Nearly a year after cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed on the film set of “Rust” in an incident in New Mexico in which producer and actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun, the Hutchins and Baldwin family have reached an undisclosed settlement in a wrongful death obtains lawsuit.
As part of the agreement, filming on the low-budget western, with the cinematographer’s husband as executive producer, will resume next year, Hutchins said in a statement.
Joel Souza, the injured director alongside Halyna, will also return to the project, he said. The case is being dismissed as part of the settlement, which is subject to court approval in New Mexico.
“Shooting on Rust, which I will now executive produce, will resume in January 2023 with all of the original leads on board,” Matthew Hutchins said in a statement Wednesday. “I have no interest in blaming or blaming[the producers or Mr. Baldwin]. We all believe that Halyna’s death was a horrible accident. I’m grateful that the producers and entertainment community came together to pay tribute to Halyna’s final work.”
Nevertheless, the resumption of “Rust” is likely to be controversial. Hutchins’ death sent shockwaves through the film industry, which is still struggling with how to respond to the accident. Hollywood hasn’t seen a case like this since 2014, when Sarah Jones, a camera assistant, was killed during unauthorized filming on a Georgia train track.
The announcement of the settlement comes days after Baldwin told law enforcement investigators and served as the Santa Fe 1st Judicial Dist. atty Mary Carmack-Altwies is considering filing criminal charges in the case.
In a late August letter to the New Mexico Board of Finance, Carmack-Atwies requested additional funding for her office to potentially pursue several high-profile law enforcement actions. The letter, which was reviewed by The Times, says she can prosecute up to four people, including Baldwin, who fired the gun that killed the Hutchins, 42, and left behind her husband Matthew and their 10-year-old son.
The criminal investigation is separate from the civil suit filed by the Hutchins family earlier this year. On Wednesday it was unclear whether the undisclosed financial settlement will have an impact on the outcome of criminal proceedings.
The settlement ends only part of the aftermath of the “Rust” tragedy. The production and Baldwin are still facing multiple lawsuits in Los Angeles and New Mexico.
“Throughout this difficult process, everyone has maintained an expressed desire to do what is best for Halyna’s son. We are grateful to everyone who helped resolve this tragic and painful situation,” Baldwin wrote in an Instagram post on Wednesday. Baldwin has denied any wrongdoing in the accident.
Several other producers and Rust Productions were also defendants in the lawsuit.
“We are pleased that the parties have come together to resolve this matter, which, subject to court approval, represents an important step forward in celebrating Halyna’s life and honoring her work,” said Rust Movie Productions LLC through its Attorney Melina Spadone of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittmann.
In a statement, Souza said he plans to return to film.
“In my own attempts at healing, any decision to return to directing could only make sense to me if it was done with the involvement of Matt and the Hutchins family,” he said in a statement. “While certainly bittersweet, I am pleased that together we will now complete what Halyna and I started. All of my effort on this film will be dedicated to honoring Halyna’s legacy and making her proud. It is a privilege to enforce this on their behalf.”
The lawsuit was filed in Santa Fe in February against the film’s production companies, producers, other crew members and Baldwin.
The lawsuit alleged that Baldwin and other producers of the low-budget film sacrificed crew member safety by hiring inexperienced crew members and disregarding safety concerns previously raised by cameramen.
The suit named gunsmith Hannah Gutierrez Reed and claimed she was responsible for maintaining the guns on set and did not verify the revolver or ammo was safe before first assistant director Dave Halls presented the gun to Baldwin. The complaint also accused Halls of failing to verify that the revolver was safe.
Hutchins family attorneys also singled out Baldwin, who, according to the lawsuit, declined training in the “cross-draw” maneuver he was practicing that day — just four feet from Hutchins and other crew members. Baldwin has denied guilt and said he did not pull the trigger that fired the bullet that hit Hutchins.
The other defendants in the civil trial, including Gutierrez Reed and Halls, did not appear to be part of the settlement. However, if the judge approves the settlement, the allegations against the other parties will also be settled.
https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/business/story/2022-10-05/alec-baldwin-settlement-halyna-hutchins-family-rust Alec Baldwin settles lawsuit with Halyna Hutchins’ family