Earlier this week, the family of a cinematographer who was shot and died on the film “Rust” set filed a lawsuit against Alec Baldwin and the film’s producers, saying their “callous” disregard for safety concerns contributed directly to her death.
Halyna Hutchins’ husband and 9-year-old son attended a press conference to announce the complaint. Lawyers for the Hutchins family said Baldwin declined training for the sort of “cross-draw” maneuver he was executing when he fired the shot that killed her.
Baldwin’s attorney reacted by saying that any suggestion that the actor was negligent is “completely incorrect.” According to the lawsuit filed in New Mexico’s Santa Fe County in the name of Matthew and Andros Hutchins, they were the recipients of a text message conversation in which concern about gun safety was greeted with what the lawsuit describes as “callous mockery.”
Lane Luper, the operator, sent a text message to Katherine Walters, the unit production manager, informing her that “we’ve now had three unintentional discharges.” “It’s quite dangerous.”
“Is it possible that the pistol was accidentally discharged?” Walters replies. Awesome. “It all sounds wonderful.” At least four additional lawsuits have been filed in connection with the shooting, but this is the first explicitly linked to one of the two persons who were shot in the incident.
Halyna Hutchins died due to the defendants’ “reckless behavior and cost-cutting strategies,” according to her attorney, Brian Panish.
According to the lawsuit, if correct standards had been followed, “Halyna Hutchins would be alive and well, embracing her husband and 9-year-old son.”
While filming a scene for the Western in New Mexico on October 21, Baldwin was holding a revolver pointed at Hutchins when the gun went off, killing Hutchins and injuring the film’s director, Joel Souza. Baldwin was also a producer on the project at the shooting time.
During the press conference, the lawyers exhibited an animated reproduction of the shooting scene to the audience.
At her command, Baldwin pointed the pistol towards Hutchins, according to Baldwin, and it went off without him squeezing the trigger.
According to the lawsuit, industry regulations require a rubber or similar prop gun throughout the setup process, and there was no need for a real pistol.
It also claims that Baldwin and assistant director David Halls, who gave him the revolver, should have visualized the weapon for live ammunition.
The action is also named defendants Halls and Walters, armorer Hannah Guttierez Reed, and ammunition supplier Seth Kenney. Halls and Walters are also listed as defendants.
“Any accusation that Alec was careless is completely wrong,” said Aaron Dyer, an attorney representing Baldwin and other producers, in a statement released Tuesday.
In their belief that the pistol was a ‘cold gun,’ he, Halyna, and the rest of the crew relied on the assertion made by the two specialists in charge of testing the rifle, who said that there was no prospect of a discharge.”
According to the director, the actor should be able to depend on armorers and prop department pros and assistant directors rather than having to decide on their own whether it is safe to use a pistol.
Baldwin gave up his cellphone to detectives earlier this month, and Dyer said Baldwin is cooperating completely with the inquiry.
The handling of weaponry on the “Rust” set has been characterized as “some complacency” by authorities. They have said that it is too soon to decide whether or if criminal charges will be brought against them.
Baldwin said that he does not expect to be prosecuted criminally for the incident. Several members of the crew have filed lawsuits, notably Gutierrez Reed, who has accused Kenney of being responsible for the shooting.
In response to a request for comment on the new case, her attorney, Jason Bowles, did not immediately answer. It was not possible to locate a counsel for Kenney. He has previously said that he was certain that his business did not deliver any live rounds to the set during the production.
Hutchins had requested that Baldwin aim the rifle slightly off-camera and near her armpit before the gun went off, according to Baldwin in an interview with ABC.
“I was not the one who pulled the trigger,” Baldwin said. In no way, shape, or form would I aim a pistol at somebody and pull the trigger.” Never.”
Panish said on Tuesday that the claim was implausible and inaccurate. “I believe it is quite evident what occurred,” he stated. The gun was in Alec’s hand when he fired it, and Halyna died as a result.
Although the lawsuit does not specify a monetary sum, Panish believes it is significant.
His words were heartbreaking: “A lifelong marriage has ended, a soulmate has been gone, and a baby kid has been abandoned by his mother at an early age.” The experience, according to anybody who has even come near to it, “continues indefinitely, forever, and ever.”
Randi McGinn, an attorney representing the plaintiffs in New Mexico, said that the action is expected to progress considerably more swiftly than if it were brought in California, as past similar lawsuits have done.
McGinn said that in New Mexico, “we’re accustomed to folks coming in from out of town to play cowboy, and they don’t know how to handle weapons.”
In addition to growing up on a distant Soviet military post and working on documentary films in Eastern Europe, Hutchins attended the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts and embarked on a promising filmmaking career,
Hutchins described herself as a “restless dreamer” and an “adrenaline addict,” according to her website. “One of the year’s budding talents,” according to American Cinematographer, who named her in 2019.
“Everyone’s emotions and prayers are with Halyna’s family as they continue to grieve this unimaginable loss,” Dyer said in a statement.