The lawsuits for the tragedy that occurred on the set of the movie Rust are piling up. On Monday, one of the most important arrived: Matt Hutchins, the husband of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who was accidentally shot dead in October by Alec Baldwin during a rehearsal, is suing the actor and producer of the movie for the incident, which took place on Bonanza Creek ranch. The legal action has cranked up the pressure on Baldwin and his company, who are facing a number of court cases, as are other figures involved, such as first assistant director David Halls, who should have checked the weapon that was discharged on the set, and Hannah Gutiérrez Reed, the armorer.
“Had Defendant Baldwin, the Producers, and the Rust Production Companies taken adequate precautions to ensure firearm safety on the set of Rust or if basic firearm safety rules had been followed on the set of Rust on Oct. 21, 2021,” the lawsuit said, “Halyna Hutchins would be alive and well, hugging her husband and nine-year old son.”
The new lawsuit will not have come as a surprise to Baldwin. Speaking in December in his first public interview since the tragedy, which also saw director Joel Souza wounded by the bullet, the actor and producer of Rust explained that he was expecting the legal action, telling ABC network that he would be “surprised” if such a lawsuit wasn’t filed.
Matt Hutchins, 45, is an attorney who studied at Harvard Law School and at the University of South Carolina. He’s an associate at law firm Latham & Watkins, which is present in 14 countries and covers everything from financial cases to intellectual property issues. Hutchins works in Los Angeles, where he lived with his wife and their nine-year-old son Aldous.
While some details about the incident have been made public, the Rust tragedy still has no official explanation. The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office is yet to explain how a real bullet got onto the set. Baldwin said afterwards that he did not feel guilty about the death. “I would never point a gun at anyone and pull the trigger. Never,” he told ABC.
According to his version of events, he was rehearsing a scene with a Colt revolver. He pulled back the hammer and showed the movement he was going to do in front of the camera being held by Halyna Hutchins. When he let the hammer go, the bullet was fired, hitting Hutchings and Souza, who was treated in hospital for his injuries.
In November, barely days after the tragedy, one of the crew members on the set, Serge Svetnoy, filed the first lawsuit against Baldwin and other defendants for having “failed to act with reasonable care, violated relevant and prevailing industry standards, and negligently exercised their assigned and assumed duties in the filming of this motion picture.” “They should never, ever, have had live rounds on this set,” said Svetnoy’s attorney at a press conference. A script supervisor has also begun legal action.
During his interview with ABC, Baldwin said he was surprised that these lawsuits had arrived before that of Hutchins – something that finally happened this week.