Jeffrey Nera/ABC News
Police haven’t even released a final report on the shooting that killed cinematographer Halina Hutchins on the set of the Western movie. Rust. But star Alec Baldwin – who carried the gun that fired the fatal bullet – appeared on national television Thursday to answer investigative questions about a tragedy that attracted much national attention.
It’s not something a famous celebrity is at the center of the huge public controversy he usually tries. But after his calculated prime-time interview with ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos — in which the actor broke down in tears several times while describing aspects of the tragedy — Baldwin emerged as a man who rejected criticism and told his story, without raising anything new. Bad questions.
Alec Baldwin Unscripted He offered an hour-long report on the incident, including a lengthy interview with the actor. He expressed remorse and regret for the incident, but remained confident that he would not be charged with a crime and was not at fault.
“There is someone responsible for what happened, and I can’t say who it is,” Baldwin told Stephanopoulos in the pre-recorded interview. “But I know it’s not me.”
Hutchins was killed when a Colt .45 Baldwin revolver unexpectedly fired a bullet, hitting her and film director Joel Sousa, who was shot in the shoulder. Baldwin told Stephanopoulos that he was following Hutchins’ instructions while aiming the gun, with the cinematographer looking at a screen, trying to figure out the best position to shoot a scene.
The actor said they were running through a “teaching rehearsal,” which involved adjusting the gun’s position several times. Baldwin said he pulled the gun’s hammer back, and ratcheted it up, but insisted he never pulled the trigger.
And he added, “I put the gun. I go, ‘Can you see that?’ Can you see that? Can you see that? “And then I let go of the hammer of the gun, and the gun went off.”
Why is he talking now?
Baldwin told Stephanopoulos that he is now speaking – although he has already been named in two civil cases and the police have not issued a final report to the attorney general – to combat “a number of misconceptions” about what happened.
“I feel like I can’t wait for this process to be over,” the actor said. “I wanted… to say that I will do everything in my power to undo what happened.”
During the interview, Baldwin – who was also a producer for the film – made several important points about the circumstances of the accident, which also seemed to focus on limiting his perceived liability:
• Stressed that it was a “purely creative product”, focused only on acting and script, not who was hired for artistic jobs or why.
• He said that he had not been informed of any safety concerns on the set before the accident.
• Some Hollywood professionals, including star actor George Clooney, said they always personally check the firearms they use to make sure they are safe. But Baldwin insisted that his 40-year acting practice had trusted the professionals assigned to oversee props, including shotguns.. When Stephanopoulos asked him directly: “What is the responsibility of the actor?” Baldwin replied, “To do as the supporter/gunsmith orders him.”
• He said that assistant director Dave Holz handed him the prop gun, telling him it was a “cold pistol”, which means it wasn’t dangerous. Speaking of Hutchins, Baldwin noted, “There was something in common between me and her; I thought we both [the gun] It was empty… and it wasn’t.”
• While carefully refusing to specifically name anyone who might be responsible, Baldwin hit upon a theory advanced by attorney Hannah Gutierrez Reed, who served as the film’s designer and principal prop assistant, that the bullet in his gun could have been an act of intentional sabotage.
(Lawyers for both Gutierrez Reed and Holz, contacted by NPR after the special broadcast, say they have no new comments to add in the wake of Baldwin’s remarks.)
• A tear broke out as he talked about how much her classmates respect Hutchins – and how her young son would grow up without a mother – but Baldwin also said he didn’t feel guilty. Because, the actor said, he is not responsible for what happened.
“There is only one question that must be answered, only one question,” Baldwin said. “This is: Where did the live tour come from?”
Well prepared and on message
Last night’s report also included interviews with other sources, including a gun seller who said he supplied fake guns and bullets to production. But Thursday’s report centered around the interview with Baldwin, in which plenty of teasers for a longer two-hour show next week appeared on ABC News. 20/20 about the accident.
Stephanopoulos who told viewers good morning america On Thursday he said he had known Baldwin for years, and asked substantive questions, but he wasn’t arrogant. Baldwin seemed well prepared and on message, he spoke in a forum with journalistic credibility, but it wouldn’t be too much of a pain. The program itself sometimes felt very productive Datelin NBC Episode, with ominous music spinning at crucial moments.
While Baldwin insisted he did not want to appear as a victim, he noted that he suffers from public criticism of the incident, surprising that former President Donald Trump accused him of deliberately shooting Hutchins, calling him “surreal.” The actor said that the accident was the worst thing that happened in his life, and added that he dreams of shooting “constantly” and does not sleep.
But when asked by Stephanopoulos if his acting career was over, Baldwin said he wasn’t sure, adding that production of a new movie is set to begin in January.
It’s hard to tell how much this interview contributed to the public’s understanding of the incident, beyond confirming Baldwin’s claim that he was not fundamentally wrong.
But it should serve as a master class on how celebrities got their way before the devastating public controversy, even with lawsuits filed and a police investigation underway.