The family of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins has filed a lawsuit against Alec Baldwin and others involved with the film Rust, saying that her death was caused by “reckless behaviour and cost-cutting techniques.”
Alec Baldwin handled a Colt pistol during a scene on Rust’s Bonanza Creek Ranch set in Santa Fe last October, which unexpectedly fired, killing Haylna Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza, despite the fact that he was unaware the handgun had a live bullet. After that, the cinematographer was taken to an Albuquerque hospital, where she died.
At a news conference announcing the action, Halyna Hutchins’ counsel Brian Panish said, “He lost his long-term wife who was the love of his life, and his kid lost a mother.” “It should never have occurred.”
According to Variety, the lawsuit, filed by the attorneys for Halyna Hutchins’ husband and 9-year-old son in New Mexico, cites text messages and emails sent by Lane Luper, the camera assistant who raised red flags about accidental discharges onset and who left the production with several others just before Hutchins’ death, cites text messages and emails sent by Lane Luper, the camera assistant who raised red flags about accidental discharges onset and who left the production with several others just
Attorney Brian Panish stated that the defendants’ “reckless actions and cost-cutting methods resulted in the murder of Halyna Hutchins.” Hutchins’ supporters also showed an animated re-enactment of the incident during a press conference.
Producers are also accused of “cutting shortcuts on safety procedures where human lives were at jeopardy, hurrying to keep on time, and dismissing multiple reports of safety breaches,” according to the lawsuit.
According to Variety, the lawsuit lists Ryan Smith, Allen Cheney, Nathan Klingher, Ryan Winterstern, Anjul Nigam, Matthew DelPiano, and Emily Salveson as defendants, as well as crew members Sarah Zachry, Dave Halls, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, Gabrielle Pickle, Seth Kenney, and others.
In warrants filed by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department and the District Attorney’s Office, it was discovered that the armourer, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, loaded the Colt.45 with what she thought were fake bullets. She subsequently handed the revolver to first assistant director Dave Halls, who declared it just a “cold gun” before passing it to Alec Baldwin.
Randi McGinn, the estate’s attorney in Albuquerque, said, “We’re used to individuals coming in from an out of town to play cowboy who just doesn’t know how to handle weapons.” “You don’t give someone a gun until they’ve had safety instruction… On such a make-believe movie set, no one should ever die with a real pistol.”
The representative for Alec Baldwin and the other producers, Aaron Dyer, issued a statement in response to the suit. “Everyone’s hearts and thoughts remain with Halyna’s family as they continue to process this unspeakable tragedy,” Aaron said. “We continue to cooperate with the authorities to determine how live ammunition arrived on the ‘Rust’ set in the first place.”
“Any claim that Alec was reckless is entirely false. He, Halyna and the rest of the crew relied on the statement by the two professionals responsible for checking the gun that it was a ‘cold gun’ – meaning there is no possibility of a discharge, blank or otherwise,” he added.
Aaron further stated, “This protocol has worked on thousands of films, with millions of discharges, as there has never before been an incident on a set where an actual bullet harmed anyone. Actors should be able to rely on armourers and prop department professionals, as well as assistant directors, rather than deciding on their own when a gun is safe to use.”