A year after cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was accidentally shot dead by Alec Baldwin while he was practicing his cross-draw on the New Mexico set of the Western Rust, the filmmakers announced they are resuming filming. However, they will be abandoning the Land of Enchantment for the Golden State when production resumes.
Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that the movie is getting underway again in January in California rather than Arizona with “all the original principal players on board” having reached a settlement with Hutchins’ family. It’s not clear where in the state the shoot will begin again, but word is that Hutchins’ husband, Matthew Hutchins, is onboard to executive produce.
IATSE, the union that represents over 150,000 entertainment industry workers confirmed to THR Wednesday that its initial plan for the resumed production is to ensure that safety personnel on the set. That’s sssuming the production companies involved are under a union contract—considering The Rust Movie Productions representative declined to say which companies are involved in the upcoming continuation of production.
The news earlier this month that Rust was going to start up again was unexpected, especially among industry workers. “No one has contacted us from the production,” Teamsters Local 399 secretary-treasurer Lindsay Dougherty told THR at the time. “I have not spoken to anyone related to the production since that tragic accident happened, so everything I’ve seen has been in the press. No one has said a word,”
Although Baldwin fired the fatal round, he has gone to pains, through lawyers, to stress that he is not legally culpable for the death. In March, Baldwin’s legal team said his contract alone excused him from liability. And besides, Baldwin lawyer Luke Nikas stated in that filing, “She directed Baldwin to hold the gun higher, to a point where it was directed toward her. She was looking carefully at the monitor and then at Baldwin, and then back again, as she gave these instructions. In giving and following these instructions, Hutchins and Baldwin shared a core, vital belief: that the gun was ‘cold’ and contained no live rounds.”
In April, Baldwin lawyer Nikas further claimed that an investigation by OSHA had let his client off the hook entirely, posting to the actor’s Instagram, “We are grateful to the New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Bureau for investigating this matter. We appreciate that the report exonerates Mr. Baldwin by making clear that he believed the gun held only dummy rounds and that his authority on the production was limited to approving script changes and creative casting.”