Baldwin claims he let go of the hammer on the gun but never pulled the trigger while filming the scene that resulted in the shooting.
Alec Baldwin is opening up for the first time about the fatal shooting on the set of Rust. In his first sit-down interview since the incident back in October, the 63-year-old actor got emotional and candid while reflecting on the tragedy that left cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, dead, and injured director Joel Souza
Recalling the shooting itself, Baldwin claims that he never actually pulled the trigger. Instead, he and Hutchins were filming an insert shot of Baldwin drawing the gun, and she wanted to get an angle of him pulling back the hammer on the revolver.
As has been reported, Baldwin was told by the Assistant Director, Dave Halls, that the gun was "cold," meaning it did not contain ammunition that could be discharged -- including blank rounds. With that in mind, Baldwin claimed it was Hutchins who directed him where to point the gun to get the angle she wanted to film.
"I let go of the hammer of the gun, and the gun goes off," Baldwin said, explaining that he had "pulled the hammer as far back as I could without cocking the gun."
"The gun was supposed to be empty... nothing with a charge at all," Baldwin said.
Which is why, when Hutchins fell to the floor, Baldwin recalled feeling confused and totally bewildered.
"I thought to myself, 'Did she faint?' The notion that there was a live round in that gun didn't occur to me for 45 minutes to an hour," he said, explaining that they thought she could have been hit by wadding or "perhaps had a heart attack."
It wasn't until he was in the sheriff's department speaking with investigators that he found out both Hutchins and Souza had been hit with a live bullet, and that Hutchins had died.
In the aftermath of the shooting, there were many critics and commentators who laid the blame, at least partially, on Baldwin for not checking to see if the gun was loaded with non-prop rounds for himself.
"In the 40 years I've been in this business up until that day, I've never had a problem," Baldwin said, adding that, in past productions, he's been told by prop masters and armorers to not check the gun or manipulate the firearm after it had already been checked and deemed safe.
The actor was also faced with extreme criticism -- largely from those who have been his biggest critics due to his past political statements.
"I'm married, I got six kids, I just want to live my life in peace. And I've got all these people saying, 'Your a murderer,'" Baldwin said. "It's tough."
Due to the shooting itself, Baldwin says he's been haunted by the incident and have had dreams of guns going off and the sense of shock and fear.
"These images have come into my mind and kept me awake at night, and I haven't slept in weeks," Baldwin said.
Ultimately, Baldwin said he feels terrible about Hutchins death, but that he doesn't feel guilt, because he doesn't believe it was his truly his fault.
"Someone is responsible for what happened, but I know it's not me," he stated. "I might have killed myself if I thought I was responsible, and I don't say that lightly."
Before the pair spoke about the shooting itself, Baldwin addressed reports about crew members who had raised concerns over on-set safety and claimed that he "never heard one word about that."
"I did not observe any safety or security issue in the time that I was there," Baldwin claimed, later adding that, before the tragedy, he felt that "everybody there was having a positive experience."
He also recalled having a safety demo with armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, and stated, "I assumed, because she was there and she was hired, that she was up for the job."
For Baldwin, being on a movie set again was a thrill, as he hasn't worked on big productions very frequently in recent years, as he doesn't want to spend that much time away from his family.
"To leave my family for four weeks to shoot this movie, that was a big deal," Baldwin said, adding that he was sitting in the church shortly before the shooting happened, and contemplated his time on the set.
"I thought, 'This movie has made me love making movies again.' I used to love making movies. I did," he recalled, fighting back tears. "I really thought we were on to something."
Meanwhile, an investigation into the shooting remains ongoing, and a lawsuit has been filed against Baldwin and others in regard to the fatal event.
In a press conference in October, Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza and Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said that "all options are still on the table" when it comes to possibly filing charges in the death of Hutchins.
"During the initial investigation, it was determined that actor/producer Alec Baldwin was the person that fired the weapon," Mendoza stated. "We identified two other people who handled and or inspected the loaded firearm prior to Baldwin firing the weapon. These two individuals are armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed and assistant director David Halls. All three individuals have been cooperative in the investigation and have provided statements."
"During this process, we determined there were a limited amount of movie set staff present in the area where the actual incident took place, although there were approximately 100 people on set," he continued. "Through the execution of search warrants, we have collected about 600 items of evidence. These include but are not limited to three firearms, approximately 500 rounds of ammunition and several pieces of clothing and possessions. We believe that we have in our possession the firearm that was fired by Mr. Baldwin."