On October 21, 2021, a tragedy unfolded on the set of the Alec Baldwin-led movie Rust when cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was fatally shot from a live round from a revolver being used as a prop by Baldwin. Production on the Western was suspended indefinitely, and the New Mexico Environment Department’s Occupational Health and Safety Bureau launched an investigation into the incident. The report from the organization’s filing has been submitted, and the people behind Rust are now facing maximum fines.
As reported by KRQE News, the Occupational Health and Safety Bureau’s (OHSB) report found that Rust Movie Productions, LLC’s management were aware that firearm safety procedures weren’t being followed on the set located at Bonanza Creek Ranch, and that the company showed “plain indifference” to employee safety. As a result, the production company has been issued a Willful-Serious citation that carries a $136,793 penalty. This is both the maximum fine and highest level of citation allowed by New Mexico state law.
Rust Movie Productions, LLC has 15 days after receiving the citation to either pay the penalty, or either provide OHSB with certification of corrective action or contest the citation. The investigation also uncovered how Halyna Hutchins’ tragic death wasn’t the only instance of unsafe firearm incidents on Rust. Other included two instances of a shotgun being left unattended, as well as two firearm misfires just days later. It was also mentioned how on October 20, just one day before Hutchins was shot, that Rust’s 1st assistant camera resigned after expressing safety concerns, among other issues.
Of course, Rust Movie Productions, LLC facing that $136,793 penalty is just one of the many entanglements to crop up following Halyna Hutchins’ death. The production company and Alec Baldwin are dealing with two lawsuits: one from Serge Svetnoa, Rust’s chief of lighting, and the other from script supervisor Mamie Mitchell. Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, Rust’s armorer, also filed her own lawsuit back in January against the company PDQ Arm & Prop, which supplied the dummy rounds for the movie. However, the following month, Gutierrez-Reed found herself hit with a lawsuit by Cherlyn Schaefer, Rust’s key medic. That lawsuit also includes assistant director Dave Halls, prop master Sarah Zachry and the production company.
Suffice it to say that the aftermath of Rust will continue to be felt for some time. It’s also worth noting that back in March, it was divulged in arbitration that Alec Baldwin didn’t comprehend that he’d fired a live round until someone showed him the bullet. The actor also doesn’t consider himself “culpable” for shooting Halyna Hutchins. In the midst of all this legal craziness, Baldwin has returned to acting, and he was spotted earlier this month filming Kid Santa, where he plays Santa Claus.
CinemaBlend will continue to pass along any major updates concerning Rust and its associated parties, but for now, look through our guide of 2022 movie releases to see what catches your eye for later in the year.