Alec Baldwin Rust shooting | What happened, and what happens next?

The legal fallout from the fatal shooting of Halyna Hutchins on the set of Alec Baldwin's 'Rust' is still ongoing: here's the story so far

Rust Shooting: Halyna Hutchins

Producers announced this week that Alec Baldwin will be returning as the lead in the ongoing production of the Western Rust, which was put on hold following a tragic accident in October 2021. But how exactly did we get here? It’s a long and complex story, but here are some of the key points.

The Rust accident occurred on 21 October 2021, when, during rehearsals for a scene, the gun Baldwin was holding misfired, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza.

A report from the New Mexico Environment Department’s Occupational Health & Safety Bureau later found there had been a series of problems with gun safety on set. The film had just one contracted armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, and the wider attitude to gun safety was described as “very fast and loose,” with 2 accidental weapons discharges and 1 accidental SFX explosive having already occurred prior to the fatal shooting.

Alec Baldwin charged - Rust Set

The shooting occurred on the set of upcoming Western, Rust.

At this point, Baldwin and his representatives were still maintaining that the actor never pulled the trigger. However, an investigation from the FBI in the Autumn of 2022 found this could not have been the case, though the medical examiner acknowledged the whole affair was indeed a tragic accident.

Not long afterwards, however, a settlement was reached between Hutchins’ widower and the Rust producers, including Baldwin, and the film’s production seemed to be cleared to move ahead. That was, until a month ago, when Santa Fe’s District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies announced both Alec Baldwin and Hannah Gutierrez-Reed would be charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter.

If found guilty, Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed could face a $5000 fine, along with up to 18 months in prison.

Rust Shooting: Halyna Hutchins

Halyna Hutchins was shot dead during on-set rehearsals for the film (Getty Images)

So, what’s happening now? Well, producers last week were ‘confident’ in completing the troubled production, and now reports are suggesting Baldwin will be back to star, legal proceedings notwithstanding. The scene being rehearsed at the time of the incident has been re-written, and the set will no-longer involve arms or live ammunition of any kind.

Meanwhile, Ms Hutchins’ widower Matthew has approved a documentary on her life and work, “including the completion of the film [Rust].”

Both projects currently seem to be moving full-speed ahead, though that may change following a preliminary hearing on 24 February.

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