This first interview Alec Baldwin has done since fatally shooting cinemaphotographer Haylna Hutchins (besides that bizarro parking lot semi-press conference he did that his pretend Spanish wife who grew up in Boston kept interrupting) aired last night. And was pretty much everything I'd hoped it would be when I wrote about it a couple of days ago. And more. If I had to put a number on it, I'd say it was 35% more Bananaland than I'd anticipated.
Beginning with his denial that he did anything wrong. That the reason he was holding a weapon pointed at a coworker that went off and ended her life was that he was a victim of circumstances:
Source - A tearful Alec Baldwin said on Thursday night that he would have killed himself if he felt responsible for shooting dead camerawoman Halyna Hutchins on the set of his movie Rust, but that he doesn't feel guilty and believes he won't face charges for the accident. ...
He maintains that he didn't pull the trigger and that the gun just 'went off' while in his hands. ...
'I let go of the hammer, bang. The gun goes off. Everyone is horrified. They're shocked. It's loud,' he said ... and that he's been told by people 'in the know' that it is 'highly unlikely' he'll face criminal charges.
'Someone is responsible for what happened, and I can't say who it is, but it's not me.
'Honest to God, if I thought I was responsible I might have killed myself. And I don't say that lightly.'
Let me just interject here and say that I'm not sure if anybody involved in a fatality ever discusses suicide "lightly." I mean personally, one of my go-to expressions if some criticizes me is to say, "If you liked my writing I'd fucking kill myself," because it's highly effective troll repellant. But under these circumstances, I don't see where the "lightly" disclaimer needs to be added. I doubt anyone in the viewing audience would've said, "Pffft! Good one! Killing yourself! Alec Baldwin, always the kidder! Guy cracks me up!"
Second, in the teaser for the program, they included the part where he insists he didn't pull the trigger. But now he says he did pull back and release the hammer. I'm not going to sit here and claim to be a weapons expert. And I'm too lazy to Google the inner workings of a single-action period weapon from the Old West. But I can say with a reasonable amount of certainty that the whole point of pulling the trigger is that it pulls back and releases the hammer. So forgive me for thinking that "well, I did eliminate the whole trigger part of the equation and just went straight to the hammer" is not necessarily going to be the most air tight defense when the inevitable Wrongful Death suit is filed.
And so far, this sounds to me like one of those 85-year-old motorists who find themselves behind the wheel 20 feet inside the front door of a Walgreens with broken glass all around and say, "I don't know what happened! I put my foot on the brake and the car just lurched forward!" Yes, there is an element of "accident" involved. But it's more of the operator error variety, not an equipment malfunction.
'[Hutchins is] getting me to position the gun - everything is at her direction. I draw the gun, to her marker. I'm not shooting to the camera lens, I'm shooting just off. In her direction. This was a completely incidental shot, that may not have ended up in the film.'
Baldwin says he cocked the gun, and was discussing with Hutchins how it looked on camera. …
'I let go of the hammer, bang. The gun goes off. Everyone is horrified. They're shocked. It's loud. They don't have their earplugs in.
'No one was - the gun was supposed to be empty. I was told I was handed an empty gun. If they were cosmetic rounds, nothing with a charge at all, a flash round, nothing.
'She goes down, I thought to myself, "Did she faint?" The notion that there was a live round in that gun did not dawn on me 'till probably 45 minutes to an hour later.'
OK. So he's contradicting himself. "In her direction" is a damned sight different than claiming he never aimed the gun at her like he said in that clip. To repeat what I said two days ago, it was sounding like he was employing Warren Commission logic about Magic Bullets changing direction in mid-air. But what we've got now is a fuller picture of Baldwin doing exactly what all the reports from the movie set claimed he did. Namely point a gun he thought was empty at a co-worker and fire it.
And for the record, holding a gun and firing it is exactly what one is supposed to do in a movie. Particularly a Western. There was no line in any Sergio Leone script that said, "The Man With No Name demonstrates proper trigger discipline and responsibly aims his pistol safely away from Lee Van Cleef." But Baldwin admits he pointed the weapon (which to repeat, he thought was safe) at Hutchins. As the guys from "Mythbusters" always said, never aim a firearm at anything you're not trying to destroy. That simple, logical rule was ignored on the set of a movie that Alec Baldwin was executively producing. So good luck with the argument he was just an innocent bystander.
Though in a weird, sort of reverse logic way, it's reasonable to hope Baldwin is telling the truth. Because Halyna Hutchins will be just as deceased and her family will have to carry on without her either way. But at least with the comfort of knowing it was a tragic mishap and not criminal negligence. It's just that it sounds a lot like spin. Like he and his publicists are trying to put the best narrative on this they can, in order to salvage what they can of his career. And I say his publicists because any lawyer who signs off his/her client giving a TV interview while a criminal case is still under investigation should be disbarred.
Besides, to repeat myself one last time, it's hard to believe a word Alec Baldwin says or a tear he sheds, because he's such a good actor. He may or may not be a victim of circumstances, but he for sure is a victim of his own talent. I've never even seen this movie but I know this speech by heart because he's so incredibly good here:
I don't know if he's capable of convincing a TV audience - or a jury for that matter - that somebody else is responsible for this shooting death. But he's capable of convincing a movie audience he is God. And that's working against him in this case.