Alec Baldwin settles ‘Rust’ lawsuit; Halyna Hutchins' husband takes EP role

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“Halyna Hutchins’ husband is going to be an executive producer on the film, which is quite a lot to digest,” says Kim Masters. An image of Halyna is displayed at a vigil in her honor in Albuquerque, New Mexico on October 23, 2021. Photo by Kevin Mohatt/File Photo/REUTERS.

After the tragic death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the movie set of “Rust” in New Mexico nearly a year ago, Hutchins’ family has settled a wrongful death lawsuit with Rust Movie Productions LLC, and its star and producer Alec Baldwin for an undisclosed amount of money. The movie will also resume production in January and Halyna’s husband, Matthew, will take over as its executive producer. 

This is quite a lot to digest

Kim: It doesn't mean their criminal investigation is over in New Mexico where this happened.

They're going to resume shooting. Not only are they going to resume shooting, but Halyna Hutchins’ husband is going to be an executive producer on the film, which is quite a lot to digest.

Matt: It feels a little icky. But I guess you could make the argument that he might be doing so in her honor, and as an executive producer, he can have some input on making sure that all the protocols are followed, and they don't have any other accidents. 

“Who wants this movie to be finished?”

Matt: But it just raises the larger question, “Who wants this movie to be finished?” This has been one of the more tragic stories in Hollywood history, and the movie is just going to pick up and finish it? Who's gonna want to see this?

Producing on the cheap

Kim: Let's note that this was one of these very low-budget movies, and as I've written with my colleague, this whole deal with these producers – some of them who were on this “Rust” and other movies – who do these cheap movies, pay someone like Alec Baldwin a lot of money to show up for a limited period of time. He may or may not [get] a producing credit on this one. Maybe he was more involved, but this is a thing that a lot of talent does. 

We wrote about another example with Dennis Quaid and Queen Latifah – these films are often not really getting a proper release. They're all about financing plays, and tax ploys, and potentially things that don't really bear up under scrutiny. 

It is an unsavory world

Kim: I wrote a story about this in the Hollywood Reporter. It is an unsavory world, to not put too fine a point on it, [on how] these guys often operate. There have been serious problems on other productions that they've been involved with, things that compromise the well being and safety of the crew. So the whole thing makes me feel kind of queasy. 

“No business like show business.”

Kim: I did hear from a crew member on one of these producer’s other movies who said, “Wow! No business like show business” when he heard that the husband was taking a credit, even though the husband has said that he is grateful that the producers in the entertainment community have come together to pay tribute to Halyna’s final work. Maybe that is the way he actually sees it. But clearly for people who have worked on these films, [it is] not a great feeling for some of them.

Matt: I can only imagine what it's going to be like for this crew to reassemble there in New Mexico and kind of start up this production again. Baldwin has moved on. He's working on other projects. I imagine most of the cast and crew has also moved on. 

“It’s macabre.”

Matt: This is not something where the people who put the money in are doing this to get some sort of financial benefit. Maybe there will be a little bit of a looky-loo effect, where people will be like, “Oh, this is the movie that led to such a tragedy.” 

If you look back, the comp here is “The Crow,” in which Brandon Lee was tragically killed during the production of that movie. And that movie ultimately didn't perform either. Nobody wanted to see it. It's macabre. 

Kim: There is still a criminal investigation, but it is New Mexico and they do want to attract production, so who knows how aggressive or not aggressive that will be and what it will find.



Joshua Farnham