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Halyna Hutchins’ cinematographer friend slams ‘calculated ignorance & negligence on set that led to her death’

A FRIEND of the cinematographer who died on the set of the film Rust has slammed the “calculated ignorance and negligence" that may have led to her death.

Eli Arenson, who is also a cinematographer, said the shooting that claimed the life of Halyna Hutchins “was not an accident”.

He added: “I’m frustrated by the term ‘prop gun’ because a prop insinuates something that looks functional but lacks harmfulness. 

“This was not a rubber gun, or a metal replica, but a real gun that shoots real bullets.”

“What I do want to stress is that from all accounts it seems the higher ups were negligent and sleazy so any talk of an ‘internal investigation’ is preposterous.”


Arenson compared the fatal shooting on set to drunk driving for its “calculated ignorance.”

The friend said that the two have been involved with the military for a long time and Halyna grew up on a military base. 

Arenson started his career as a military photojournalist, dealing with guns on set. 

“As someone who served i the military there are rituals to perform that validate guns are unloaded and that there is no bullet in the chamber.

“Of course these are things a trained weapons wrangler or local 44 would know. 

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“I’m sure Halyna felt safe. 100 percent of gun accidents involve people who thought the gun was unloaded. 

“She’s done this 1 million times before.”


According to Arenson’s website, he believes in “cinematography that is simple and graceful -- his visual approach always begins from the minds of the characters. The world perceived through their eyes.”

He reflected on those who thought Halyna should’ve walked off set to avoid the tragic incident saying she always had to work “10 times harder” because she was a young and an aspiring female who was foreign.

“Her loyalty always lied with getting the story told.

“It’s a terrifying branding for a DP to be the one that abandons ship. It’s not something you can easily bounce back from like crew members who have each other‘s backs.

“It’s cold at the top.

“The only way Halyna made it as far as she did in her career is a relentless ambition to succeed and always finding creative ways to make the story work for what is had.”

“Let’s get rid of guns on set, let’s treat crew and production with respect. Let’s get the story told safely.”


His comments come after a director and screenwriter who has worked directly with Halyna exclusively told The Sun that crew members can advocate for safer conditions, as they did for Rust, but everyone on a film set is “at the mercy of people controlling the budget.”

The director, who asked not to be named, added: “Those who control the money have the power to ensure safe and healthy workspaces.

“We’ve just witnessed the horror of a system that values a few bucks of profit more than human dignity.”


The revelation comes after Thursday's tragic accident on the set of the western movie, in which Alec Baldwin fatally shot Halyna and saw director Joel Souza hit in the shoulder.

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, 24, was the head armorer on the set and was in charge of the gun that was fired. 

“While it's important to hold individuals accountable, in the context of a film set a catastrophic mistake like this only occurs when many, many individuals fail at their jobs or skip safety protocols, to be specific,” the director said.

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