It looks like “Rust” is looking to avoid tragedy for a second time and will not return to film in New Mexico.
Over one year ago, in October 2021, actor Alec Baldwin was holding a gun that went off, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza. Baldwin has claimed he did not pull the trigger on the gun, which somehow contained live rounds.
In February, Hutchins’ family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against “Rust” producers, which included Alec Baldwin. Earlier this month, the lawsuit was dropped, and husband Matthew Hutchins was named executive producer as one of the terms to allow the film to continue filming in January, even as the Santa Fe police department continues its criminal investigation into how live rounds ended up on a movie set.
‘Rust’ Producers Seek New Location To Begin Filming As Criminal Investigation Continues
On Thursday morning, Deadline reported that producers for the Western film are currently scouting locations in California to stay on schedule to begin filming in January 2023. Currently, locations near Palm Springs and the Nevada border are being considered, although there is no definite location as of yet.
One insider told the outlet that it is “emotionally difficult” for the crew to return to New Mexico to finish up the movie, saying, “It’s emotionally difficult for the crew and the cast to return to the same place.”
Melina Spadone, the attorney for Rust Movie Productions LLC, made a statement to Deadline, saying, “The production of Rust will not return to New Mexico. The production is considering other locations, including in California, but no decisions have been made.”
Although the original cast is set to return, sources told the outlet that the crew needs to find a new line producer, a new armorer, a new assistant director, and a new DP.
Is It Even Possible To Continue Filming In New Mexico After OSHA Violations?
Earlier this year, the “Rust” production team was faced with several fines from the New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Bureau after they concluded that several “willful and serious” workplace violations took place on the set of the Western film.
Deadline claims that “one high-level government source in New Mexico” told them that no one on the “Rust” team had actually contacted them about returning to film in New Mexico. However, if they did, their outstanding debts to the state would have to be “cleared” first, before filming could resume.
Right now, the “Rust” production team is facing a $136,793 fine for the alleged safety violations, although their legal team is currently disputing that charge.
Sources also told Deadline that there might be “certain parties” in New Mexico that have yet to be paid for their services on the film set. Earlier this year, the production team had settled the amount owed to security for staying on the Bonanza Creek Ranch months after the set had shut down production. One source close to the production team told Deadline that “all monies will be paid up” before filming resumes in January.
Alec Baldwin, Matt Hutchins & More Make Statements Regarding The Return To Filming
In a brief Instagram statement, the “30 Rock” said that he was “pleased” that the civil suit had been dropped earlier this month.
“We are pleased to announce today the settlement of the civil case filed on behalf of the family of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins,” Baldwin wrote. “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.”
In his own statement, Matthew Hutchins said, “We have reached a settlement, subject to court approval, for our wrongful death case against the producers of Rust, including Alec Baldwin and Rust Movie Productions, LLC. As part of that settlement, our case will be dismissed.”
“The filming of Rust, which I will now executive produce, will resume with all the original principal players on board in January 2023,” he continued.
“I have no interest in engaging in recriminations or attribution of blame (to the producers or Mr. Baldwin),” Hutchins added. “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.”