‘Rust’ film, Halyna Hutchins’ family reach settlement; filming to resume in 2023

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Rust Movie Productions announced they reached a settlement with the family of slain cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

The settlement was announced in a release Wednesday. It marks the end of a wrongful death case filed in February on behalf of the Hutchins family against the producers of Rust, including actor Alec Baldwin.

According to Wednesday’s announcement, Rust will resume production in January 2023 with all “original principal players.”

Matthew Hutchins, the husband of Halyna Hutchins, will serve as the executive producer.

“I have no interest in engaging in recriminations or attribution of blame [to the producers of Mr. Baldwin]. 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,” Matthew Hutchins said in a release.

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was fatally shot and director Joel Souza was injured when authorities say Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun on the set of Rust near Santa Fe.

Souza is set to return to finish the film when production resumes in January.

“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,” Souza said. “Though certainly bittersweet, I am pleased that together, we will now complete what Halyna and I started. My every effort in 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 August, New Mexico’s Office of the Medical Investigator ruled the shooting was an accident but a criminal investigation is still ongoing.

In September, the state Board of Finance greenlit more than $317,000 to cover the cost of investigating potential charges involving the Rust shooting – after Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies initially requested $635,500 in August. The district attorney also announced, if charges are warranted, her office planned to prosecute as many as four people, with Alec Baldwin as a possible defendant.

A spokesperson for the district attorney’s office released this statement Wednesday:

“The proposed settlement announced today in Matthew Hutchins’ wrongful death case against Rust movie producers, including Alec Baldwin, in the death of Halyna Hutchins will have no impact on District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altweis’ ongoing investigation or her ultimate decision whether to file criminal charges in the case. While civil suits are settled privately and often involve financial awards, criminal cases deal only in facts. If the facts and evidence warrant criminal charges under New Mexico law then charges will be brought. No one is above the law.” 

MORE: State grants half of requested funding to DA for potential ‘Rust’ prosecutions

Baldwin said in December he did not pull the trigger during the shooting. The actor alleged the gun fired when he pulled the hammer back and released it.

In April, New Mexico workplace safety regulators issued the maximum possible fine of $136,793 against Rust Movie Productions for firearms safety failures on the Rust movie set where Hutchins was fatally shot. Producers responded, saying that they did not violate safety protocols and that “appropriate corrective actions were taken, including briefings of cast and crew.”

The shooting has prompted calls for more safety protocols on TV and film sets.

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