talent and a great person. She had such an eye and a visual style, she was the kind of cinematographer that you wanted to see succeed because you wanted to see what she could pull off next. She was a fantastic person.”
He continued, “There was no amount of pressure she couldn’t handle. She was a great collaborator and an ally to anyone in front of her camera. Everyone who knew her was rooting for her. I can’t believe that this could happen in this day and age… gunfire from a prop gun could kill a crew member? This is a horrible tragedy. My heart goes out to her family and especially to her son. I am so sad today for everyone who knew her and worked with her…”
Archenemy director Adam Egypt Mortimer wrote that Hutchins, who was the director of photography on the film, “was a brilliant talent who was absolutely committed to art and to film,” adding he was “so infuriated that this could happen on a set.”
Actor Elijah Wood also tweeted a tribute. “Absolutely horrifying and devastating news about cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins,” he wrote. “My heart goes out to her family.”
“What happened is a tragedy seemingly fueled by a supreme amount of negligence,” actor and comedian Paul Scheer, who also worked with Hutchins on Archenemy, wrote on his Instagram Stories. “Seek out her work. Sending love to her family, her friends, and her crew.”
X-Men: First Class screenwriter Zack Stentz posted, “For all of us in the film & TV industry this is a dark day. Much love to you all, many condolences to the family & friends of Halyna Hutchins, and I sure hope Joel Souza pulls through.”
Casting director Sidra Smith, who worked with Hutchins on A Luv Tale, wrote, “This breaks my heart into pieces. We spoke when she was headed to shoot this film. She was so happy and i was so happy for her. It’s hard out here for women cinematographers and this was a HUGE opportunity for her. She was so young and so talented.”
Director Ava DuVernay commented on Smith’s post with, “Devastating. Absolutely horrific. Blessings to you during this difficult time, Sidra. And may her soul be at rest.
Fellow cinematographer Elle Schneider tweeted, “Sick and devastated to hear that my friend and rockstar cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed on set today in New Mexico. I don’t have words to describe this tragedy. I want answers. I want her family to somehow find peace among this horrific, horrific loss.”
The Suicide Squad director James Gunn wrote: “My greatest fear is that someone will be fatally hurt on one of my sets. I pray this will never happen. My heart goes out to all of those affected by the tragedy today on ‘Rust,’ especially Halyna Hutchins & her family.”
“Sorrow and absolute horror that cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed on set,” wrote Mia Farrow. “This should never have happened. Thoughts with her family and friends.”
“My heart goes out to Halyna Hutchins family,” added Patricia Arquette. “What a heartbreaking loss. Sending prayers to Joel Souza. I’m sure everyone is devastated.”
“My heart breaks for the family and friends of Halyna Hutchins,” wrote Midnight Mass director Mike Flanagan. “This is just horrifying and devastating news.
More to come ….