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"Rust" to Resume Production with Alec Baldwin Despite Manslaughter charges

Tue 24 Jan 2023 | 03:33 PM
Yara Sameh

Hollywood actor Alec Baldwin will finish filming the western film "Rust", despite recently being charged with involuntary manslaughter, a felony punishable by prison, of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

Melina Spadone, attorney for Rust Movie Productions, LLC, confirmed Monday that filming for "Rust" is on track to be completed with Baldwin in the lead role and with Joel Souza returning as director.

Spadone also affirmed that there will be on-set safety supervisors and union crew members on set and working weapons and ammunition will be barred. Spadone clarified live ammunition was always prohibited from the "Rust" set.

Last week, Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies and Special Prosecutor Andrea Reeb announced that Baldwin and "Rust" armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed will be charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of Hutchins. No charges will be filed in the shooting of Souza.

Both charges are fourth-degree felonies, punishable by up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine. The latter charge also includes a firearm enhancement penalty, which is punishable by five years in prison.

The charge decision followed more than a year of investigation after pistol fired a live round in October 2021 as Baldwin was rehearsing with it on the set of the movie being filmed at the Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe.

The movie's director, Joel Souza, was hit and wounded by the same 45-caliber bullet that killed Hutchins.

The cinematographer's husband, Matt Hutchins, sued Baldwin in 2021, alleging the actor and others, disregarded standard industry safety practices.

New Mexico's worker safety agency in April fined the film's production company $137,000, the maximum amount possible, for what it described as "willful" safety lapses leading to Hutchins' death.

Hours before the incident, camera operators walked off the set protesting against poor safety and working conditions.