Alec Baldwin has insisted he didn't pull the trigger on the prop gun that accidentally killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of Rust, the Western he’s producing and starring in.
But now, he's reached a settlement with her family—and filming will continue.
Hutchins’ family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Baldwin and his production company in February, but settled out of court, according to Deadline, which first reported the news Wednesday. The movie will resume filming in January with Hutchins’ husband, Matthew Hutchins, listed as executive producing and Souza returning as director, according to Deadline.
“The filming of Rust, which I will now executive produce, will resume with all the original principal players on board in January 2023,” Matthew Hutchins said in a statement to Deadline. “I have no interest in engaging in recriminations or attribution of blame (to the producers or Mr. Baldwin).”
Shortly after Rust began filming in New Mexico in October 2021, Baldwin discharged a gun being used as an on-set prop and struck both Hutchins and director Joel Souza. Souza was injured, and Hutchins later died at the hospital; police later said they recovered live bullets from the Rust movie set. The county’s medical examiner ruled last month that Hutchins’ death was accidental.
Baldwin had been publicly lobbying to resume production on the film. “People talk about finishing the film to honor Halyna, and I’m all for that, that’s great,” he told CNN in August. “But more importantly, we wanted to put the money in [Hutchins’ son’s] pocket.” Baldwin also told CNN in August that the stress from the incident, as well as as former President Donald Trump accusing him of killing Hutchins on purpose, has “taken years off my life.”
Baldwin was told by assistant director Dave Halls that the gun was “cold,” or not loaded with live ammunition, and was pointing the gun at Halyna Hutchins when it went off. But he has continued to deny he pulled the trigger, even after an FBI report made public in August indicated the gun couldn’t have been discharged without someone pulling the trigger.
The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies have not charged anyone nor have they publicly indicated that the investigation into Hutchins’ death is closed. The sheriff’s office’s report on the investigation is expected to be released soon, according to Deadline.
In August, Carmack-Altwies wrote a letter requesting $635,000 from a state board for possible prosecutions for four people “if charges are warranted,” Deadline reported in September. Carmack-Altwes specifically mentioned “well-known movie actor Alec Baldwin” as one potential prosecution in the letter.
"The proposed settlement announced today in Matthew Hutchins’ wrongful death case against Rust movie producers, including Alec Baldwin, in the death of Halyna Hutchins will have no impact on District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altweis’ ongoing investigation or her ultimate decision whether to file criminal charges in the case,” her office told VICE News. “While civil suits are settled privately and often involve financial awards, criminal cases deal only in facts. If the facts and evidence warrant criminal charges under New Mexico law then charges will be brought. No one is above the law."
“Throughout this difficult process, everyone has maintained the specific desire to do what is best for Halyna’s son,” Baldwin said in an Instagram post after the settlement was announced. “We are grateful to everyone who contributed to the resolution of this tragic and painful situation.”
Souza said in a statement to Deadline that “any decision to return to finish directing the film could only make sense for me if it was done with the involvement of Matt and the Hutchins family.”
“Though certainly bittersweet, I am pleased that together, we will now complete what Halyna and I started,” Souza said. “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.”
Want the best of VICE News straight to your inbox? Sign up here.