Almost a year after the cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed on the set of “Rust” in an incident involving a prop gun fired by the producer and actor Alec Baldwin in New Mexico, the Hutchins family and Baldwin reached an undisclosed settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit.
As part of the settlement, filming will resume next year on the low-budget western with the cinematographer’s husband, Matthew Hutchins, as executive producer, according to its statement.
Joel Souza, the injured director alongside Halyna, will also return to the project, he said. The case will be dismissed as part of the settlement, which is subject to the approval of the New Mexico court.
“Filming of Rust, which I will now produce, will resume with all original lead actors on board, in January 2023,” Matthew Hutchins said in a statement Wednesday. “I have no interest in indulging in recriminations or assigning blame (to producers or Mr. Baldwin). We all think Halyna’s death was a terrible accident. I am grateful that the producers and the entertainment community have come together to pay tribute to Halyna’s final work.
Still, the revival of “Rust” is sure to be controversial, and the district attorney said Wednesday that his criminal investigation will continue.
The Death of Hutchins sent shockwaves through the film industrywho always wonders how answer. Hollywood hasn’t seen a case like this since 2014, when camera assistant Sarah Jones was killed during an unauthorized filming on a railroad track in Georgia.
The settlement announcement comes days after Baldwin provided his cell phone data to investigators with law enforcement and as the Santa Fe 1st Judicial Division. Atty. Mary Carmack-Altwies is considering bringing criminal charges in the case.
In a letter in late August to the New Mexico Finance Council, Carmack-Altwies requested additional funding for his office to potentially pursue several high-profile lawsuits. The letter, who was reviewed by The Times, said she could prosecute up to four people, including Baldwin, who fired the gun that killed Hutchins, 42, leaving behind her husband, Matthew, and their son of 10 years.
“The proposed settlement announced today in the wrongful death case of Matthew Hutchins against Rust film producers, including Alec Baldwin, in the death of Halyna Hutchins will have no impact on the prosecutor’s ongoing investigation. District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies or on her final decision whether to file criminal charges in the case,” said Heather Brewer, spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office.
“While civil lawsuits are settled privately and often involve financial rewards, criminal cases deal only with facts,” Brewer added in a statement. “If the facts and evidence support criminal charges under New Mexico law, charges will be laid. No one is above the law.”
The criminal investigation is separate from the civil lawsuit, which Hutchins’ family filed earlier this year. It was unclear on Wednesday whether the confidential settlement will affect the outcome of the criminal investigation, although legal experts told the Times this could complicate the prosecutor’s case.
The settlement ends only one part of the fallout from the “Rust” tragedy. The production and Baldwin are still facing multiple lawsuits in Los Angeles and New Mexico.
“Throughout this difficult process, everyone has maintained a specific desire to do what is best for Halyna’s son. We are grateful to everyone who helped resolve this tragic and painful situation,” Baldwin written in an Instagram post Wednesday. Baldwin denied any wrongdoing.
However, if Baldwin was charged with a crime, the potential conditions of his release could prevent him from returning to the film set or interacting with potential witnesses, such as Souza.
“The district attorney has no opinion on film production schedules,” Brewer said. “However, if there are charges in the case, pre-trial release conditions – such as a prohibition on using or possessing firearms or having contact with victims and witnesses – could have a serious impact on the production’s ability to proceed within the suggested timelines.”
Several other producers as well as Rust Productions were also defendants in the lawsuit.
“We are thrilled that the parties have come together to resolve this matter which, subject to court approval, marks an important milestone in celebrating Halyna’s life and honoring her work,” Rust Movie said. Productions LLC through its attorney, Melina Spadone of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw. Pitman.
In a statement, Souza said he plans to return to film.
“In my own attempts at healing, any decision to return to complete the making of the film could only make sense to me if it was done with input from Matt and the Hutchins family,” he said in a statement. communicated. “While certainly bittersweet, I am happy that together we are now finishing what Halyna and I started. All of my efforts on this film will be dedicated to honoring Halyna’s legacy and making her proud. This is a privilege to see this in his name.
The complaint was filed in February in Santa Fe against the film’s production companies, producers, other crew members, and Baldwin.
The lawsuit alleged that Baldwin and other producers of the low-budget film sacrificed the safety of crew members by hiring inexperienced crew members and ignoring safety concerns expressed earlier by crew operators. shooting.
The suit named gunsmith Hannah Gutierrez Reed, alleging she was responsible for maintaining the weapons on set and did not check that the revolver or ammunition were safe before first assistant director Dave Halls don’t give the gun to Baldwin. The complaint also accused Halls of failing to verify that the revolver was safe.
Lawyers for the Hutchins family also named Baldwin, who the lawsuit says refused to practice the ‘cross-draw’ maneuver he was practicing that day – just four feet from Hutchins and the other members. of crew. Baldwin denied guilt and said he did not pull the trigger that discharged the bullet that hit Hutchins.
The other defendants in the civil case, including Gutierrez Reed and Halls, did not appear to be part of the settlement. However, if the judge approves the settlement, the allegations against the other parties will also be resolved.
“Hannah is grateful that this settlement benefits the Hutchins family and that the parties were able to constructively resolve the civil lawsuit,” said Jason Bowles, lead attorney for Gutierrez Reed. “We hope the district attorney’s office also recognizes that justice has been served with respect to this tragic accident and chooses not to pursue criminal charges.”
Gloria Allred, attorney for script supervisor Mamie Mitchell, who has an ongoing lawsuit against the producers, said her client was “very pleased that Halyna’s son and family have reached a settlement that they believe is fair for them. However, Granny will continue her pursuit of justice in her civil case, and she will also be willing to testify in a criminal case if one is filed.
Allred added that Mitchell, who stood next to Hutchins when she was shot, will not join the production when it resumes because “she’s too traumatized to come back to this set.”