“Rust” co-star Jensen Ackles posted a heartfelt tribute to cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who was killed on set when actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun loaded with a live round on set last week.
Ackles called the incident “a tragedy of epic proportions that we are all still processing,” in his Instagram post on Sunday.
Hutchins, 42 — whom Ackles called “an inspiration”— was working on the upcoming western in Santa Fe, New Mexico on Oct. 21 when Baldwin shot a live bullet that struck her in the chest and injured Joel Souza who was standing behind her. She was airlifted to the University of New Mexico hospital in Albuquerque where she died from her injuries.
In the post, Ackles shared a touching memory he’d just had with the photography director, who was considered a passionate and skilled “rising star” in the industry.
“Earlier last week I felt compelled to tell Halyna just how awesome I thought she was. I told her how incredible I thought her camera shots were and just how exciting it was to watch her and her team work. Truly. She laughed and said thank you and gave me a hug,” Ackles wrote.
“I’ll forever be thankful we had that moment. She had a spunk and passion that infected the entire crew from the top down.”
She leaves behind her husband of 16 years, Matthew, and their 9-year-old son.
“My heart and prayers go out to Halyna’s husband, son and the rest of her family. There just aren’t enough words to express what an immense loss this is,” Ackles wrote.
“She will be incredibly missed by all of us who knew and admired her.”
The American Film Institute has started a scholarship fund in her name, which Ackles linked to in his post.
Additionally, a GoFundMe for Hutchin’s family has also been organized by her union, the International Cinematographer’s Guild Local 600. The campaign has already raised over $183,000 in donations.
Hutchins was born in Ukraine and raised as an “army brat” in the arctic circle in the Soviet Union.
She graduated from Ukraine’s Kyiv National University with a degree in international journalism and worked as an investigative journalist with British documentary productions across Europe.
She relocated to the US and graduated from the American Film Institute in 2015 before starting her career in Hollywood.
Previous films she worked on include 2020’s art-house superhero flick “Archenemy,” starring Joe Manganiello; and police drama “Blindfire,” starring Brian Gereghty.
Her husband Michael told The Post that he has spoken to Baldwin in the wake of the tragedy, saying the star has been “very supportive.”
Hutchin’s father said that he does not blame Baldwin for her death — instead pointing the finger at the film’s crew.
Ackles had spoken about gun training just days before the tragic accident. He suggested to a crowd at a convention in Denver that he only got a very brief rundown before a big “shoot-out” scene.