Three additional members of the film crew have sued Alec Baldwin and other producers of the low-budget Western “Rust” for “dangerous cost cutting” and reckless behavior that contributed to the fatal accident that continues to haunt them.
The lawsuit, alleging negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress, was filed Friday in state court in Santa Fe, NM, by crew members Ross Addiego, Doran Curtin and Reese Price. It names Baldwin, his El Dorado Pictures company and Rust Movie Productions LLC, adding to the tangle of civil lawsuits stemming from the October 21, 2021 shooting that killed cameraman Halyna Hutchins.
The latest filing – which includes new details about the shooting – alleged that the tragedy was largely caused by the producers’ desire to prioritize speed and cost control over crew member safety.
Hutchins died, director Joel Souza suffered a gunshot wound and other crew members struggled with the physical and emotional toll without support from the producers, the lawsuit said.
“Defendants cut corners; ignored reports of multiple, unscripted firearm discharges; and persisted, rushed and understaffed, to finish the film,” said the lawsuit filed by prominent Albuquerque attorney Jacob G. Vigil.
A Baldwin spokesperson declined to comment Monday.
Rust producers, who also declined to comment, have previously denied allegations of wrongdoing.
The trial comes more than a year after the tragedy and as criminal trials begin in New Mexico.
Baldwin and gunsmith Hannah Gutierrez Reed have been charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter and negligent use of a deadly weapon. Last week, Baldwin pleaded not guilty. A lawyer for Gutierrez Reed – who has admitted to loading the gun that day – has said she will soon enter a not guilty plea.
Deputy Director David Halls separately reached an agreement with prosecutors to plead no contest to a charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon in exchange for a six-month unsupervised suspended sentence.
Late last week, Rust Movie Productions, the company behind the troubled western, reached a settlement with New Mexico’s Health and Safety Bureau. As part of the deal, the state agency agreed to downgrade a citation it made against production last year and reduce the financial penalty from $136,793 to $100,000, the maximum under the law.
The agency initially struck a strident tone, saying producers showed “clear indifference” to worker safety, noting that on-set safety procedures were not followed and previous accidental firearms were not investigated.
The lawsuit by Addiego, Curtin and Price alleges producers skipped “a highly trained and experienced firearms specialist” who was willing to work on the gun-heavy Baldwin movie, and instead hired Gutierrez Reed, who had previously served as lead armor on only one movie.
“This decision was motivated by defendants’ desire for quick and low-cost production,” the lawsuit said, noting that Gutierrez Reed, then 24, took on a dual role as gunsmith and assistant to main props for the film.
“Other armor candidates warned against splitting time in a gun-heavy production that involved handling multiple operable firearms almost every day,” the lawsuit said. “But defendants stormed ahead with Gutierrez Reed, an inexperienced gunsmith who would work two jobs for the price of one.”
The suit notes that the fatal day began “on a tense note” after seven of the eight camera crew members left work amid complaints of alleged inattention to safety and a lack of nearby shelter. After lunch, the three crew members crowded into a cramped space, the small wooden church, with Baldwin, Hutchins, Souza, and Halls.
No one bothered to check the gun in the church before rehearsal, the lawsuit said.
The crewmen said they had no warning that Baldwin would fire his gun and they were not wearing ear plugs, eye protection or safety shields. All said they suffered physical effects from the blast, including trauma, hearing loss and vibration shock. In the months that followed, they struggled with other trauma related to the shooting, but the defendants “did not provide diagnostic services or any meaningful emotional or mental health services,” the indictment said.
“Despite this, plaintiffs have independently sought help to manage their injuries, including, but not limited to, insomnia, anxiety, depression, and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder,” the lawsuit said.
Addiego was the film’s dolly operator, responsible for operating the camera movement mechanisms. Curtin was the regular, overseeing costumes and accessories, and Price was the main handle, handling non-electrical support gear.
Previously, at least two other crew members – script supervisor Mamie Mitchell and blunder Serge Svetnoy – sued the producers, alleging the set was unsafe and that they had been put in danger during rehearsal. Regular medic Cherlyn Schaefer also sued.
“With his right hand, Defendant Baldwin repeatedly drew the revolver across his body from the left shoulder holster and aimed it at the crew members standing in front of him, including plaintiffs,” the lawsuit said.
“On his third draw, Defendant Baldwin cocked the hammer of the revolver with the trigger pulled and fired it at the crew beating Hutchins and wounding the plaintiffs,” the lawsuit said.
The production plans to resume filming in Montana this spring with Souza, Baldwin and other original cast members.
Staff writer Anousha Sakoui contributed to this report.