On Wednesday, we reported on the early clip that was released from the interview that Alec Baldwin did with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. In that clip, Baldwin surprisingly claimed that he didn’t pull the trigger during the shooting on the “Rust” movie set that resulted in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and the wounding of director Joel Souza.
While I wouldn’t trust anything Baldwin has to say, I did note that there were prior reports about guns accidentally discharging on the set, including in an incident about a week before the shooting involving Baldwin’s body double.
Now the rest of the interview has aired, and it has some interesting points.
While we previously reported how the script supervisor is claiming that Baldwin did fire the gun, the lawyer for the assistant director Dave Halls is claiming that Halls was watching and didn’t see Baldwin pull the trigger.
But having Baldwin do such an interview, which seems like an effort to try to smooth over any of the issues is a bad legal move, especially when there are pending civil actions and a criminal investigation underway. If he was trying to help himself in the eyes of the public, I’m not sure that came off well either.
While Baldwin claimed he was not the victim in this matter, he acted like he was throughout the interview.
— Stephanie Sidley (@StephanieSidley) December 3, 2021
Indeed, he even claimed he was pointing the gun at the cinematographer who was killed — Halyna Hutchins — because she told him to, saying that he only pointed the gun where she said and that they both believed the gun to be empty.
But it was clear from what he said he had never checked the gun. He said he was cocking it, at her direction. “I let go of the hammer of the gun,” Baldwin said. “And the gun goes off.” Why did he have the hammer back at all? This might fit with the possible theory that my colleague Dennis Santiago had about the firing of the gun. But that doesn’t help Baldwin, since it’s still his actions that were involved.
Then he claimed that he didn’t even realize that Hutchins had been shot until about 45 minutes later, when he was at the police station and they told him what had happened. He said he thought, “Did she faint?” or was she perhaps hit by a dummy round. He says he doesn’t understand she was hit by a live round until much later when the police tell him.
This makes absolutely no sense. How does he not know that she’s shot? He knows the gun has gone off; Mitchell and the others on the set knew she was shot. You can hear the call that comes into 911.
Everyone on the call who was on the set knows that two people have been shot.
He said he assumed the gun was empty, making it clear that he hadn’t checked the gun himself. He blasted back at people who criticized him — like George Clooney who had said that you have to check the gun every time.
“If your protocol is you’re checking the gun every time, well good for you,” Baldwin said after Stephanopoulos brought up how actor George Clooney said he checks the gun himself while on-set.
“I probably handled weapons as much as any other actors in films,” he added.
Yes, you can make a mistake again and again. But at some point, it may catch up to you, as it did that day.
Stephanopoulos asked what is the actor’s responsibility in such a situation then?
Baldwin said it was to do what the armorer or proper person told him to do.
Baldwin then said he doesn’t feel responsible for the death of Hutchins.
.@GStephanopoulos: "Do you feel guilt?"
Alec Baldwin: “No. Someone is responsible for what happened and I can’t say who that is, but I know it’s not me.”
— ABC News (@ABC) December 3, 2021
“Someone is responsible for what happened,” Baldwin said. “It’s not me.”
“Honest to God, if I felt that I was responsible, I might have killed myself,” he said. “If I thought I was responsible, and I don’t say that lightly.”
At the end of the interview, Baldwin thinks back, “What could I have done?”
The actor said this is the “worst thing” that has ever happened to him.
Again, Baldwin is not the victim here, as much as he would like to act as though he is. He’s not that good an actor. What an odd response, because most normal people would feel guilt simply if they were holding the gun. Plus, it’s also his movie and he’s a producer. But he seems to be going to all lengths to deflect any form of blame.
Baldwin said he was not aware of any safety issues, “In my opinion no, I did not observe any safety or security issues at all at the time I was there,” he said. Yet he mentioned the complaints of a cameraman who had mentioned safety issues. According to Baldwin, he was only told people were unhappy with hotel rooms.
“I am a purely creative producer. My authorities as a producer are casting and script,” he said, adding that he wasn’t involved in budget discussions.
He said he’s been told it’s unlikely he will be charged with anything. That certainly hasn’t been announced by the police, since they are still looking into it. So again, this seems like a deflection that’s all about him.