Jensen Ackles posted a statement on Instagram today that I feel is imperative to mention. Halyna Hutchins, the director of photography killed on the set of Rust, a western that co-stars Jensen, left behind a husband and 9 year old son. Jensen and Danneel have donated to an AFI scholarship fund in her name and this post shares more information about that and how we all can donate.
I had been reluctant to share news on The Winchester Family Business site about the tragedy that happened on the set of Rust last week. The fact is, we are not a news outlet. I'm not a journalist. I usually report what's been shared elsewhere from a fandom angle. There's already so much information flying out there about this tragic fatal shooting of Halyna Hutchins and wounding of director Joel Souza on the set by lead actor Alec Baldwin in what was clearly a very tragic gun accident. I've seen a lot of fingers being pointed without all the facts being confirmed. After all, the media loves to jump on a Hollywood tragedy. I was afraid of sharing wrong information or reporting blame where it did not fall. Online news these days is a landscape where misinformation runs rampant and I didn't want discussions breaking out about what might have happened without knowing all the facts. It's also hard to report about something that's really breaking your heart.
I know that several people are still confused by what happened. It's very scary to think how this could have happened to anyone, so I wanted to share the link to an article by Cynthia Littleton from Variety. She's done her homework in explaining problematic issues on movie and TV sets today thanks to the high demand for streaming content. She clearly states in her analysis that she was not aware if what she shared actually happened on Rust, but it gives a good idea as to some of the issues productions are facing these days. I think this is a must read, if for no other reason than to raise awareness about potential safety hazards in Hollywood.
Eric Kripke is also urging action from a producer perspective. I'm sure he will not be alone in his pleas:
Someone hurt or killed on my set is my worst nightmare. Sending love to Halyna Hutchins' family, @JensenAckles, cast & crew of "Rust." I'm so sorry. In her memory, a simple, easy pledge: no more guns with blanks on any of my sets ever. We'll use VFX muzzle flashes. Who's with me?— Eric Kripke (@therealKripke) October 22, 2021
In the meantime production has been shutdown on Rust as investigations continue. There is no word on when or if filming will resume. Hopefully, what is revealed will lead to changes that will prevent such a tragedy from happening again.
We at The Winchester Family Business are heartbroken for all the cast and crew of Rust as well as Halyna Hutchins' family. This is no doubt a core shaking tragedy that has impacted many people, as well as an entire industry, and given us a stark reminder of how fragile life can be. Our sympathies to everyone feeling the shock, dismay and loss from this accident.