Alec Baldwin shooting tragedy: Who was Halyna Hutchins?

‘Kind and loving’ cinematographer in Alec Baldwin tragedy: Ukraine-born married mother Halyna Hutchins, 42, was raised on a Soviet military base surrounded by nuclear submarines, trained as a journalist and was tipped as a rising star in Hollywood

  • Halyna Hutchins, 42, was killed when Alec Baldwin fired a gun on film set
  • Cinematographer, believed to have one son, was a rising star in the industry
  • Born in Ukraine in 1979, Halyna said she grew up ‘on a Soviet military base in the Arctic circle surrounded by reindeer and nuclear submarines’
  • Graduated with a journalism degree and spent time on documentaries in Europe
  • Later moved to Los Angeles where she built a career in independent films 
  • Sun breaking through the clouds above, cinematographer Halyna Hutchins smiles into the camera as she films herself riding off into the New Mexico desert on horseback.

    This was the last Instagram post shared by the married mother-of-one before she was accidentally shot and killed by actor Alec Baldwin yesterday when he fired a prop gun while filming a scene for upcoming Western, Rust.

    Born in Ukraine and raised on a Soviet military base ‘surrounded by reindeer and submarines’, Halyna, 42, had spent time in Europe working on British documentaries before making the move to Los Angeles, where she had established her career – and started a family. 

    Remembered by friends as a ‘kind’ and ‘loving soul’, Halyna lived in Venice Beach, California, with her husband Matthew, a lawyer, and their son Andros, who she affectionately called her ‘little man’.

    ‘She loved him so much and enjoyed watching him grow into the handsome boy he is today,’ one friend wrote. ‘I know she is looking after him and Matt in this horribly scary time.’

    Social media photos capture a playfulness and sense of adventure, with snaps of Halloween costume parties, road trips with friends and days out exploring all lit up by Halyna’s smile.

    She was also hugely respected for her work as a director of photography and had been tipped as a ‘rising star’ by her peers. After stints as an investigative journalist and fashion photographer, Haylna’s career was going from strength to strength when her life was so tragically cut short.   

    Sun streaming from above, cinematographer Halyna Hutchins smiles into the camera as she films herself riding off into the New Mexico desert on horseback. This was the last Instagram post shared by Halyna, 42, a mother-of-one, before she was accidentally shot and killed by actor Alec Baldwin yesterday when he fired a prop gun on the set of Rust

    Sun streaming from above, cinematographer Halyna Hutchins smiles into the camera as she films herself riding off into the New Mexico desert on horseback. This was the last Instagram post shared by Halyna, 42, a mother-of-one, before she was accidentally shot and killed by actor Alec Baldwin yesterday when he fired a prop gun on the set of Rust

    Social media posts shared in the hours after her death paint a picture of a beloved friend, colleague and mother to her son, Andros, her 'little man', whose father is Los Angeles-based lawyer Matthew Hutchins, pictured together

    Social media posts shared in the hours after her death paint a picture of a beloved friend, colleague and mother to her son, Andros, her ‘little man’, whose father is Los Angeles-based lawyer Matthew Hutchins, pictured together

    Photos capture a sense of playfulness and adventure, with snaps of Halloween costume parties, road trips with friends and days out exploring all lit up by Halyna's smile

    Photos capture a sense of playfulness and adventure, with snaps of Halloween costume parties, road trips with friends and days out exploring all lit up by Halyna’s smile

    Born in Ukraine and raised on a Soviet military base 'surrounded by reindeer and submarines', Halyna had recently wrapped on a project in Ireland with heartthrob Joe Manganiello and was tipped for a bright future in Hollywood when her life was so tragically cut short

    Born in Ukraine and raised on a Soviet military base ‘surrounded by reindeer and submarines’, Halyna had recently wrapped on a project in Ireland with heartthrob Joe Manganiello and was tipped for a bright future in Hollywood when her life was so tragically cut short

    Tributes have also been pouring in from colleagues, with actors, directors and Hollywood insiders paid tribute to her ‘tremendous talent’ and ‘commitment to her art’.

    Director, friend and former colleague Adam Mortimer remembered on GMB today: ‘She was somebody who was absolutely dedicated to art and integrity. She was Ukrainian and had this incredible European art sensibility so that the more things on our set that would become challenging or difficult the more she would want to figure out how to transcend the limitations and turn it into art.

    ‘When I met her I knew after about five minutes of talking to her she would be an incredible partner to work with… I can tell already she was going to be a genius and she was so dedicated to do anything to make a movie seem immersive and truthful and that was her personality.’

    Born in Ukraine in 1979, Halyna was the daughter of military parents and grew up on a Soviet base ‘in the Arctic circle’. Recalling what it was like, she said they were ‘surrounded by reindeer and nuclear submarines’. 

    In a sign of her broad interests, Halyna attended the National University of Kyiv, Ukraine’s most prestigious higher education institution, and graduated with a degree in International Journalism. 

    She used this as a ticket to work abroad and spent time as an ‘investigative journalist with British documentary productions in Europe’. Details of the projects have not yet emerged. 








    Baldwin and Hutchins (circled) are pictured together on the set of Rust, in an image that she uploaded to Instagram two days ago saying the crew of the film were supporting a strike by the IATSE union

    Baldwin and Hutchins (circled) are pictured together on the set of Rust, in an image that she uploaded to Instagram two days ago saying the crew of the film were supporting a strike by the IATSE union

    Director of photography Halyna Hutchins was killed in the tragic incident on the set of Rust Thursday

    Director of photography Halyna Hutchins was killed in the tragic incident on the set of Rust Thursday

    Hutchins made the move to the US and established herself in Los Angeles, where she picked up work in fashion photography alongside film in order to learn about ‘creating the mood, the feeling’ in an image.

    In 2015 she graduated from the American Film Institute Conservatory, which offers specialist qualifications in cinematography and directing. Notable alumni include directors Darren Aronofsky and Patty Jenkins.  

    She would later speak of the important role this experience played in developing her career, saying it made her ‘rethink’ who she was as an artist. She added: ‘One thing I learned is that cinematography is not something you do by yourself. 

    ‘It’s a group [project]. You need to develop your own vision, but the key to a successful film is communication with your director and your team.’ 

    Her career had gone from strength to strength in the six years since, and her Instagram is peppered with posts praising her work ethic and ability. 








    Hutchins, who lived in Venice Beach, California, was considered one of Hollywood’s rising stars - named in a list of cinematographers to watch in 2019 by American Cinematographer

    Hutchins, who lived in Venice Beach, California, was considered one of Hollywood’s rising stars – named in a list of cinematographers to watch in 2019 by American Cinematographer

    Police tape cordons of a small church used as a set for the movie, after a fatal accidental shooting at a Bonanza Creek Ranch movie set near Santa Fe on Thursday

    Police tape cordons of a small church used as a set for the movie, after a fatal accidental shooting at a Bonanza Creek Ranch movie set near Santa Fe on Thursday

    Hutchins’ talent was recognised in 2018 when she was named to the inaugural class of the 21st Century Fox DP Lab, a networking cohort designed to expand opportunities for female cinematographers by connecting them with working professionals.

    The following year, she was hailed as one of the ‘rising stars of cinematography’ in respected industry publication American Cinematographer. 

    ‘Right now, I’m just really interested in finding fruitful collaborations,’ she said in an interview with the publication. She added, ‘I’m just hoping to find my Wong Kar-wai,’ in a nod to the renowned Hong Kong director.  

    Hutchins’ recent work includes Blindfire, a racially charged police drama written and directed by Mike Nell starring Brian Geraghty (The Hurt Locker, TNT’s The Alienist) and Sharon Leal (Supergirl, Instinct), which was winner of Best Crime Drama at the Houston International Film Festival, 2020.

    er credits include horror film Darlin and, shortly before starting work on Rust, she had completed filming on Blindfire - a crime drama starring Brian Geraghty and Sharon Leal

    She later moved first to the U.K. to work on documentary filmmaking before traveling to LA to study for a master’s degree in cinematography and switching to movies

    Darlin’, a horror feature lensed by Hutchins and directed by Pollyanna McIntosh (The Walking Dead), premiered at the SXSW film festival 2019 and played internationally at the Edinburgh Film Festival and London FrightFest.        

    Director Adam Egypt Mortimer, who worked with Hutchins on the 2020 superhero mystery-thriller Archenemy, tweeted: ‘I’m so sad about losing Halyna. And so infuriated that this could happen on a set. She was a brilliant talent who was absolutely committed to art and to film.’

    Actor Joe Manganiello, who starred in Archenemy, called her ‘an incredible talent’ and ‘a great person’ on his Instagram account, adding that he was lucky to have Hutchins as director of photography on the film. 

    Mortimer has previously said that Hutchins’s tastes and sensibility of what is cinematic were a huge asset for the Archenemy project. 

    Across Halyna’s Instagram and website reels are numerous stills and clips from short films and features she’s worked on, ranging in genre and aesthetics. 

    However they also paint a clear image of a free-spirited, much-loved friend, with photos of Halloween dress up parties and candid selfies taken on a road trip.  

    She enjoyed exploring while travelling to work, taking time while in Ireland on a recent project to take in the landscape and historical castles.  

    In some of Halyna’s last posts on Instagram, she shared photos from the New Mexico desert on the set of Rust. One of the shotswas a large group pic of the film cast and crew as Halyna shouted out the IATSE, or The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees union.

    ‘Standing in #IAsolidarity with our @IATSE crew here in New Mexico on RUST,’ Halyna wrote in the caption, reposting from another person working on the production. 

    ‘The historic strike, which honors the needs of the tireless workers in the industry who mostly operate behind the scenes, is still putting pressure on Hollywood to negotiate better working conditions and better pay.’

    The very last post shared on her account was a video of her riding horseback through the New Mexico desert, a slight smile on her face.

    She wrote: ‘One of the perks of shooting a western is you get to ride horses on your day off.’