By Andrew Hay
(Reuters) – When Western movie “Rust” resumes filming it will not be in New Mexico, the state where actor Alec Baldwin fatally shot the film’s cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in 2021, a lawyer for the production company said on Thursday.
The announcement followed a civil lawsuit settlement on Oct. 5, between Baldwin, Rust producers and Hutchins’ family under which filming will restart in January with the same principal actors and director. Matthew Hutchins, Halyna’s husband, will serve as executive producer.
Baldwin and others could still face criminal charges over the death of the 42-year-old cinematographer in October 2021 at a ranch near Santa Fe, New Mexico, a local prosecutor said after the settlement.
“The production of Rust will not return to New Mexico,” attorney Melina Spadone said in a statement on behalf of Rust Movie Productions. “The production is considering other locations, including in California, but no decisions have been made.”
The movie will have a safety officer on set when filming resumes and production will be under agreements with industry labor unions, as was the case with the original production, the company said in the statement.
Hutchins was shot dead by Baldwin when a revolver he was using during a rehearsal fired a live round that also hit director Joel Souza, who survived. The “30 Rock” and “Saturday Night Live” actor denied responsibility for Hutchins’ death and said live rounds should never have been allowed on the set.
New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies has said she may make a decision this month on possible criminal charges. Investigators have focused on who handled the pistol Baldwin fired.
New Mexico’s Office of the Medical Investigator ruled the shooting an accident as the gun did not appear to have been deliberately loaded with a live round.
The state’s worker safety agency fined Rust Movie Productions the maximum amount possible for what it called “willful” safety lapses leading to Hutchins’ death.
(Reporting By Andrew Hay in Taos, New Mexico; Editing by Bill Berkrot)