The family of a cinematographer shot and killed by Alec Baldwin on the set of the film “Rust” has agreed to settle a lawsuit against the actor and the movie’s producers, and production will resume on the project in January.
“We have reached a settlement, subject to court approval, for our wrongful death case against the producers of Rust, including Alec Baldwin,” said a statement Wednesday from Matthew Hutchins, widow of the cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and a plaintiff in the lawsuit along with their nine-year-old son Andros.
“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.”
The agreement is a rare piece of positive news for Baldwin, who has had a turbulent year since the October 21 shooting. The actor, who was also a producer on the film, was pointing a gun at Hutchins when it went off, killing her and wounding the director, Joel Souza. They had been inside a small church during set-up for filming a scene.
He announced the settlement agreement in an Instagram post.
“Throughout this difficult process, everyone has maintained the specific desire to do what is best for Halyna’s son,” Baldwin said in the post. “We are grateful to everyone who contributed to the resolution of this tragic and painful situation.”
Baldwin has said the gun went off accidentally and that he did not pull the trigger. But a recent FBI forensic report found the weapon could not not have fired unless the trigger was pulled.
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New Mexico’s Office of the Medical Investigator determined the shooting was an accident following the completion of an autopsy and a review of law enforcement reports.
“I have no interest in engaging in recriminations or attribution of blame (to the producers or Mr Baldwin),” Matthew Hutchins said in the statement. “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.”
The deal does not mean the legal troubles surrounding the film and the shooting are over.
At least four other lawsuits brought by crew members remain, and the state of New Mexico has granted funds to pay for possible criminal prosecutions.
Baldwin is also a defendant in an unrelated defamation lawsuit brought by the family of a Marine killed in Afghanistan.
The Hutchins family lawsuit, filed in February, was harshly critical of Baldwin, the films producers, and the other defendants: unit production manager Katherine Walters, assistant director David Halls, armorer Hannah Guttierez Reed, and ammunition supplier Seth Kenney.
Their “reckless conduct and cost-cutting measures led to the death of Halyna Hutchins,” plaintiffs’ attorney Brian Panish said at a news conference.
According to the lawsuit, had proper protocols been followed, “Halyna Hutchins would be alive and well, hugging her husband and nine-year-old son.”
The lawsuit said industry standards call for using a rubber or similar prop gun during the setup, and there was no call for a real gun.
It also said that both Baldwin and Halls, who handed him the gun, should have checked the revolver for live bullets.___By ANDREW DALTON
AP Entertainment Writer