Alec Baldwin wanted to finish 'Rust' after fatal shooting, legal filing says

Series of lawsuit have been filed after death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins

Actor Alec Baldwin was holding a Colt gun during a rehearsal for the low-budget Western when it discharged a live round, killing Halyna Hutchins. AFP
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US actor Alec Baldwin wanted to finish filming Rust in the weeks after the fatal on-set shooting of a cinematographer, new legal documents showed on Friday.

Baldwin was holding a Colt gun during a rehearsal for the low-budget Western in New Mexico in October when it discharged a live round, killing Halyna Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza.

The film was abandoned amid recriminations over who was to blame for the fatal incident, with allegations of unsafe practices and claims of corner-cutting.

But an arbitration filing on Friday in Los Angeles showed Baldwin had sought to resurrect the stalled project.

“Baldwin made an exhaustive effort to contact the Rust cast in the hope of acquiring their support to finish the film,” said the filing by Baldwin's lawyer to an arbitration service.

“He did so both with the intent of honouring Halyna's legacy by completing her last work and of compensating [Halyna's husband Matt] Hutchins and his son from the film's profits.

“Depending on the success of Rust upon its completion and release, this additional component of the settlement would likely have equalled millions of dollars.”

A series of lawsuits have been filed since the shooting, including by Hutchins's husband, in which he claimed “substantial” damages against Baldwin and other producers.

It was this lawsuit, Friday's filing says, that derailed the plan to finish the film.

The arbitration document seeks chiefly to insulate Baldwin and his production company — producers on the movie — from the effect of lawsuits, arguing that the former 30 Rock star had no responsibility for the business side of the film.

It cites a clause in the contract he had with “Rust LLC”, the company formed to make the movie, saying he is “entitled to immediate indemnification from respondents arising out of or connected to the Rust litigations".

In December, Baldwin told ABC that he does not feel guilty for Hutchins's death and believed the weapon he was handling to be safe.

“I feel that someone is responsible for what happened and I can't say who that is. But I know it's not me,” Baldwin said.

Law enforcement agencies in New Mexico are conducting a criminal investigation into the incident, including into how live ammunition could have found its way on to the set.

Investigators have not filed criminal charges but have refused to rule them out against anyone involved, including Baldwin.

Updated: March 11, 2022, 8:59 PM