‘Rust’ Producer to Finish Picture After Shooting Death Probe

“We’re confident we’ll be able to complete the movie,” said the co-producer of the tragic Alec Baldwin Western

More than half a year after actor Alec Baldwin accidentally shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins while on the New Mexico set of Rust, one of the movie’s producers says he is “confident” that the team will be able to finish making the Western, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Rust Movie Productions is still being investigated by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office for the fatal shooting of Hutchins on Oct. 21, 2021. But once the investigation concludes, co-producer Anjul Nigam said the crew will pick up where they left off with production.

“We’re confident we’ll be able to complete the movie,” Nigam told THR. “Rust is obviously a horrific tragedy. The investigation will hopefully be resolved soon and will unveil what happened. Obviously, there will be people out there who will have negative perspectives, but we’re confident about continuing to make quality movies.”

Last month, the New Mexico Environment Department’s Occupational Health and Safety Bureau found that Rust producers “demonstrated plain indifference” to employee safety and issued its maximum fine of $136,793 for safety violations.

“Our investigation found that this tragic incident never would have happened if Rust Movie Productions LLC had followed national film industry standards for firearm safety,” James Kenney, the agency’s cabinet secretary, said in an April statement, according to the Los Angeles Times. “This is a complete failure of the employer to follow recognized national protocols that keep employees safe.”

Rust Movie Productions contested the penalty in a May 10 filing, saying it was not responsible for supervising the movie set and that it addressed all alleged gun misfires, the Times reports.

“RMP disputes [the New Mexico Environment Department] citations and its summary of investigation because its bases for the citations are factually and legally inaccurate,” the company said, according to the Times. “The attempt to extend the application of a fire extinguisher regulation to a special effects device shows their misunderstanding of the film industry.”

The husband and son of Hutchins filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Baldwin, as well as crew members and producers of the film in February.

Last week, Baldwin and Nigam announced that they had formed a new TV and film banner called Persona Entertainment, and that they would be bringing a film to the Cannes Film Festival, which kicks off Tuesday. According to THR, Baldwin will star in a psychological thriller called False Awakening, which was written and directed by Ben Tomson. Nigam said he thinks distributors will be “receptive” to the project despite the circumstances of the Rust shooting.

“I’m gonna go out there and sell [False Awakening],” James Norrie of Amp International, which is selling worldwide rights to the movie at Cannes, told THR. “So far the reaction has been one of interest. I’ve not had anyone come back saying, ‘That’s a funny one.’ The general consensus seems to be that [what happened on Rust] was an awful accident.”

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