“Rust” Script Supervisor Sues Alec Baldwin and Producers
The “Rust” script supervisor, who was the first to call 911 after cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was gunned down on set, continues actor Alec Baldwin and the film’s producers, claiming that ‘they intentionally ignored security protocols that could have prevented the tragedy.
Mamie Mitchell, who was standing near Cutchins when a bullet from Baldwin’s pistol hit her, is the latest member of the “Rust” crew to take legal action against the film’s production company, Rust Movie Productions. LLC, for the October 21 tragedy in New Mexico.
According to the lawsuit, Mitchell was standing within four feet of Hutchins when the cinematographer was shot and was “in the line of fire” when the gunshot exploded.
Reading a statement at a press conference in Los Angeles, Mitchell said she was using her iPhone to check on the continuity of Baldwin’s costume in the church where they were preparing to rehearse a scene when she heard the explosion of the gun.
“I was stunned,” said Mitchell, accompanied by her lawyer, Gloria Allred. “I heard someone moan and I turned around, and my headmaster was falling back and holding his upper body, and I turned to Alec and saw Halyna come down to my left.”
Allegations in the lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, include assault, the intentional imposition of emotional distress and the deliberate imposition of damage.
Producers have ignored standard protocols by allowing live ammunition on set and allowing guns and ammunition to be left unattended on a cart, according to the complaint. The lawsuit also stated that Baldwin was handed the gun by the film’s first assistant director, Dave Halls, when it should have been handed to him by the gunsmith or prop master.
“All safety protocols designed to ensure that firearms would be used safely were ignored and the actions taken were against all industry standards,” Mitchell’s complaint alleged. The lawsuit said Baldwin “had cocked and fired the loaded gun even though the scene to be filmed did not call for the cocking and firing of a gun.”
“We allege in our trial that the events leading up to Mr. Baldwin’s shooting of a loaded weapon did not constitute sheer negligence,” Allred said. “His behavior and that of the producers of ‘Rust’ were reckless.”
The new lawsuit comes after Serge Svetnoy, the chief electrician or blunderer of “Rust”, recently filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles for alleged negligence on the part of the film’s producers – including Baldwin – in the death of Hutchins . Svetnoy held Hutchins in her arms as she died.
Matthew Hutchins, husband of the late cinematographer “Rust”, brought in law firm Panish Shea Boyle Ravipudi. He did not file a complaint.
Detectives from the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office are still investigating the shooting, including how the live ammunition got on set – a major violation of film production safety protocols – and how at least a lead bullet entered the revolver used by Baldwin. No criminal charges have been laid.
MPs seized over 500 cartridges on the set of “Rust,” a low-budget period film set in 1880s Kansas. Additional cartridges were found inside the gun that Baldwin fired, Sheriff Adan Mendoza said last month.
Mitchell’s lawsuit indicated that Baldwin should have checked the gun he was given to make sure it was safe to use, even after Halls handed the gun to him and allegedly declared it a “cold weapon” , which means she was sure.
âSir. Baldwin cannot hide behind the assistant director in an attempt to excuse the fact that he did not verify the weapon himself,â the lawsuit alleged.
The lawsuit names Rust Movie Productions LLC and several individual producers and other production companies as defendants, including Thomasville Pictures, Streamline Global, Short Porch Pictures and 3rd Shift Media. Hannah Gutierrez Reed, the armorer of “Rust”, and Halls were also cited as accused.
Representatives for the production companies and Baldwin did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Baldwin has previously said he “is cooperating fully with the police investigation to determine how this tragedy occurred.” The “30 Rock” and “Saturday Night Live” star added, “My heart is broken for her husband, their son and everyone who knew and loved Halyna.”
In a video obtained by TMZ, Baldwin described the “Rust” team as “a very, very well oiled team making a movie together.”
Lawyers for Gutierrez Reed suggested the set was sabotaged and the scene tampered with before police arrived.
“Hannah had no idea that live balls were on the set, but we believe someone brought live balls on the set, and we are investigating how they got there,” said Jason Bowles, the Albuquerque attorney representing Gutierrez Reed, said in a statement. “We have no further comments on the trial.”
Gutierrez Reed’s attorneys previously released a statement that security was their client’s No.1 priority on set and that she had no idea where the live rounds were coming from.
In statements to Santa Fe County investigators, Halls told detectives he saw three rounds in the gun before it was given to Baldwin and conceded that he “should have checked them all, but did not, “according to an affidavit.
Halls’ attorney Lisa Torraco has since disputed the claim that the deputy director gave the gun to Baldwin or that he did not examine the cartridges in the chamber. She also argued that gun safety was not Halls’ responsibility.
Hutchins died and director Joel Souza was injured as Baldwin rehearsed a scene – a shootout in the weathered wooden church on the outskirts of Old West Town – on the Bonanza Creek Ranch film set, near of Santa Fe.
On the morning of the incident, Mitchell said she went to the set for a call at 6:30 a.m. Upon arrival, she learned that members of the film crew had resigned for safety reasons. The Times previously reported that there were two accidental weapon discharges on October 16 – just days before the fatal shooting.
The production made three camera settings at the church before having lunch. The fatal shooting occurred after the lunch production returned. In the scene, Baldwin was supposed to reach into his chest and pull a gun out of its holster.
After Hutchins and Souza were shot, Mitchell ran outside to call 911, she said. According to audio of a 911 call obtained by The Times, Mitchell expressed his frustration that an assistant manager, presumably Dave Halls, yelled at him at lunch and asked him about the revisions.
“He’s supposed to check the guns,” Mitchell said on the 911 call. “He’s responsible for what’s going on on set.”
She returned home after speaking with law enforcement officials, she said on Wednesday. “Ten minutes after I got home, someone told me that [Hutchins] was dead, âshe said. âI was standing in my driveway screaming. “
The incident deprived Mitchell of a new friend, she said. âI relive the gunshots over and over again and the sounds of the gun exploding,â she said. âI’m depressed. I don’t feel safe.â¦ This violent tragedy has taken away my joy in life.
Mitchell seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.