The bereaved family members of the revered late cinematographer Halyna Hutchins are taking Alec Baldwin to court in the wake of Hutchins being killed on set of the film Rust.
On Tuesday, a lawsuit filed in New Mexico accused the actor of gross negligence and choosing money over a human life. He was named alongside seven producers of Rust, as well as some crew members. The lawsuit, which was obtained by Variety, includes text messages and emails sent by camera assistant Lane Luper that emphasized the issues with both staffing and accidental discharges on set prior to Hutchin’s death.
It goes on to allege that Baldwin personally violated many rules for safely handling firearms and that he committed reckless discharge of a deadly weapon, “which is a criminal offense in the State of New Mexico.”
Hutchins was tragically killed on the Rust set while filming in New Mexico on Oct. 21 by a gunshot wound to the chest from a prop gun that Baldwin allegedly fired. Her death sparked an outcry across the industry. Baldwin was reportedly practicing a complicated maneuver while preparing for a scene and pointed the gun directly at Hutchins.
In the weeks following the tragedy, Baldwin’s public statements on the accidental shooting reiterated his claims that he didn’t pull the trigger that killed a crew member.
The crux of the ongoing investigation into how Hutchins was killed has been centered around the mystery of how a live round of ammunition found its way into a prop. The hired armourer, Hannah Reed Gutierrez, reportedly assumed that she was working with fake rounds, while the more seasoned assistant director, Dave Halls, failed to make sure that only dummy rounds were lodged into the prop gun. Gutierrez, who was named alongside Baldwin in the lawsuit filed by Hutchins’ family, is suing a crew member who supplied ammunition, Seth Kenney, for allegedly mixing live ammunition with dummy rounds.
Baldwin and his embattled team already responded to a lawsuit filed by a crew member Mamie Mitchell, who was a script advisor on the movie. The defendants are insisting that this is just a case of a “workplace accident” that needs to be settled through applicable channels, as opposed to a courtroom.
It’s doubtful that the same argument can be made in the case of Halyna Hutchins and her untimely death.