'Rust' to resume filming in Montana with Alec Baldwin despite involuntary manslaughter charges
Increased legal battles surrounding Alec Baldwin and the "Rust" movie isn't stopping production from seeing the film through to the end.
Melina Spadone, attorney for Rust Movie Productions, LLC, confirmed to USA TODAY on Jan. 23 that filming for "Rust" is on track to be completed with Baldwin in the lead role and with Joel Souza returning as director.
Spadone also confirmed there will be on-set safety supervisors and union crew members on set and that working weapons and ammunition will be barred. Spadone clarified live ammunition was always prohibited from the "Rust" set.
Last fall, Hutchins' family settled a lawsuit against producers and agreed to restart filming with Halyna Hutchins' widower Matthew Hutchins as executive producer. It's unclear whether Baldwin is still a co-producer in the film.
Filming will resume at Yellowstone Film Ranch in Montana this spring, Rust Movie Productions announced Feb. 22.
Halyna Hutchins, 42, died shortly after being wounded by a gunshot while setting up a scene at a ranch on the outskirts of Santa Fe on Oct. 21, 2021. Baldwin was pointing a prop pistol at Hutchins when the gun went off, killing her and wounding Souza.
Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies and Special Prosecutor Andrea Reeb announced on Jan. 19 that Baldwin, 64, who was holding the gun at the time it fired, and "Rust" armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed would be charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of Hutchins.
The two were officially charged on Jan. 31. No charges were filed in the shooting of Souza.
According to the DA's office, the two charges of involuntary manslaughter are differentiated: one determines if there was underlying negligence and the other requires that there was more than simple negligence in Hutchins' death.
Both charges are fourth-degree felonies, punishable by up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine. The latter charge also included a firearm enhancement penalty, which is punishable by a mandatory five years in jail, but that penalty was removed in February.
After the impending charges against Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed were announced, attorneys for the Hutchins family – Matthew Hutchins and son Andros – thanked the Santa Fe sheriff and the district attorney for the charges in a statement shared with USA TODAY, calling them "warranted for the killing of Halyna Hutchins with conscious disregard for human life."
"It is a comfort to the family that, in New Mexico, no one is above the law. We support the charges, will fully cooperate with this prosecution, and fervently hope the justice system works to protect the public and hold accountable those who break the law," Hutchins' attorney Brian J. Panish said in a statement.
Baldwin's attorney, however, said the charges represented “a terrible miscarriage of justice.”
The actor "had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun – or anywhere on the movie set. He relied on the professionals with whom he worked, who assured him the gun did not have live rounds. We will fight these charges, and we will win,” Luke Nikas said in a statement sent to USA TODAY.
Take a deep dive on the 'Rust' tragedy
- Will Alec Baldwin face jail time? Explaining the actor's involuntary manslaughter charges
- Safety in Hollywood: Will Halyna Hutchins' death on the set of 'Rust' be a 'breakthrough' moment?
- What about the gun? As Alec Baldwin faces lawsuit, all eyes are on the gun that killed Halyna Hutchins
- 'I don't know where I would be': Alec Baldwin praises Hilaria Baldwin's support after 'Rust' shooting
- 'I just felt so angry': Halyna Hutchins' husband wanted Alec Baldwin to accept responsibility
Contributing: Hannah Yasharoff, Marco della Cava, Maria Puente, USA TODAY, and The Associated Press