Alec Baldwin settles lawsuit with Halyna Hutchins’ family

Nearly a year after cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed on the set of the film “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 legal dispute achieves a death penalty.

As part of the agreement, filming on the low-budget western will resume next year with the cinematographer’s husband as executive producer, Hutchins said.

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 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. The Santa Fe prosecutor has also indicated she could file criminal charges against up to four people, possibly including Baldwin.

“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 his solicitor Melina Spadone from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman.

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, NM 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 lawsuit placed much of the blame on 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.

Times Staff Writer Meg James contributed to this report Alec Baldwin settles lawsuit with Halyna Hutchins’ family

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