Alec Baldwin and family of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins reach settlement over her death – with Rust filming due to resume
Alec Baldwin and the production company for the film Rust have reached a settlement with the family of Halyna Hutchins, the cinematographer who was fatally shot on set.
Following the agreement, filming of Rust will resume in January 2023 – with Ms Hutchins‘ husband Matthew executive producing, he said in a statement.
The cinematographer died after a prop gun held by Baldwin was discharged during rehearsals for the western film in New Mexico in October 2021, and her family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the star and others who worked on the production earlier this year.
Baldwin is a producer for the film, as well as its star.
Mr Hutchins said a settlement had now been reached, subject to court approval, and that as part of the agreement the civil case would be dismissed.
“The filming of Rust, which I will now executive produce, will resume with all the original principal players on board in January 2023,” he said. “I have no interest in engaging in recriminations or attribution of blame (to the producers or Mr Baldwin).
“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.”
No further details about the settlement have been released.
Baldwin’s attorney, Luke Nikas of Quinn Emanuel, said: “Throughout this difficult process, everyone has maintained the specific desire to do what is best for Halyna’s son. We are grateful to everyone who contributed to the resolution of this tragic and painful situation.”
Almost a year on, no charges have been filed in connection with the shooting.
In an on-camera interview a few weeks afterwards, Baldwin recalled the moments leading up to the tragedy. He said he was handed the revolver and told “this is a cold gun” – an industry term meaning it was either empty or loaded with dummy rounds.
He said the gun went off accidentally and that he did not pull the trigger. However, a recent FBI forensic report found the weapon could not have fired unless the trigger was pulled.
‘We will now complete what Halyna and I started’
Director Joel Souza was also wounded when the gun went off, suffering a shoulder injury.
In a statement released following the settlement announcement, he paid tribute to Ms Hutchins and said he could only return to direct the film with her family’s involvement.
“Those of us who were lucky enough to have spent time with Halyna knew her to be exceedingly talented, kind, creative, and a source of incredible positive energy,” he said.
“I only wish the world had got to know her under different circumstances, as it surely would have through her amazing work.
“In my own attempts to heal, any decision to return to finish directing the film 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. 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.”
Attorney Melina Spadone, of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman on behalf of Rust Movie Productions, said: “We are pleased the parties came together to resolve this matter, which, subject to court approval, marks an important step forward in celebrating Halyna’s life and honouring her work.”
The ongoing investigation and lawsuits
The settlement comes after a report found the film’s production company “knew that firearm safety procedures were not being followed on set” and “demonstrated plain indifference to employee safety”.
Rust Movie Productions was fined $136,793 (£104,810), the maximum allowable by state law in New Mexico, following a six-month investigation by the state’s environment department.
Baldwin and the Rust producers also face a case brought by script supervisor Mamie Mitchell, although a Los Angeles judge recently ruled they would not have to face its central claims of assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate. In its last update in August, a spokeperson said detectives were waiting to receive and review phone records before forwarding their case file to the state’s district attorney for review.