Cinematographer killed by Alec Baldwin made movie in Ireland during lockdown

Halyna Hutchins stayed in Dublin while filming indie movie at Birr Castle in 2020

Hollywood star Alec Baldwin has said "my heart is broken" after cinematographer Halyna Hutchins died when he fired a prop gun on a New Mexico movie set, adding that he was cooperating with the police investigation.

 

Halyna Hutchins, the cinematographer fatally shot by the actor Alec Baldwin on a film set in New Mexico, made a low-budget indie film in Ireland last year.

“The thing I remember most about Halyna was just how warm and enthusiastic she was,” said Barry Coyle, a casting director who worked with Hutchins in Dublin and Birr, Co Offaly. “She had a sensibility where she really appreciated Irish art and the way of expression Irish people have.”

He added, “She was genuinely interesting and engaged with people. Probably everyone she met, she genuinely cared about them ... She saw things differently and was a really inspiring person to talk to and be around.”

Hutchins had to quarantine when she arrived in Ireland, before filming at Birr Castle, and embraced Ireland during her time here. “She had a sensibility where she really appreciated Irish art and the way of expression Irish people have,” Coyle said.

The director of photography wrote on Instagram after visiting the National Gallery of Ireland last summer that she was “Obsessively in love with Harry Clarke’s stained glass work!”

Posting a photograph of his window The Song of the Mad Prince, from 1917, she commented, “Clarke experimented in the production of this work, etching and plating together two double pieces of glass of different colors to achieve a variety of colors and tones.”

Alec Baldwin said today that “there are no words to convey my shock and sadness” following Hutchins’s death on the set of his film Rust and confirmed that he is “fully cooperating” with the police investigation.

The camera crew for the television series His Dark Materials paid tribute by posting a photograph of a clapperboard bearing the words RIP Halyna Hutchins on the BBC and HBO programme’s official Twitter page in tribute to the director of photography.

“We were devastated to learn of the tragic passing of Halyna Hutchins in the USA,” the post said. “Our wonderful camera crew created this on set today to pay tribute to ‘one of us’.”

The Hollywood star Dwayne Johnson also paid tribute to Hutchins. The actor, also known as the Rock, commented on Hutchins’s last Instagram post, a video she shared two days ago of herself horse-riding on set, writing that a “perk” of working on a western was that “you get to ride horses on your day off”. Johnson wrote: “I am so so sorry. Rest easy. My love and strength to your family.”

The Magic Mike actor Joe Manganiello, who recently worked with Hutchins on the film Archenemy, also paid tribute to her. He wrote on Instagram: “I woke up to the messages and read the news and I am in shock. I was so lucky to have had halynahutchins as my DP on 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. 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...”

Alec Baldwin: the actor shot Halyna Hutchins with a prop gun. Photograph: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty
Alec Baldwin: the actor shot Halyna Hutchins with a prop gun. Photograph: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty

Friends in Ukraine, where Hutchins was originally from, described her as spirited, someone whose talents had propelled her from that country to success in Hollywood but who never forgot her home. She was proud of her heritage, they said, and returned regularly to visit.

Yana Nestoliy, a friend from college, described her as an ambitious, focused woman with intelligent eyes and a sincere smile. “She could have been among the top Hollywood stars on camera, not behind it,” Nestoliy said.

Hutchins grew up on a Soviet military base in the Arctic Circle, where, according to her personal website, she was “surrounded by reindeer and nuclear submarines”.

She studied economics at the Agrarian University in Ukraine before switching to a journalism program at Kyiv National University. She later attended the American Film Institute Conservatory in Los Angeles. Andriy Semenyuk, a friend and fellow Ukrainian cinematographer, said in an interview with Detector Media, a media organisation in Ukraine, that even as her career blossomed in Hollywood she made a point of embracing her background, making an effort to help fellow Ukrainians in California. He called her death a “stupid, shocking loss.”

The Ukrainian foreign ministry said on Friday that the country’s consulate in Los Angeles was trying to contact Hutchins’s relatives. – additional reporting: PA, New York Times

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