(NewsNation Now) — In the aftermath of the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the “Rust” movie set, Alec Baldwin, no stranger to the spotlight away from the cameras, has once again found himself in it.
After staying quiet for much of the first week after the shooting, Baldwin recently posted several screenshots on Instagram defending the integrity of the production, and before that spoke with a camera crew that was following him in Vermont.
“I’m not allowed to make any comments because it’s an ongoing investigation,” he told that crew in Vermont. “I’ve been ordered by the sheriff’s department in Santa Fe.”
It was vintage Baldwin, who has tangled with photographers through the years in a complicated career spanning more than three decades, from the early leading roles in “The Hunt for Red October” and cult favorite “Beetlejuice,” and the unforgettable cameo as the brutal sales lord in “Glengarry Glen Ross.”
But it wasn’t until his seven-year run on the massive hit “30 Rock,” alongside Tina Fey, that his trajectory was once again firmly upward. His regular “Saturday Night Live” appearances impersonating former President Donald Trump further cemented his elite status in Tinseltown.
Yet Baldwin is no stranger to controversy. His fiery temper landed him in the headlines in 2007 when he left a now-infamous voicemail for his daughter, Ireland Baldwin, calling her a “rude little pig” because she was missing his phone calls. She was 11 years old at the time.
Baldwin has said the incident left a permanent mark on their relationship and that he is hurt when he hears the voicemail referenced in the press. Ireland Baldwin said she moved on shortly after hearing the voicemail, and the two even made fun of it in an Instagram post.
That was not the only controversy for Baldwin. In 2014, he was called out for directing homophobic slurs at a photographer, which he denied in an essay. MSNBC canceled his show “Up Late with Alec Baldwin” after the incident.
In 2018, he was arrested for allegedly punching a man named Wojciech Cieszkowski over a parking spot dispute. Baldwin maintained he never hit Cieszkowski and pleaded guilty to a harassment charge, but civil lawsuits over the incident are still proceeding three years later.
Plus, one staffer on “Rust” who wishes to remain anonymous says he witnessed similar behavior on set.
“He’s a frustrating person,” the staffer told the television show “People.” “Like, he would do long rehearsals. I remember at one point he was cussing at the younger co-star. I was, like, ‘Oh wow, this guy’s difficult.’
“He was micromanaging to where, you know, he wants these shots, he’s telling the director what to do. So I feel like the director and the DP [director of photography] were annoyed and frustrated with him on set, as well.”
Baldwin says he is in touch with the victims’ families and authorities daily. In a statement, he said there “are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins.”
He reiterated that in the video from Vermont.
“She was my friend,” he said. “The day I arrived in Santa Fe and started shooting, I took her to dinner with Joel the director.”