Alec Baldwin’s Rust to resume 15 months after fatal shooting on set

Alec Baldwin’s ill-fated movie Rust is set to resume production in January 2023, 15 months after cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was accidentally killed after being shot with live ammunition by the actor and producer.

Director Joel Souza, who was standing behind Hutchins and was also hit by the bullet, will return to complete the project.

Actor Alec Baldwin was using the gun that killed Halyna Hutchins.Credit:AP/Getty

The news comes on the eve of the anniversary of the incident (which took place on October 21 last year) and two weeks after the producers of the movie, including Baldwin and the special purpose vehicle Rust Movie Productions LLC, reached a settlement with the cinematographer’s estate.

Under the terms of the settlement, which are largely confidential, Hutchins’ husband Matthew will become an executive producer of the film.

Hutchins said earlier this month that his late wife’s estate had reached a settlement and would as a result drop its wrongful death case against Baldwin and the production companies.

“I have no interest in engaging in recriminations or attribution of blame,” Hutchins said. “All of us believe Halyna’s death was a terrible accident. I am grateful that the producers and the entertainment community have come together to pay tribute to Halyna’s final work.”

Director Souza issued his own statement, in which he said his decision to return to the project “could only make sense for me if it was done with the involvement of Matt and the Hutchins family”.

“Though certainly bittersweet, I am pleased that together, we will now complete what Halyna and I started,” he added. “My every effort on this film will be devoted to honouring Halyna’s legacy and making her proud. It is a privilege to see this through on her behalf.”

The lawyers for Hutchins’ estate had claimed her death was a result of cost-cutting on the low-budget independent feature. Investigations into the incident appeared to indicate laxness in the handling of guns and the presence of live ammunition on set were critical issues.

The 24-year-old armourer on the production, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, was a named defendant in the wrongful death suit. According to Variety, “it does not appear that she was a party to the settlement”.

Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe where the fatal shooting took place in October last year.Credit:AP

The case was investigated by the FBI and by the Santa Fe District Attorney’s office. In September, Baldwin was identified as one of four people who could face criminal charges over the matter.

In a statement issued on Wednesday the DA’s office made it clear that remained a possibility.

“The proposed settlement announced today in Matthew Hutchins’ wrongful death case against Rust movie producers, including Alec Baldwin, in the death of Halyna Hutchins will have no impact on District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies’ ongoing investigation or her ultimate decision whether to file criminal charges in the case,” said Heather Brewer, a spokeswoman for the office.

“While civil suits are settled privately and often involve financial awards, criminal cases deal only in facts. If the facts and evidence warrant criminal charges under New Mexico law then charges will be brought. No one is above the law.”

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