Alec Baldwin has accused several crew members from Rust of negligence in a new lawsuit after he was handed a live gun on the movie set that went off and struck two people, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
Baldwin was practicing drawing an old-fashioned revolver on the set of the western Rust on October 21st, 2021 when the gun he was told was “cold” discharged, striking Hutchins in the chest and director Joel Souza in the clavicle. The actor, who was also a producer on the film, has maintained his innocence in the accident, though he settled a lawsuit from Hutchin’s family earlier this year.
Baldwin’s own lawsuit comes as a cross-complaint after he was sued by script supervisor Mamie Mitchell for emotional distress last year. The actor instead blames several crew members for the accident, accusing them of negligence for handing him a loaded gun. The lawsuit names armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, first assistant director Dave Halls, crew member Sarah Zachry, and gun and ammunition supplier Seth Kenney, arguing that each person failed to maintain safety on the Rust set.
“This tragedy happened because live bullets were delivered to the set and loaded into the gun,” the lawsuit sates (per The New York Times). It accuses Gutierrez-Reed, Halls, and Zachry of not properly checking the gun and bullets despite Halls declaring it safe before handing Baldwin the gun and Zachry being in charge of ensuring safety as the set’s prop master. The suit also accuses Kenney of keeping his weapons and ammunition in “disarray,” citing photos of “haphazardly” stored ammunition. Gutierrez-Reed and Halls were also criticized for poor weapon management; the lawsuit cites an FBI report detailing live bullets found across the set, including in a bandoleer Baldwin wore on the day of the accident.
Gutierrez-Reed and Halls have a history of troubling safety protocols — so much so that several crew members walked off the Rust set to protest unsafe working conditions just hours before the tragedy occurred. A Consequence report found that Rust was only 24-year-old Gutierrez-Reed’s second gig as an armorer. On her first job, the Nicolas Cage Western The Old Way, she made several dangerous rookie mistakes, including firing blanks without making announcements and carrying several firearms in an unsafe manner. Halls, meanwhile, was no rookie, and apparently felt so comfortable as an assistant director that he would often hurry through safety meetings, if not skip them altogether.
Baldwin could still face charges for his role in Hutchins’ shooting. The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office delivered its report to prosecutors last month, though its findings have not been revealed to the public.
Despite all this, production on Rust is set to resume early next year.