After Tragedy on Set, ‘Rust’ Producers Announce Plans to Finish the Movie

The producers of Rust say they are determined to finish the movie, even after cinematographer Halyna Hutchins lost her life when a gun held by Alec Baldwin fired a live round of ammunition, killing Hutchins and wounding writer-director Joel Souza.

Souza, who was hit in the shoulder, will be returning to the project, which now counts Hutchins’s widowed husband, Matthew Hutchins, as one of its executive producers. (Lawyers for Hutchins did not immediately reply to a request for comment.) The current plan is to resume filming in the spring, the producers said in a statement. A previous announcement that the movie would begin completion in January did not come to fruition. 

“Though bittersweet, I am grateful that a brilliant and dedicated new production team joining former cast and crew are committed to completing what Halyna and I started,” Souza said in the statement. “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.” 

Last month, Santa Fe district attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies announced criminal charges against Baldwin, armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, and assistant director Dave Halls. Halls accepted a plea bargain, but the other two cases of involuntary manslaughter are moving closer to trial. Baldwin’s lawyers have contested his charge, noting that the “firearm enhancement” that adds a mandatory five-year sentencing was written into law after the shooting incident. 

In addition to Matthew Hutchins, the slate of producers has also added Grant Hill, a two-time Academy Award nominee for producing best-picture contenders The Thin Red Line and The Tree of Life.

Cinematographer Bianca Cline (Marcel the Shell With Shoes On) will step into the director of photography void left by Hutchins. Cline’s representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but the producers’ announcement said that Cline was hired “at [Matthew] Hutchins’ behest and with his blessing and support” and that she “will complete Halyna’s vision for the film.” It also said she would donate her salary “ to charity in honor of Halyna.”

Some of Rust’s original crew have pledged to return to finish their work, among them stunt coordinator Allan Graf, hair and makeup department heads Anna Williams and Stacy Lockhart, and costume designer Terese Davis.

Among the new additions to the crew are safety officers Gary Jensen and Paul Jordan, line producer Stephen Marinaccio, and production designer Christine Brandt.

An exact start date was not confirmed. The independent film does not currently have a distributor.

If Rust actually is completed, there will be not just one movie but two that ultimately result. The producers said they had also authorized director Rachel Mason and producer Julee Metz to make a documentary about Halyna Hutchins, her untimely death, and the completion of the movie.

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