Alec Baldwin and the family of Halyna Hutchins, the cinematographer killed by the actor on the set of Rust, have reached a settlement – currently subject to court approval – in the wrongful death case filed by the latter against the actor and his film’s production.
As first reported by Deadline on October 5th, Hutchins’ husband Matthew recently issued a statement wherein he announced, “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 cinematographer’s husband added before revealing that he will now be part of the film’s production team. “The filming of Rust, which I will now executive produce, will resume with all the original principal players on board in January 2023.”
“I have no interest in engaging in recriminations or attribution of blame (to the producers or Mr. Baldwin),” the surviving Hutchins further declared. “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.”
Melina Spadone of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, the attorney for Rust Movie Productions, LLC, said in a separate statement, “We are pleased the parties came together to resolve this matter, which, subject to court approval, marks an important step forward in celebrating Halyna’s life and honoring her work.”
On behalf of Baldwin, attorney Luke Nikas declared, “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.”
Offering his own thoughts in reaction to the news, Baldwin took to Instagram on Wednesday to likewise declare, “We are pleased to announce today the settlement of the civil case filed on behalf of the family of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.”
“Throughout this difficult process, everyone has maintained the specific desire to do what is best for Halyna’s son,” he added. “We are grateful to everyone who contributed to the resolution of this tragic and painful situation.”
Director Joel Souza, who was injured by the same bullet that killed the cinematographer, also issued a statement, asserting, “Those of us who were lucky enough to have spent time with Halyna knew her to be exceedingly talented, kind, creative, and a source of incredible positive energy.”
“I only wish the world had gotten to know her under different circumstances, as it surely would have through her amazing work,” he added. “In my own attempts to heal, any decision to return to finish directing the film could only make sense for me if it was done with the involvement of Matt and the Hutchins family.”
“Though certainly bittersweet, I am pleased that together, we will now complete what Halyna and I started,” Souza solmenly admitted. “My every effort on this film will be devoted to honoring Halyna’s legacy and making her proud. It is a privilege to see this through on her behalf.”
In February of this year, the family of Halyna Hutchins filed a lawsuit against Baldwin and several members of the film’s production team, via attorney Krystina Martinez, for wrongful death and loss of consortium.
The suit claimed that “Baldwin and the other Defendants in this case failed to perform industry standard safety checks and follow basic gun safety rules while using real guns to produce the movie Rust, with fatal consequences.”
“El Dorado Pictures, Rust Movie Productions, Thomasville Pictures, Short Porch Pictures, Brittany House Pictures, Calvary Media, and/or 3rd Shift Media,” were the production companies named in the lawsuit filed by the Hutchins family, as well as prop supplier Seth Kenney, Rust armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, props manager Sarah Zachry, and assistant director David Halls, the last of whom allegedly handed Baldwin the loaded weapon.
However, this surprising settlement does not let Baldwin off the hook just yet, as the actor has yet to receive the result of the investigation currently being carried out by the Santa Fe Sheriff’s office. New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies believes the actor could still be legally charged for the tragic incident.
“One of the possible defendants is well-known movie actor Alec Baldwin,” Carmack-Altwies reportedly informed the New Mexico Board of Finance on September 26th before requesting for an emergency injection of $635,000 to her investigation fund in order to allow her to counter Baldwin’s plausible team of well-paid attorneys.
Following the DA’s request, the Board of Finance would approve Carmack-Altwies emergency request in part, providing with the sum of $317,750 in additional funding.
“The report coming in in October means we will be under the gun – no pun intended – to get moving on these cases and to get these cases charged if that is what the facts warrant,” she added.
Further, the actor was first named in a legal lawsuit filed by Rust staffer Serge Svetnoy, who accused the incident of being “caused by the negligent acts and omission” of Baldwin, assistant director David Halls, armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, and several members of the production team, “as well as their agents, principals, and employers.”
In November of last year, a separate legal complaint was filed against Baldwin by Rust script supervisor Mamie Mitchell, who sued the actor for assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress on the grounds that he “intentionally, without just cause or excuse, cocked and fired the loaded gun even though the upcoming scene to be filmed did not call for the cocking and firing of the firearm.”
What’s more, FBI documents obtained by ABC News in August detailed how the the law enforcement agency’s invesigation had concluded that “the gun could not be made to fire without a pull of the trigger while the working internal components were intact and functional” with the firearm’s hammer fully cocked – a contradiction of Baldwin’s own recollection of the event.
In an infamous interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, Baldwin claimed that he was cocking the gun’s hammer when the fire arm went off, which contradicted the disgraced actor’s initial story wherein he claimed to have never cocked the gun.
“So I take the gun and I start to cock the gun. I’m not going to pull the trigger. I said, ‘Do you see this?’ [Halyna Hutchins] says, ‘Well, just cheat it down and tilt it down a little bit like that.’ And I cock the gun and I go, ‘Can you see that? Can you see that? Can you see that?’ And she says…and I let go of the hammer of the gun and the gun goes off. I let go of the hammer of the gun and the gun goes off,” Baldwin told Stephanopoulos in the now-infamous interview.
Baldwin would later add that he was not actually cocking the gun before it went off, killing Halyna Hutchins and injuring Joel Souza, explaining that he remembers pulling the gun’s hammer “as far back as I could without cocking the actual…”