“Rust” director Joel Souza, who is recovering after he and cinematographer Halyna Hutchins were shot with a propeller pistol fired by producer and actor Alec Baldwin on set Thursday, said he was “gutted by the loss of my friend and colleague” Hutchins, who was killed.
“She was kind, dynamic, incredibly talented, fought for every inch and always pushed me to be better,” Souza said in a statement to NBC News.
Hutchins was working as a cinematographer for “Rust” alongside Souza in Santa Fe, New Mexico when Baldwin unloaded the gun. Hutchins was taken by helicopter to the University of New Mexico hospital, where she was pronounced dead, while Souza was taken to hospital by ambulance, officials said.
“My thoughts are with his family at this most difficult time,” said Souza.
Matt Hutchins, Halyna Hutchins’ husband, spoke about the tragedy on Friday in his first social media post since his wife’s death.
“Halyna has inspired us all with her passion and vision, and her legacy is too significant to be summed up in words”, he tweeted next to a photo of his late wife and their son. “Our loss is enormous and we ask the media to respect my family’s privacy as we process our grief. We thank everyone for sharing the pictures and stories from their lives.”
Family, friends and colleagues in the film industry have expressed condolences and posted tributes to his work on social media in recent days.
“She decided early on that she would take the cinematography profession by storm and the past two years have proven that she was on the right track,” Halyna Hutchins’ team said in a statement Friday. “Her talent was immense, only surpassed by the love she had for her family.”
“Anyone in his orbit knew what was coming; a star cinematographer, who would be a force to be reckoned with,” his team added.
Souza, 48, said he was “humbled and grateful for the outpouring of affection we have received from our film community, the people of Santa Fe and the hundreds of strangers who have contacted us.”
“It will surely help me to recover,” he added.
Hutchins, 42, was from Ukraine and grew up on a Soviet military base in the Arctic Circle. She worked as an investigative journalist in Europe before moving to Los Angeles to make films, according to her website.
She graduated from the American Film Institute in 2015 and was selected as one of the Rising Stars of American Cinematography of 2019, according to the biography on her website.
Hutchins’ friends and film school mentors helped set up a scholarship fund “to honor her memory and support aspiring female filmmakers,” according to her husband.
“Anyone who seeks to honor his memory, please direct your donations to this fund”, he tweeted.
Matt Hutchins is a corporate lawyer who joined the Los Angeles office of Latham & Watkins as a partner earlier this year. Prior to that, he was a lawyer in an entertainment company and practiced at Kirkland & Ellis and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, according to his LinkedIn profile.
He said on Friday he spoke with Baldwin, who was supportive of him.
In his initial comments on the shooting, Baldwin confirmed he was in contact with the Hutchins family.
“There are no words to express my shock and sadness over the tragic accident which claimed the life of Halyna Hutchins, a deeply admired wife, mother and colleague,” Baldwin tweeted, adding that he has cooperated with the authorities in charge of the ongoing investigation.
So far, no charges have been filed, the sheriff’s office said.