“Rust,” the Western film starring Alec Baldwin, resumed filming last week at Yellowstone Film Ranch in Montana — 18 months after cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was shot and killed after a prop gun held by Baldwin discharged.
Cast and crew members will adhere to new safety measures to ensure the the remainder of the film is completed without injury.
“I’ve said it, and I’m going to say it every single time: There are no weapons on set,” Gerard DiNardi, the film’s new first assistant director, reassured the crew on Friday, per The New York Times. “There is nothing that fires. There are a lot of facsimiles of weapons, from rubber to replicas.”
Tragedy struck a year and a half ago on the movie’s New Mexico set. While preparing to film a shootout scene, Baldwin spoke to camera crew about their positions. Baldwin pulled out the weapon — which was supposed to be filled with dummy rounds — and it went off. It was loaded with live ammunition.
Hutchins was fatally shot in the incident.
‘Rust’ has a new armorer
The film’s original armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, will not return to the film. Gutierrez-Reed is still facing involuntary manslaughter charges for her involvement in Hutchins’ death, reports the New York Post. Prosecutors accuse her of a “sloppy mishandling of firearms,” which led to tragedy.
Andrew Wert will replace Gutierrez-Reed as the movie’s new armorer. Wert is a former U.S. Army infantryman with more than 20 years of experience with guns on film sets.
All weapons and dummy ammunition used on set are made from rubber and wood, and painted gold, Wert explained to The New York Times. The guns are all replicas incapable of firing a shot.
Director Joel Souza — who was wounded by the incident when the bullet that passed through Hutchins struck him in the shoulder — is back in the director’s chair.
“Though bittersweet, I am grateful that a brilliant and dedicated new production team is joining former cast and crew to complete what Halyna and I started,” Souza said in a statement, per Entertainment Tonight.
“My every effort on this film will be devoted to honoring Halyna’s legacy and making her proud. The beauty of Montana surpasses words, and the warm hospitality and kindness extended by everyone I’ve met has been both humbling and inspiring. It is a privilege to work alongside such great partners as we see this through on Halyna’s behalf,” Souza added.
Baldwin’s charges expected to be dropped
Involuntary manslaughter charges against Baldwin have been dropped just weeks ahead of the trial due to a need for “further investigation,” as reported by the Deseret News.
“Over the last few days and in preparation for the May 3, 2023, preliminary hearing, new facts were revealed that demand further investigation and forensic analysis in the case against Alexander ‘Alec’ Rae Baldwin, III. Consequently, we cannot proceed under the current time constraints and on the facts and evidence turned over by law enforcement in its existing form,” special prosecutors Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis wrote in a statement, per Deadline.
“We therefore will be dismissing the involuntary manslaughter charges against Mr. Baldwin to conduct further investigation. This decision does not absolve Mr. Baldwin of criminal culpability and charges may be refiled. Our follow-up investigation will remain active and on-going.”