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One year after Alec Baldwin was involved in a tragic shooting on the set of Rust, the star says he has lost multiple acting opportunities, noting in an interview with CNN in August that five roles disappeared. Yet since the Oct. 21, 2021, death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who died when Baldwin pulled the trigger of a prop gun that was not supposed to contain live rounds, the actor has maintained a steady stream of work not all that different from the low-budget fare he appeared in before Rust.
In part, he has benefactors involved in Rust to thank for his continued employment, with upcoming titles including the sleep-walking-centric False Awakening and 97 Minutes, his first acting gig after briefly retreating from film sets.
“You don’t abandon your good friends at the drop of any trouble,” 97 Minutes screenwriter Pavan Grover tells The Hollywood Reporter of continuing to work with Baldwin.
The disaster thriller, shot in the U.K. in February, with Rust producer Anjul Nigam also onscreen and executive producing, faced pressure to switch Baldwin out for another actor, Grover recounts.
“He’s had a rough year with all the fallout that happened. A lot of projects dropped him because of all the controversy,” Grover says.
But the screenwriter and producer, whose day job is as a spinal surgeon in Houston, Texas, says he penned 97 Minutes with Baldwin in the lead role and never considered writing him out of the script. Grover also says that returning to work on 97 Minutes helped Baldwin heal. (The actor has called the death of Hutchins the worst thing that has ever happened to him.)
“Getting out of the country, getting away from that 24/7 media storm and connecting with his cast and connect with the crew was very therapeutic for him,” Grover recalls.
97 Minutes is in postproduction ahead of an expected February 2023 release by Vertical Entertainment.
As Baldwin looks to line up other gigs, many are low-budget action pics that will keep the veteran actor collecting paychecks amid possible legal woes. He and fellow Rust producers are named in a civil suit brought by the film’s script supervisor, though another suit brought by Hutchins’ husband, Matthew Hutchins, settled on Oct. 5.
Meanwhile, the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office criminal investigation continues. Insiders note that the results of the investigation could have an effect on Baldwin’s career prospects. But observers note that regardless of the outcome, he likely could continue to star in the low-budget independent features that have made up the majority of his credits, as of late. Actors like Baldwin who are no longer at the peak of their careers can still find seven-figure paydays, sometimes for just a few days of work, on such projects.
Elsewhere, Baldwin and Rust producer Nigam, who recently launched Persona Entertainment as their indie banner, are aiming to restart production on the Western in January 2023, possibly in California, after reaching the settlement with Hutchins’ husband (who will now be an executive producer).
At Cannes, Baldwin and Nigam unveiled their banner’s first project, False Awakening, and began preselling writer-director Ben Tomson’s psychological thriller, now in preproduction. Baldwin would executive produce and play a psychologist who helps the film’s main character navigate sleep-walking episodes that hinder his life.
Other possible movie gigs for Baldwin include Wayne Kramer’s indie Blue Before Blood, a cop thriller set against the backdrop of a divided NYPD. That would reteam Baldwin with Kramer, who wrote and directed 2003 film The Cooler, which earned Baldwin an Oscar nomination for portraying the volcanic Shelly Kaplow, considered among his most successful roles.
Baldwin is also set to star as a former CIA station chief alongside Olga Kurylenko and Alex Pettyfer in the action spy thriller Chief of Station, which is scheduled to shoot in Budapest later this year.
Baldwin has a number of projects in the can, including Supercell — a Twister-style disaster movie about storm chasers — which Rust’s Nigam also executive produced and starred in. The project, which filmed in 2021, hailed from Rust producers Thomasville Pictures and marked the final film performance by Anne Heche. It’s from director Herbert James Winterstern and the Highland Film Group.
And in March, Baldwin was in Italy to star alongside brother Daniel Baldwin in two animated comedy family films, Kid Santa and Billie’s Magic World, from Minerva Pictures and ILBE. Both films, which combined live-action actors with animated characters, were directed by Francesco Cinquemani, who directed Baldwin in the 2015 dystopian sci-fi thriller Andròn: The Black Labyrinth.
Baldwin’s résumé, even before the Rust tragedy, was a comedown for a Hollywood actor who starred in classic films like Beetlejuice and Martin Scorsese’s The Departed, as well as the TV series 30 Rock. He more recently earned an Emmy nomination for playing former President Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live.
Baldwin says it’s gotten worse amid the Rust fallout. Said the actor to CNN in August: “I got fired from another job yesterday. There I was all set to go to a movie, jump on a plane. … I’ve been talking with these guys for months and they told me yesterday, ‘We don’t want to do the film with you because of this.’”
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