Should ‘Rust’ Ever Be Released After Tragic Shooting on Movie Set?

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Actor Alec Baldwin, seen here in 2019, argues in a new legal filing that terms in his producer contract protect him from liability related to the fatal shooting of Halyna Hutchins on the set of the film Rust

Photos from ‘Rust’, a tragic shooting-ridden movie were released this week although dates for the premiere were not attached. A question, however, remains, is it ethically and morally right to air a movie which contributed to the tragic shooting of Halyna Hutchins, a cinematographer?

The arguments

Halyna Hutchings met her untimely death when a gun expected to be used as a prop in the hand of Alec Baldwin, the lead actor and co-producer on ‘Rust’, shot and killed the cinematographer and leaving the movie’s director Joel Souza with a shoulder wound. Hutchins was transported to a local hospital in Santa Fe, New Mexico but was pronounced dead.

When this news came to light on October 21, 2021, the big question was “What was a live ammunition doing on a movie set?”

On the grounds of tragedy occurring on the filming set, wouldn’t it be normal or okay for production to cease? Unless the upcoming movie is going to serve as a memorial for the work Halyna Hutchings started. Even with that, would it be enough to erase or lessen the impact of the circumstances surrounding the movie?

Despite the prosecutors dropping the charges against Baldwin, some social media users still believe he should have paid for the ‘crime’. These sentiments are mostly left in his comment section on Instagram.

These comments already paint a picture of a section of movie lovers boycotting ‘Rust’ due to the tragic circumstances surrounding it. Meanwhile, this could also be a way for the cast and crew to show true solidarity with the deceased and her family by donating the proceeds from the movie to the bereaved. Maybe. Until then, we wait for more information on the release date and the movie’s subsequent ‘success’.

The facts

Alec Baldwin was reported to have ‘shot and killed’ cinematographer Halyn Hutchings during filming in New Mexico in 2021. The sheriff’s office of Sante Fe launched a criminal investigation into the shooting incident on the same day (October 21, 2021).

Subsequently, a series of suits and arrests were launched against Alec Baldwin and the crew of ‘Rust’, especially the amourer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed.

After months of being in and out of court, Baldwin and Hanna were charged with ‘involuntary manslaughter’ on January 19, 2023. However, all charges against Baldwin were dropped in April 2023 while Hannah was accused of another crime of tampering with evidence when she was allegedly caught on the set trying to hide cocaine. Assistant Director David Halls also received six months of probation, fines and community service for failing to check on the prop.

To think that ‘Rust’ would been kept under cover due to the tragic incident, production restarted in April 2023 and ended in May 2023 which had Bianca Cline, a cinematographer pick up from where Halyn unfortunately, left off. Now, it is set to be released on a yet-to-be-communicated date.

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