Alec Baldwin Rust Shooting Gets Defense From A Powerful Organization

By Britta DeVore | Published

alec baldwin rust

It’s been just a little over two years since the Western production Rust, was put on hold after a tragic accident led to the death of the project’s cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins. Since then, many of those involved in the film, including its leading star, Alec Baldwin, have been called into question, with Baldwin facing charges as he was the actor who fired the unknowingly live round that killed Hutchins. Prosecutors have gone back and forth about Baldwin’s culpability in the devastating incident but now, the actors’ union, SAG-AFTRA, is tossing its two cents into the game and coming to Baldwin’s rescue.

In a statement filed at the end of last week, SAG-AFTRA said that they believed Alec Baldwin was in no way accountable for the catastrophic mishap as “An actor’s job is not to be a firearms or weapons expert.” The union went on to explain that Baldwin and other members of the ensemble are there to “perform” and that “they are not required or expected to be experts on guns or experienced in their use.” Instead, as the statement says, this duty falls on the shoulders of the production’s armorer – a person who is trained with firearms.

alec baldwin rust
Alec Baldwin in the movie Rust

In this case, the woman on the payroll as the film’s armorer was Hannah Gutierrez Reed, who will go on trial in one month on the charges of involuntary manslaughter and evidence tampering. Although she didn’t mean to cause the death of Hutchins, Gutierrez Reed’s error of loading live rounds into the gun that Alec Baldwin fired, was a grave one. Still, Gutierrez Reed has a chance of leaving the courtroom without the manslaughter conviction befalling her as the prosecution will need to prove that she acted in a “reckless, wanton, or willful” manner and not just out of sheer carelessness. 

As for Alec Baldwin, he, too, is facing involuntary manslaughter charges in the case. The gun at the center of it all went off when the team was preparing to film a scene with the bullet wounding Rust’s director Joel Souza and causing the death of Hutchins. At first, Baldwin stood by his claim that he never pulled the trigger – meaning that it was a misfire error – but forensic experts would later debunk this claim, reporting that the gun would only go off with the pull of the trigger.

The march to the courtroom has been a slow one, with the prosecution taking a long time to investigate the crime scene and draw up charges on the people they see responsible for the wrongful death. Around this time last year, the prosecutors moved ahead with filing two charges of manslaughter against Alec Baldwin but would drop them just a few months later. Though unrelated to Baldwin’s hand in the disaster, it’s worth noting that Gutierrez Reed never received the proper training to become an armorer before signing her contract for Rust.

As for the film, production wrapped last spring, meaning that the creative team took on a “the show must go on” mentality even after losing one of their own. A Western akin to something we’d likely see come from Taylor Sheridan’s Yellowstone universe, Rust follows an old outlaw who’s on a mission to save his grandson’s life after his kin was sentenced for an accidental murder. Along with Alec Baldwin, the feature also includes performances from Vikings star Travis Fimmel and Watchmen’s Frances Fisher.

Source: Variety