‘Reckless and cost-cutting’ Alec Baldwin is sued by family of Rust cinematographer Halyna Hutchins as they recreate moment he accidentally shot and killed her with prop gun on New Mexico set
Lawyers for slain Rust cinematographer Halyna Hutchins have recreated her death in a 3D animation showing how Alec Baldwin shot her in the chest with a prop gun on the New Mexico set as they sue the actor and the low-budget film’s producers for wrongful death.
Baldwin was holding a Colt revolver on set in Santa Fe during a rehearsal when he fired a live round on October 21, 2021, killing Hutchins.
He has maintained that it was Hutchins herself who asked him to point the gun just off camera and toward her armpit before it went off. Director Joel Souza also was wounded in the shooting on the Bonanza Creek Ranch film set near Santa Fe.
The civil lawsuit, filed in New Mexico on Tuesday, is seeking unspecified but ‘substantial’ damages, including punitive damages.
Attorney Brian Panish, representing Hutchins’ husband, Matthew Hutchins, and their young son, Andros, held a press conference in Los Angeles on Tuesday to announce the lawsuit against Baldwin and ‘others who are responsible for the safety on set, and whose reckless behavior and cost-cutting led to the senseless, tragic death of Halyna Hutchins,’ he said.
At least three other lawsuits have been filed over the shooting, but this is the first directly tied to one of the two people shot.
According to Panish, his firm has conducted an independent investigation that he said uncovered ‘numerous violations of industry standards’ by Baldwin and the other defendants named in the complaint, among them Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, assistant director David Halls and several production companies attached to the project.
A video created by the attorneys showed a 3D animated recreation of the shooting, culminating with a computer-generated avatar representing Baldwin accepting the Colt from Halls, pointing it in Hutchins’ direction, and firing.
The animation shows that the bullet in the chamber was live and not a ‘dummy’ with a hole drilled into it. The round strikes Hutchins, who clutches her chest and collapses in the video.
The law firm handling the case produced this video that shows an animated recreation of the shooting, complete with a Baldwin avatar
In the video, Baldwin accepts the revolver and points it at Hutchins, who is standing next to the camera in a church set
Baldwin fires, and the round strikes Hutchins, 42, in the chest (left). Moments later Hutchins collapses on the floor after being shot (right)
The animation shows that the round in the gun was not a typical ‘dummy’ bullet with a hole drilled in the middle
Alec Baldwin was spotted returning from an early morning shopping trip at a Walgreens in Manhattan on Tuesday, just hours before a wrongful death lawsuit against him was announced
Baldwin claimed that he pointed the gun and pulled the hammer back at Hutchins’ direction
As of Tuesday afternoon, Baldwin, 62, has not commented on this latest lawsuit. He and wife Hilaria, 37, were seen in the West Village in Manhattan this morning, returning from a shopping trip to a Walgreens pharmacy.
Baldwin has previously said that while on the set, at Hutchins’ direction, he pulled the hammer back and that it fired when he let go. He has said he didn’t know the gun contained a live round.
The attorneys said in the video presented on Tuesday that Baldwin had ‘refused’ training for the kind of gun draw he was doing when he shot Hutchins.
The Hutchins family’s lawyers presented a list of ‘at least 15 industry standards’ Panish said the film producers had ignored on set.
These included failure to use a prop gun rather than a live weapon, a lack of individuals qualified to handle weapons on set at the time of the shooting, and lack of protective equipment for crew.
Text messages from camera operator Lane Luper show that he complained to a Rust producer about three accidental gun discharges and said the conditions were ‘super unsafe’
The mom-of-six looked a pained expression on her face while speaking on the phone
Wife Hilaria Baldwin accompanied her husband, holding a to-go cup of coffee
According to Panish, crew members had voiced complaints to producers about ‘super unsafe’ practices on set, including three accidental discharges preceding Hutchins’ shooting.
‘Rust’ camera assistant Lane Luper, who made the ‘super unsafe’ comment and quit on the eve of the shooting, told Good Morning America that there were only two safety meetings on set and said production did not take gun safety seriously.
‘I think with Rust, it was the perfect storm of the armorer, the assistant director, the culture that was on set, the rushing. It was everything,’ he said.
Law enforcement officials in New Mexico have described ‘some complacency’ in how weapons were handled on the set of Rust. They have yet to file any charges and have been working to determine where the live rounds found on set might have come from.
Baldwin (right) is seen walking with Matthew and Andros Hutchins in Santa Fe just three days after he shot and killed Halyna on set
Attorneys for Hutchins’ family allege in the complaint that Baldwin and others acted in a ‘reckless’ manner, leading to the cinematographer’s death. Pictured: a visibly shaken Baldwin speaks on the phone just after the shooting
The shooting took place on location at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe. Hutchins, 42, is pictured center left in bobble hat next to purple dress
Panish is suing Baldwin and other producers of Rust on behalf of her widowed husband, Matthew (far left) and their son, Andros (center)
Last month, nearly three months after the shooting, Baldwin turned over his cellphone to authorities in his home state of New York. They gathered information from the phone and provided it to Santa Fe County investigators, who had obtained a warrant for it.
Baldwin said he does not believe he will be criminally charged in the shooting.
The film’s script supervisor Mamie Mitchell and its lead camera operator, both of whom were standing a few feet away when Hutchins was shot, each filed a lawsuit over the trauma they went through.
Last month, lawyers for Baldwin appealed to have the second lawsuit thrown out. Representatives have said nothing in the allegations brought by Mitchell who suggested that anyone knew that the prop contained live ammunition leading up to the ‘unprecedented’ incident.
Mitchell’s complaint includes claims of assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, allegedly Baldwin ‘chose to play Russian Roulette with a loaded gun without checking it.’
In November, the low-budget movie’s chief lighting technician Serge Svetnoy sued Baldwin for negligence.
And the film’s armorer, Gutierrez Reed, who was named as a defendant in those lawsuits and blamed by some for the shooting, filed her own suit saying an ammunition supplier created dangerous conditions by including live ammunition in a box that was supposed to include only dummy rounds.
In an interview with ABC News in December, Baldwin said he felt incredible sadness over the the shooting, but not guilt.
‘Someone is responsible for what happened, and I can’t say who that is, but it’s not me,’ Baldwin said.
He said Hutchins had asked him to point the gun just off camera and toward her armpit before it went off.
‘I didn’t pull the trigger,’ Baldwin said. ‘I would never point a gun at anyone and pull the trigger at them. Never.’
Hutchins, 42, was born in the Soviet Union and described herself as an ‘adrenaline junkie’
He called Hutchins ‘somebody who was loved by everybody and admired by everybody who worked with her.’
Hutchins, 42, grew up on a remote Soviet military base and worked on documentary films in Eastern Europe before studying film in Los Angeles and embarking on a promising movie-making career.
On her Instagram page, Hutchins identified herself as a ‘restless dreamer’ and ‘adrenaline junkie.’
In a 2019 interview with American Cinematographer, which named her one of the year’s rising stars, she described herself as an ‘army brat’ drawn to movies because ‘there wasn’t that much to do outside.’ She would document herself parachuting and exploring caves, among other adventures, and through her work with British filmmakers, became ‘fascinated with storytelling based on real characters.’