Alec Baldwin spoke out about the “Rust” shooting incident in his first sit-down interview which aired Thursday night.
The actor described the moment the gun was discharged during the interview. “I let go of the hammer of the gun,” Baldwin told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “And the gun goes off.”
Baldwin and Hutchins had been setting up for a shot where the actor was supposed to draw the gun and point it at the camera. While standing next to the camera, the cinematographer was “guiding” Baldwin on where to point the gun, he said. “The gun wasn’t meant to be fired in that angle,” he confirmed.
“I didn’t pull the trigger,” Baldwin reiterated. “The gun was supposed to be empty,” he said.
Baldwin admitted the angle they were practicing “might not have ended up in the film at all.”
The notion that there was a live round didn’t occur to Baldwin until about 45 minutes after the incident occurred. His first thought was, “Did she faint?”
From his recollection, Hutchins was conscious when he last saw her and Souza was screaming loudly.
Baldwin said he didn’t know what had happened until he was in the police station, hours later. A police officer told Baldwin that a .45 caliber slug came out of Souza’s shoulder at the conclusion of his interview, he said. The police also confirmed Hutchins’ death to Baldwin at the end of the interview.
The actor said he didn’t know how the live round made it into the gun.
“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.
Baldwin said it’s the actor’s responsibility to do what the prop master tells them to do. He later said the responsibility of an actor has changed since the day of the shooting, although Baldwin doesn’t plan to do another movie with guns.
“I can’t imagine doing a movie that has a gun in it ever again, I can’t,” he said.
Baldwin doesn’t hold himself responsible for the death of Hutchins, but does believe someone is responsible.
“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.
Nobody knows how live ammunition made its way onto the set of “Rust” and the issue is currently being investigated by the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Department. Baldwin said he hopes “they follow it to the ends of the earth,” referencing the ongoing investigation.
Armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed’s lawyer suggested somebody on the set may have put live rounds into the box of dummies on purpose. However, Baldwin denied any sabotage on the set.
“It was overwhelmingly likely an accident,” he said.
Baldwin also noted two crew members had filed lawsuits, and he pointed out that both had been filed before Hutchins’ husband Matthew had filed his own.
“They couldn’t wait until Matthew filed his,” he said. “Something happened here that resulted in his wife’s death.”
The actor maintained during the interview that his role in the production of the film was casting and the script. The movie had been filming for a week before Baldwin showed up on set. The actor revealed during the interview that he had stopped making movies because he didn’t like being away from his family. He said working on this film made him “love making movies again.”
“I knew she had that spark,” Baldwin said about Hutchins during the interview. “She was very focused.”
Baldwin also talked about working with armorer Gutierrez-Reed. He claimed he never had any concerns about Gutierrez-Reed, stating “nothing raised flags.” Baldwin worked directly with Gutierrez-Reed “99% of the time” and went through a safety demonstration with the armorer on day 12 of filming, one day after he arrived. He received no complaints from Gutierrez-Reed or from the prop department.
“I assumed because she was there, and she was hired- she was up for the job,” he added.
When Gutierrez-Reed was not on the set, Baldwin would hand the gun to assistant director Dave Halls.
“I feel terrible about what’s happened to Hannah,” he said. “I feel horrible what’s happened to Halls, I do.”
Baldwin also claimed he didn’t hear anything about safety issues on set.
“In my opinion no, I did not observe any safety or security issues at all at the time I was there,” he said.
The first time Baldwin heard about any issues on the set at all was from crew member Lane Luper, he stated. According to Baldwin, Luper came to the actor and asked for better hotel accommodations for the crew members on set.
“‘We have some issues here,'” Baldwin recalled Luper telling him. “And he said my men need a better hotel room.”
“No mention of safety issues,” he added.
To fix the issue, Baldwin said that he was planning to give more of his salary back to production.
“I would be happy to contribute to that to address the problem,” he said.
As for cutting corners in the budget, Baldwin said everyone in the film industry works to save money. The actor had assumed everyone on the set of “Rust” was being “stretched,” including himself.
“Spielberg wants to save money,” he explained. “Tom Cruise wants to save money.”
Authorities have said Baldwin was told the gun was safe to handle but continue to investigate how a live round ended up in the weapon. Investigators have described “some complacency” in how weapons were handled on the “Rust” set. They have said it is too soon to determine whether charges will be filed, amid independent civil lawsuits concerning liability in the fatal shooting.
Fox News’ Tyler McCarthy and The Associated Press contributed to this report.