Alec Baldwin said he’s not to blame for the death of a cinematographer he shot with a prop gun on the “Rust” movie set because there never should have been live rounds on the property.
Baldwin was handling the gun when a live shot rang out, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding the film’s director, Joel Souza, on Oct. 21 in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
“There’s only one question that needs to be resolved, just one: Where did the live round come from?” Baldwin told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos in an interview that aired Thursday.
“Someone put a live bullet in a gun. A live bullet that wasn’t even supposed to be on the property,” he said in the interview, his first since the fatal accident. “Someone is responsible for what happened, and I can’t say who that is, but I know it’s not me.”
Baldwin was visibly emotional and broke down at times during the one-hour interview as he discussed the shooting, which the actor called the worst thing to ever happen to him.
Baldwin told Stephanopoulos that he decided to come forward and speak publicly about the incident because he couldn’t wait what could be months until the investigation concluded to clear up what he called “misconceptions” surrounding the incident and its aftermath.
He described the moments leading up to the shooting as he and Hutchins worked on capturing the best gun angle for a scene in which he claimed he was never meant to pull the trigger — only to cock the gun. The actor said he was assured the gun was a “cold gun” by assistant director Dave Halls, who handed him the weapon.
As Baldwin and Hutchins practiced different motions and angles for the shot, the gun fired, although he said he never even pulled the trigger.
“I let go of the hammer. Bang! The gun goes off,” Baldwin said, not believing he could possibly have shot her.
“I thought to myself, ‘Did she faint?’ The notion that there was a live round in that gun did not dawn on me for probably 45 minutes to an hour later,” Baldwin told Stephanopoulos.
“No one could understand. Did she have a heart attack? The idea that someone put a live bullet in the gun was not even in reality.”
“She just laid there kind of in shock,” he said, before responders arrived.
The shooting occurred on the same day that several crew members walked off the set for purportedly unsafe and subpar working conditions and made demands such as better hotel rooms.
“In my opinion, no … I did not observe any safety or security issues,” Baldwin said of his time on set.
His interview comes after a new search warrant approved by a judge on Tuesday revealed that the live round may have been left in the gun from a previous film production.
Baldwin said he had never before worked with Hutchins until “Rust” but was impressed with how dedicated and driven she had been.
“She was someone who was loved by everyone she worked with, was liked by everyone she worked with and admired,” he said, choking back tears.
Armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who was working on just her second film, was in charge of training actors in gun safety and handling the weapons. Her attorney has claimed that there is a possibility that the bullet was intentionally placed in the chamber to sabotage the film, which Baldwin denied, as have investigators.
“That’s a big swing,” the actor said. “That’s an enormous charge to make. For what purpose? To attack who? To harm me? The production?”
“It’s overwhelmingly likely that it was an accident.”
The incident has left Baldwin shaken, saying he’s exhausted after losing so much sleep over the past several weeks.
“I’m not somebody who has very vivid dreams but I dream about this constantly now,” he said.
Baldwin told Stephanopoulos that the most important thing in his life right now is his family, and not his career. He is slated to film another movie in January, although he said he “can’t imagine I’d ever do another movie with a gun in it ever again,” he said.
Baldwin claims he isn’t worried about potential criminal action against him — as the actor who fired the gun and as a “purely creative” producer on the film. He said his only production responsibilities centered around the script and casting. To date, no charges have been brought in the film set shooting.
“It’s highly unlikely I would be charged with anything criminally,” he said he’s been told.
Two civil lawsuits filed by crew members Serge Svetnoy and Mamie Mitchell have claimed Baldwin bears responsibility for the unsafe working conditions on set. The suits also name other producers, Halls and Gutierrez-Reed as defendants.
After Hutchins was killed, Baldwin took her husband, Matthew, and their young son out to dinner before they attended a memorial service for her, he said.
“I said, ‘I don’t know what to say, I don’t know how to convey how sorry I am to you,’” Baldwin said.