Alec Baldwin and ‘Rust’ Producers Sued by Crew Members Story-level
Three additional members of the film crew have sued Alec Baldwin and other producers of the low-budget western “Rust,” alleging that “dangerous cost cutting” and reckless behavior contributed to the deadly accident that continues to haunt them.
The lawsuit, alleging negligence and intentional conflict of emotional distress, was filed Friday in state court in Santa Fe, NM, by crew members Ross Addiego, Doran Curtin and Reese Price. It names Baldwin, his company El Dorado Pictures and Rust Movie Productions LLC, and adds to the tangle of civil litigation stemming from the Oct. 1 incident. January 21, 2021 shooting that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
The most recent filing, containing new details about the shooting, alleges that the tragedy was caused, in large part, by the producers’ desire to prioritize speed and cost containment over the safety of crew members.
Hutchins died, director Joel Souza suffered a gunshot wound, and other crew members have dealt with the physical and emotional toll without support from the producers, according to the lawsuit.
“Defendants take shortcuts; he ignored reports of multiple unscripted firearm discharges; and he persisted, in a hurry and understaffed, to finish the film,” says the lawsuit filed by prominent Albuquerque attorney Jacob G. Vigil.
A Baldwin spokesman declined to comment Monday.
Rust’s producers, who also declined to comment, have previously denied allegations of wrongdoing.
The lawsuit comes more than a year after the tragedy and as criminal cases begin in New Mexico.
Baldwin and gunsmith Hannah Gutierrez Reed were charged with two counts of manslaughter and negligent use of a deadly weapon. Last week, Baldwin pleaded not guilty. An attorney for Gutierrez Reed, who acknowledged loading the gun that day, said she will soon plead not guilty.
Deputy Chief David Halls separately reached a plea bargain with prosecutors to plead no contest to a misdemeanor charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon in exchange for a suspended sentence of six months of unsupervised probation.
Late last week, Rust Movie Productions, the company behind the troubled western, reached a settlement with the New Mexico Office of Health and Safety. As part of the deal, the state agency agreed to lower a citation it issued last year against the production and reduce the financial penalty to $100,000 from $136,793, the maximum under the law.
Initially, the agency struck a strident tone, saying the producers “demonstrated a clear disregard” for employee safety, pointing out that on-set safety procedures were not followed and previous accidental gun discharges were not investigated.
The Addiego, Curtin and Price lawsuit alleges that the producers passed over “a highly trained and experienced firearms specialist” who was willing to work on Baldwin’s film, and instead hired Gutierrez Reed, who previously he had served as chief of arms in only one. Movie.
“This decision was motivated by Defendants’ goal of quick and cheap production,” the lawsuit says, noting that Gutierrez Reed, then 24, took on a dual role as gunsmith and key prop assistant for the film.
“Other gunsmith candidates cautioned against spending time in heavy production that required handling multiple operable firearms nearly every day,” according to the lawsuit. “But Defendants went ahead with Gutierrez Reed, an inexperienced gunsmith who would do two jobs for the price of one.”
The lawsuit notes that the fatal day began “tense” after seven of the eight camera crew members walked off the job amid complaints about the alleged inattention to safety and the lack of nearby lodging. After lunch, the three crew members huddled into a small space, the little stave church, with Baldwin, Hutchins, Souza, and Halls.
No one bothered to check the gun in the church before the rehearsal, the lawsuit says.
Crew members said they had no warning that Baldwin was going to fire his weapon, and they were not wearing earplugs, eye protection, or safety shields. All said they suffered physical effects from the blast, including trauma, hearing loss and vibratory shock. In the months that followed, they dealt with other trauma associated with the shooting, but the defendants “provided no diagnostic services or significant emotional or mental health services,” according to the lawsuit.
“Despite this, the plaintiffs have independently sought support in dealing with their injuries, including, but not limited to, insomnia, anxiety, depression, and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder,” the lawsuit states.
Addiego was the dolly operator on the film, responsible for operating the mechanisms for camera movement. Curtin was the set’s wardrobe manager, overseeing costumes and props, and Price was the lead wardrobe manager, managing the non-electrical support crew.
Earlier, at least two other crew members, script supervisor Mamie Mitchell and gaffer Serge Svetnoy, sued the producers, claiming the set was unsafe and they were in danger during rehearsal. Set medic Cherlyn Schaefer also south.
“With his right hand, Defendant Baldwin repeatedly removed the revolver from the holster over his left shoulder and pointed it in the direction of the crew members in front of him, including the plaintiffs,” the lawsuit states.
“On his third draw, defendant Baldwin cocked the turret hammer with the trigger pulled and fired it toward the crew striking Hutchins and injuring plaintiffs,” the suit states.
The production plans to resume filming this spring in Montana with Souza, Baldwin and other original cast members.
Staff writer Anousha Sakoui contributed to this report.