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Who Was Halyna Hutchins, The Cinematographer Killed On The ‘Rust’ Film Set?
Halyna Hutchins, a Los Angeles-based cinematographer who was killed this week, was described by those who knew her as a "ray of light," dedicated to her family and immensely talented.
In the last images Halyna Hutchins posted on Instagram before she was killed Thursday on the set of the film “Rust,” the cinematographer touted the fringe benefits of her job as the film's director of photography.
“One of the perks of shooting a western is you get to ride horses on your day off,” the 42-year-old wrote, along with a smiley face and a video of her in a black cowboy hat riding on a horse in New Mexico.
It would be her final post.
Hutchins was fatally shot Thursday when a prop gun fired by actor and producer Alec Baldwin “discharged” and struck her and 48-year-old director Joel Souza.
Souza survived the incident and was later discharged from a local hospital after being treated for his injuries, his representatives confirmed to Deadline.
The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office has said no arrests have been made in the shooting.
On Friday, Baldwin expressed his sympathy for Hutchins’ family and said he had been shocked by the sudden death.
“There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours,” the actor wrote on Twitter. “I'm fully cooperating with the police investigation to address how this tragedy occurred and I am in touch with her husband, offering my support to him and his family. My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna.”
Hutchins is being remembered by her friends in Ukraine as a beautiful and spirited woman who used her talent to find success in Hollywood, according to The New York Times.
Despite her success with films like “Archenemy,” the horror film “Darlin’” and “Blindfire,” those who knew the cinematographer said she never forgot her roots and that she often returned to Ukraine to visit her loved ones.
“She could have been among the top Hollywood stars on camera, not behind it,” said Yana Nestoliy, describing her friend as ambitious, focused and sincere.
Hutchins grew up on a Soviet military base “in the Arctic Circle surrounded by reindeer and nuclear submarines,” as she wrote on her website. After earning a graduate degree in international journalism from the Kyiv National University in Ukraine, Hutchins began her career as an investigative journalist working on British documentary productions but later turned to cinematography.
She graduated from the AFI conservatory in 2015 and was selected as one of American Cinematographers’ Rising Stars in 2019.
Her husband, 38-year-old Matthew Hutchinson, told Insider that he “didn’t think there were words to communicate the situation” after learning of his wife’s tragic death.
“I am not going to be able to comment about the facts or the process of what we’re going through right now, but I appreciate that everyone has been very sympathetic,” he said. “I think that we will need a little bit of time before we can really encapsulate her life in a way that is easy to communicate.”
While speaking with Fox News, Matthew said he had been in touch with Baldwin.
“I have spoken with Alec Baldwin and he is being very supportive,” he said.
Matthew’s mother also told the news outlet that it had been a “horrible time” for the family.
“She was my daughter-in-law and she was a wonderful, wonderful person,” she said.
As authorities continue to investigate her death, the film community has also come out to voice their support for her family.
“Halyna Hutchins was a ray of light,” her agents at Innovative Artists told Deadline in a statement. “Always smiling, always hopeful. She decided early on she would take the craft of cinematography by storm and the last couple of years proved she was well on her way.”
They added that Hutchins had also been dedicated to her family.
“Her talent was immense, only surpassed by the love she had for her family,” they said. “All those in her orbit knew what was coming; a star director of photography, who would be a force to be reckoned with.”