Alec Baldwin and the Rust producers have reached a settlement with the family of the film's cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
The deal, which is pending court approval, was announced Wednesday. According to the terms, production of the film will resume in January with the movie’s original director, Joel Souza, at the helm. Matthew Hutchins, Halyna's widower, will serve as executive producer.
The wrongful-death lawsuit was filed in February against producers, including Baldwin, and crew members by Matthew, an attorney, and the couple's minor son, Andros, laying out allegations of negligence — citing reckless behavior on the set, cost-cutting and misuse of firearms — around Halyna's death on Oct. 21. She had been setting up a shot at the Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe, N.M. when Baldwin, the star of the film, was holding a vintage gun that fired. Baldwin claimed he didn't pull the trigger, however, it discharged and the gun contained a live round — not a dummy or prop ammunition — that shot through Halyna's torso and then lodged in the shoulder of Souza. She was airlifted to the hospital, where she was declared dead. Souza recovered.
"We have reached a settlement, subject to court approval, for our wrongful death case against the producers of Rust, including Alec Baldwin and Rust Movie Productions, LLC," Matthew said in a statement to Yahoo Entertainment. "As part of that settlement, our case will be dismissed. The filming of Rust, which I will now executive produce, will resume with all the original principal players on board in January 2023."
It continued, "I have no interest in engaging in recriminations or attribution of blame (to the producers or Mr. Baldwin). All of us believe Halyna’s death was a terrible accident. I am grateful that the producers and the entertainment community have come together to pay tribute to Halyna’s final work.”
Baldwin commented on Instagram, writing, "We are pleased to announce today the settlement of the civil case filed on behalf of the family of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. Throughout this difficult process, everyone has maintained the specific desire to do what is best for Halyna’s son. We are grateful to everyone who contributed to the resolution of this tragic and painful situation."
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Frances Fisher, who appears in the film with Baldwin, commented on his post calling it a "miraculous resolution" and a "relief." She added, "So glad that Halyna's work will be seen."
Baldwin’s attorney, Luke Nikas of Quinn Emanuel, also issued a statement to Deadline, saying, "Throughout this difficult process, everyone has maintained the specific desire to do what is best for Halyna's son. We are grateful to everyone who contributed to the resolution of this tragic and painful situation."
An attorney for Rust Movie Productions, LLC, Melina Spadone of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, told the same outlet, “We are pleased the parties came together to resolve this matter, which, subject to court approval, marks an important step forward in celebrating Halyna’s life and honoring her work.”
Joel Souza, Director of Rust, said, in part, "In my own attempts to heal, 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. 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."
This ends this particular lawsuit. Still pending is the final investigation report from the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office. Last month, New Mexico granted funds — more than $317,000 — to pay for possible prosecutions connected to the fatal shooting. Local District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies made the emergency request for the funds to go toward a special prosecutor, special investigator, several experts and other personnel. The request noted that as many as four people could face charges — and "one of the possible defendants is well known movie actor Alec Baldwin."
On Wednesday, a spokeswoman for the D.A.'s office said, "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-Altwies’ ongoing investigation or her ultimate decision whether to file criminal charges in the case. 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."
Baldwin has told ABC News in December that his legal team told him it's unlikely he would be charged.
“I have been told by people who are in the know, in terms of even inside the state, that it’s highly unlikely that I would be charged with anything criminally," he said.
In August, Baldwin told CNN he "hired a private investigator" and based on the findings, he doesn't believe anyone will be criminally charged. He did say that armor Hannah Gutierrez Reed, whose experience has been called into question, and assistant director Dave Halls, who handed Baldwin the gun and declared it "cold," meaning it had no live ammo, shouldn't work on film sets again.
"Why didn't [Gutierrez Reed] check that bullet? Why didn't Halls obey her?" Baldwin asked. "Why did he give me the gun? Why didn't he check? Why did he tell the crew [it was a cold gun]? … I'm pretty confident neither one of them should ever work in a film set again," he said, adding, "I sincerely believe … [investigators are] going to say that this was an accident. It's tragic."
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