Alec Baldwin gave his most detailed account of the fatal shooting of a cinematographer on the set of “Rust” last year, in an arbitration request by his lawyers against other producers on Friday, claiming that his contract protected him from liability in his death. and demands coverage of its legal fees.
Mr. Baldwin has been named in several lawsuits seeking compensation for shooting and killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins while practicing for a scene in New Mexico on October 21 that required her to draw a gun. The file stated that he was assured that the gun did not contain any live ammunition, and that he was not responsible for his death, as he was not responsible for controlling the ammunition or for the firearm safety on the set.
The filing provided new details regarding Mr. Baldwin’s role as producer of “Rust.” former team members alleged lawsuits had sacrificed safety by reducing costs. Mr. Baldwin said that while dealing with creative matters, he had authority over filing, hiring and budgets by others. Mr. Baldwin was told that he would be paid $250,000 to star in the film and act as producer, but he gave $100,000 as an “investment” in the film.
The filing included text messages showing how Mr. Baldwin’s relationship with Matthew Hutchins, the widow of the murdered cinematographer, had deteriorated over time, from expressions of mutual condolence and support to what happened in the immediate aftermath of the shooting. Mr Hutchins’ wrongful death action against Mr Baldwin this year.
He provided a lively account of the fatal shooting that took place on the set of the New Mexico movie after lunch, when Mr. Baldwin was rehearsing a scene inside a church where his character, Harland Rust, was cornered and pulled his gun.
“Rust’s Colt is now quietly BROKEN…” The filing quotes the direction in the script as the pursuers approach. Then, after a short while:Colts EXPLOSION.”
In the file, Ms. Hutchins said she told Mr. Baldwin how to put the gun.
“He told Baldwin to hold the gun higher to the point where it was pointed at him,” he said. “He looked intently at the monitor, then at Baldwin, and then again as he gave these instructions. While giving and following these instructions, Hutchins and Baldwin shared a fundamental and vital belief: that the gun was ‘cold’ and contained no live bullets.”
What Happened on the Set of ‘Rust’?
Mr. Baldwin then asked Ms. Hutchins if she would like him to withdraw the hammer as stated in the script, and she said yes on the file.
“Baldwin then retracted the hammer, but not long enough to actually set the gun,” he said. “The gun went off when Baldwin let go of the hammer.”
The confusion and horror after the shooting was described as Ms. Hutchins was taken to the hospital by helicopter and later declared dead. According to the file, at the end of his interview with the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, Mr. Baldwin was shown a photograph of the bullet that had passed through Ms. Hutchins and subsequently injured the film’s director, Joel Souza.
“Baldwin recognized the object as a living bullet and was finally beginning to understand what was going on on the set of ‘Rust’ that day,” he said. “He was shocked.”
In the file, Baldwin’s attorney, Luke Nikas, says that a clause in his contract with Mr. Baldwin and his company with Rust Movie Productions LLC means that he bears no financial responsibility for legal fees or claims arising from his death. Filing with the JAMS private arbitration service is intended to put the clause into effect. In the document, Rust Movie Productions LLC and Ryan Smith, one of the other producers, are cited as the addressees of the claim.
Mr Nikas wrote in his claim, depicting Mr Baldwin as a haunted victim who trusts others to do their job, “One person is guilty on the air that led to this terrible tragedy, and this is someone other than Baldwin.” With the death of Miss Hutchins. “This is the rare case where the system crashes and someone should be held legally responsible for the tragic consequences. That person is not Alec Baldwin.”
Representatives of Rust Movie Productions LLC and an attorney Mr. Smith did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Mr Nikas allegedly described how, in the weeks after the fatal shooting, Mr. Baldwin tried to persuade the cast and crew of “Rust” to finish the film to honor Ms. Hutchins, and outlined a plan that included an insurance payment. and the profits of the movie would go to a deal for Mr. Hutchins and the couple’s 9-year-old son.
According to the file, shortly after shooting, Mr. Baldwin had breakfast with Mr. Hutchins and his son in Santa Fe. In filing at the meeting, “Hutchins hugged Baldwin and told him, ‘I think we’ll get through this together.'” Mr. Hutchins’ attorney did not immediately comment.
However, their relationship, which continued with a series of messages and calls, broke down a day later. a television interview Mr. Baldwin gave in December when he denied responsibility for Ms. Hutchins’ death; Mr. Hutchins later filed a lawsuit against Mr. Baldwin, and then gave his own television interview on NBC’s “Today” in February, in which he was angry that Mr. Baldwin had deflected the accusation.
Although some crew members described the set as unsafe and many resigned shortly before the fatal shooting, the filing said Mr Baldwin had not heard or observed any safety issues on set.
In the filing, Mr. Baldwin sought to refute several allegations made by Mr. Hutchins and some of the “Rust” crew members in the lawsuits and in their comments to the news media.
Two lawsuits filed by crew members claimed that Mr Baldwin needed to check that the gun was safe, despite getting assurances from the film’s first assistant director that it was a gun.
But the new filing says that during firearms training for the film, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the film’s armorer, had told Mr Baldwin “it’s his job to control the gun, not his”. “This instruction was similar to what he had been told before,” she said. (When asked for comment, Ms. Gutierrez-Reed’s lawyer said she was reviewing the case.)
“An actor cannot decide that a gun is safe,” he said in the dossier. “This is the responsibility of the other people on set.”
And while being sued by the movie’s gaffer, Serge Svetnoy, claimed to be the producers of the film “rejected requests for gun training days” and Mrs. Gutierrez-Reed said He says that Mr. Baldwin did not attend the “cross-draw” training, that in Mr. Baldwin’s file he received information about the lessons about a month before he came to the set, and that he trained after he arrived.
The request also made it clear that script chief Mamie Mitchell told Mr Baldwin shortly after the fatal shooting, “You do realize you’re not responsible for any of what happened there, right?” he claims to have said. Miss Mitchell is suing now Mr. Baldwin and the other producers blame him for not checking to see if the gun he’s using is loaded. (Ms. Mitchell’s lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)
In the filing, Mr Baldwin and his attorney went so far as to publish the private text correspondence between Mr Baldwin and Mr Hutchins. The texts show that Mr. Baldwin was checking whether Mr. Hutchins wished to continue their negotiations due to possible legal sensitivities, and that Mr. Hutchins agreed to continue communicating despite possible requests from his legal advisers and press representative, according to the texts.
Filing notes that Mr Baldwin spoke at a memorial service for Mrs Hutchins and later shared a photograph of Mr Hutchins’ son with Mr Baldwin.
Later, Mr. Hutchins sued Mr Baldwinclaimed that he recklessly shot and killed Halyna Hutchins on set. In an interview on NBC’s “Today”, he said that Mr Baldwin’s denial of responsibility was “absurd”.
“Prior to Hutchins’ appearance on ‘Today’, her interactions with Baldwin were only polite, cooperative, and sometimes even warm,” said Mr Baldwin’s dossier.
In an NBC interview, Mr. Hutchins spoke emotionally about seeing Mr. Baldwin discuss the shooting incident on television. “I was very angry to see you speak so publicly about his death in such detail,” said Mr. Hutchins. NBC interview, “and then not accepting any responsibility after telling him about killing it.”
Nicole Sperling contributed to the reporting.