After Alec Baldwin fatally shot the cinematographer in the “Rust” movie set in 2021, the film’s producers were hit with a lawsuit alleging the production failed to follow proper safety procedures, leading to a possible tragedy. sexuality increased.
The most prominent legal claim came from the family of murdered cinematographer Halina Hutchins, 42. Mr. Hutchins’ widow, Matthew Hutchins, Executive Producer.
At one point, there were plans to resume filming this month.
But on Thursday, New Mexico prosecutors said they intended to file involuntary manslaughter charges against the film’s star and co-producer Baldwin, complicating planning for the project. Could a western about a grizzled outlaw on the run from law enforcement continue to feature actors battling criminal charges of their own?
A person with knowledge of the project, who was allowed to remain anonymous to explain the production plan, said as of Thursday that the film, which stars Baldwin in the lead role and the return of Joel Sousa, who was injured during filming, was still on track to complete. said it is proceeding to as a director. The project will include on-site safety supervisors and trade union crews and will ban the use of any form of live ammunition, including working weapons and blanks, officials said.
Several crew members on the original set spoke to investigators about the accidental release of two blanks that occurred before the fatal shot, highlighting safety concerns. A staff member signed a letter trying to refute suggestions that the set was dangerous.
Santa Fe County District Attorney Mary Carmack Altweis said the film’s original armorer, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, was also charged with manslaughter, and the original first assistant director, Dave Halls, agreed to a plea bargain. The offense of negligent use of a deadly weapon.
Baldwin’s attorney, Luke Nikas, said Thursday that the planned indictment of Baldwin “represents a gross miscarriage of justice” and the actor will be exonerated. When asked if he intended, Mr. Nikas did not immediately answer.
It’s not yet clear where production will resume filming if it moves forward.The shooting occurred at Bonanza Creek Ranch outside Santa Fe. Bonanza Creek Ranch has been used as a setting for Western movies since the 1950s. Last year, the production said that returning to New Mexico was not an option and that it was considering filming in California.
Set in late 19th-century Kansas, “Rust” follows Mr. Baldwin’s character, Harland Rust, as he tries to help his teenage grandson get hanged after a local rancher is accidentally murdered. centered.
Hutchins’ fatal shooting occurred on day 12 of a 21-day film shoot that included horses, snakes and more than two dozen guns. , his character decides to move out of a small wooden church after being cornered by the authorities.
The Hutchins have a son who is now 10 years old. Months after the murder of his son’s mother, tensions between Mr. Baldwin and Mr. Hutchins have occasionally become public knowledge. After Mr. Baldwin vehemently denied his responsibility for the tragedy in his interview with ABC News, Mr. Hutchins responded in his own TV interview. He said on NBC’s “Today” show, “The idea that the person who had the gun and let him fire it wasn’t responsible is ridiculous to me.”
When the settlement was finalized, Hutchins said in a statement that he was “not interested in getting involved in blaming or identifying responsibility” and that “we all believe Halina’s death was a terrible accident.” .
In response to Thursday’s decision to indict Baldwin, a lawyer for Hutchins said his client supports the direction prosecutors have taken.
“It is comforting to the family that no one is under the rule of law in New Mexico,” attorney Brian J. Panish said in a statement. “We support the prosecution, we fully cooperate with this prosecution, and we fervently hope that the justice system will work to protect the public and hold those who break the law accountable.”