“Rust” Resumes Production 18 Months After Shooting

(ReliableNews.org) – Hollywood banks on the art of illusion. So the real-life, on-set death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on October 21, 2021, shocked industry insiders and the world alike. “Rust” production immediately shut down to allow New Mexican authorities to investigate. On Thursday, April 20, nearly 18 months to the day, production resumed shooting after relocating to a new set in Montana.

The tragedy occurred at the Bonanza Creek Ranch outside Sante Fe, New Mexico. While one unidentified crew member cited how “emotionally difficult” it would be “for the crew and the cast to return to the same place” in an interview with CinemaBlend, Rust Movie Productions just reached a $100,000 settlement with New Mexico workplace safety regulators in March that could also reflect on reasons for a venue change. Now, the Yellowstone Film Ranch in Livingston, Montana, is hosting the set and crew, according to NPR.

Hutchins’ widowed husband, Matthew Hutchins, negotiated to become the executive producer on the project as part of his settlement with Alec Baldwin. Baldwin continues to act and co-produce, and director Joel Souza, injured by the same shot that killed Halyna Hutchins, is also returning to the project.

On Tuesday, January 31, prosecutors in New Mexico charged Baldwin and the set’s armorer, Hannah Guitierrez-Reed, with involuntary manslaughter and failure to follow safety protocols. Both Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed pleaded not guilty in February. The courts had scheduled trials to begin in early May.

Simultaneous to the resumption of production on Thursday, New Mexico special prosecutors Jason Lewis and Kari Morrissey released a statement saying, “over the last few days… new facts were revealed,” according to the BBC. Based on that new evidence, the prosecutors have dropped charges against Baldwin but continue investigating. They did not drop the charges against Gutierrez-Reed.

The LA Times reported law enforcement sources had discovered someone had modified the replica Colt 45 weapon that fired the lethal shot prior to delivery on set. Those modifications could have caused a misfire similar to what Baldwin reported when he said the gun went off without him ever touching the trigger.

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