Alec Baldwin addresses 'Rust' shooting lawsuits: 'Why sue people if you're not going to get money?'
Multiple lawsuits have been filed, including by the family of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who was shot and killed last October when a prop gun wielded by Baldwin went off. Brian Panish, a lawyer for the victim's husband of 16 years and the couple's 9-year-old son Andros, has accused Baldwin and the film's producers of "major breaches of industry protocols" that "led to the senseless and tragic death of Halyna Hutchins."
But at Boulder International Film Festival on Saturday, Baldwin said those who have filed lawsuits are targeting "people that they think are deep pocket litigants" instead of suing people responsible for the misfire.
"Their attitude is 'Oh, the people who likely seem negligent have no money, and the people who have money are not negligent. But we're not going to let that stop us from doing what we need to do in terms of litigation,' " the actor said in a video of his festival appearance published by CNN on Sunday. "Why sue people if you're not going to get money? That's what you're doing it for."
Baldwin also deflected blame for the incident, insisting he was following appropriate safety protocol and that responsibility lies with those in charge of checking the prop gun before handing it to him. Director Joel Souza, who was also shot and injured in the incident, told investigators that guns on the set were checked first by armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed and again by assistant director David Halls, who would hand the firearms to the actor using them.
"All my career, without incident, I've relied on the safety experts there to declare the gun is safe and hand me the gun," Baldwin said. "Never had a problem. And this happened, and, of course, to me, sometimes it's so surreal I don't even know what to say."
But Baldwin also noted he's received support following the incident, saying that the "overwhelming majority" of people he's encountered have "been very kind." He also remembered Hutchins as a "lovely woman" and talented cinematographer.
Baldwin added that he expects the entertainment industry to change its safety protocols regarding weapons moving forward.
"I was involved in a situation where somebody was killed. It's changed my life, just in terms of the function of weapons in films and television," he said. "They will probably in all likelihood eliminate nearly all live weapons ... and they'll CGI the explosion, and they'll lay in the sound."
Last month, Hutchins' husband Matthew sat down for an interview with the "Today" show, in which he reacted to Baldwin saying he doesn't feel guilt over the shooting.
"The idea that the person holding the gun, causing it to discharge, is not responsible is absurd to me," Hutchins said in the interview. "But gun safety was not the only problem on that set. There were a number of industry standards that were not practiced and there’s multiple responsible parties."