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A year after cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed in a shooting on the set of Rust, her family has settled a wrongful death suit with the production. The plan from the settlement is to resume shooting in January with her husband, Matthew Hutchins, as an executive producer.
“I have no interest in engaging in recriminations or attribution of blame (to the producers or Mr. Baldwin),” Hutchins said in a statement. “All of us believe 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.”
Under the deal, the filming of Rust will continue with “all the original principal players on board.” Further details of the settlement weren’t disclosed.
Alec Baldwin’s attorney Luke Nikas said in a statement, “Throughout this difficult process, everyone has maintained the specific desire to do what is best for Halyna’s son. We are grateful to everyone who contributed to the resolution of this tragic and painful situation.”
Rust Movie Productions, through its attorney Melina Spadone, added, “We are pleased the parties came together to resolve this matter, which, subject to court approval, marks an important step forward in celebrating Halyna’s life and honoring her work.”
The cinematographer, who was 42 at the time of her death, was killed Oct. 21, 2021, when a prop gun held by Baldwin discharged. Her family sued the production in February, alleging at least 15 violations of industry standards on set. The suit pointed to the absence of armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed from the room when the actor received the weapon from the first assistant director and said that it was unnecessary for him to use a revolver to line up the shot.
The production was plagued by safety issues, allegedly shirking industrywide norms related to the use of guns by cutting corners to shoot the movie on a shoestring budget, according to several suits against the producers of the movie, including ones from Hutchins and script supervisor Mamie Mitchell. There were two other misfires before Hutchins was killed, with Baldwin’s stunt double accidentally firing a blank and a prop master shooting herself in the foot.
In a statement, director Joel Souza said, “In my own attempts to heal, any decision to return to finish directing the film could only make sense for me if it was done with the involvement of Matt and the Hutchins family. Though certainly bittersweet, I am pleased that together, we will now complete what Halyna and I started. My every effort on this film will be devoted to honoring Halyna’s legacy and making her proud. It is a privilege to see this through on her behalf.”
The Santa Fe County District Attorney’s Office is still mulling whether to pursue charges. It said in a statement that the proposed settlement won’t impact the decision.
“While civil suits are settled privately and often involve financial awards, criminal cases deal only in facts,” the statement reads. “If the facts and evidence warrant criminal charges under New Mexico law then charges will be brought. No one is above the law.”
In April, the New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Bureau found numerous violations of safety protocols on the set of Rust, including the introduction of live ammunition and a failure to train crew on how to properly handle firearms. It issued the highest level citation and maximum fine allowable by state law of $136,793.
The FBI determined in August that the gun couldn’t have been fired without a pull of the trigger, which Baldwin has maintained that he didn’t do.
Oct. 5, 11:20 a.m. This story has been updated with a statement from the Santa Fe County District Attorney’s Office to The Hollywood Reporter.
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