Slain Rust cinematographer Halyna Hutchins’ family has announced that they plan to file a civil lawsuit against Alec Baldwin after prosecutors dropped the criminal charges against him last week.
In 2021, as the Rust crew filmed a scene set in a church, Baldwin was practicing drawing his prop gun when the firearm discharged, killing Hutchins. The actor has consistently maintained that he did not pull the trigger and that instead the gun misfired. Before Thursday’s news that the involuntary manslaughter charges against him had been dropped, Baldwin faced a maximum sentence of 18 months in prison.
Attorney Gloria Allred, who represents Hutchins’ parents and sister (mother Olga Solovey, father Anatolii Androsovych, and sister Svetlana Zemko) did not mince words in a statement provided to Deadline.
“Mr Baldwin may pretend that he is not responsible for pulling the trigger and ejecting a live bullet which ended Halyna’s life,” Allred said. “He can run to Montana and pretend that he is just an actor in a wild west movie but, in real life, he cannot escape from the fact that he had a major role in a tragedy which had real life consequences.”
Deadline reports that Baldwin’s attorneys have called Hutchins’ family members’ planned lawsuit “misguided” and suggested that it would not hold up. Prosecutors are now focused on Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who was 24 years old at the time of the accident and still faces two counts of involuntary manslaughter.
In the wake of the deadly incident, sources who’d worked with Reed told The Daily Beast that Gutierrez-Reed was “inexperienced and green,” and that her handling firearms on the set of the Nicolas Cage film The Old Way seemed “a bit careless.” The accident also sparked broader discussion of oversight on indie film sets.
Production on Rust resumed last week, as stipulated by a settlement between Baldwin and Hutchins’ widower, Matthew Hutchins. CNN reports that one stipulation included Matthew becoming a named executive producer. The production will not re-film the church scene that had been underway when the shooting occurred.
On Friday, one day after the criminal charges against Baldwin dropped, TMZ published photos from the set, in which Baldwin can be seen handling a prop shotgun. According to Deadline, Rust director and producer Joel D’Souza—who was also injured in the 2021 shooting—has said that no “working firearms” or ammo are allowed on set.