Nearly a year since Halyna Hutchins' on-set death, Alec Baldwin releases a statement after his Rust lawsuit is settled and filming is set to resume.
Actor Alec Baldwin releases a statement following the settlement of the Rust lawsuit with Halyna Hutchins' estate and the announcement that filming is also set to continue. On October 21, 2021, Rust cinematographer Hutchins was accidentally shot and killed by a prop gun fired by Baldwin during a rehearsal of a scene. The film's writer and director, Joel Souza, was also shot in the shoulder by the same round after it passed through Hutchins. Following an investigation, the prop firearm was unknowingly loaded with live ammunition prior to the fatal shooting and not thoroughly checked by the film's lead armorer before the rehearsal.
After the tragedy, Rust's production was placed on-hold indefinitely as investigations began and lawsuits were filed against various parties involved. In February, Hutchins' estate filed a wrongful death lawsuit was against Baldwin, the other producers, the armorer, as well as the prop master of Rust. The state of New Mexico have also fined the Rust producers a maximum amount of $139,793 for lack of safety on the set.
Per Deadline, the lawsuit from Hutchins' estate has been settled with Baldwin and Rust Productions. Halyna's husband, Matthew Hutchins, released a statement announcing their case's settlement and its dismissal. He also revealed that Rust's production will continue January 2023 with him as an executive producer, adding, "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." Baldwin had also taken to Instagram to announce the case's settlement.
Should Baldwin's Rust Movie Even Be Completed?
It has been almost a year since the tragedy, and for many the emotions have yet to diminish. However, during that time, the Hutchins family and Rust filmmakers have managed to come to an agreement about the horrific accident that occurred through their protracted lawsuit. Baldwin, Souza, and Matthew Hutchins appear to agree that completing the film may honor Halyna and the work she already committed to the production. Whether such an act will be successful in their intention is up for debate.
With productions that suffered major tragedies on set, including The Crow and Twilight Zone: The Movie, the lives lost will always be attached to the film's legacy. Despite the filmmakers' best intentions to pay homage to the people who died, the informed audience will likely have Halyna's death on their mind instead of enjoying the movie. If the film fails to be successful, both critically or financially, then audiences may debate the purpose of completing the film at all. As Baldwin returns to Rust in January, all eyes will be on the production with hope that the movie will be finished, but more importantly, that it will respect Halyna Hutchins' memory.