The “shot heard round the world” is still reverberating: Alec Baldwin has filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles seeking to clear his name in the controversial 2021 shooting on the set of Rust. In that incident, Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed when Baldwin fired a prop gun, thinking it was not loaded. The shooting also wounded writer-director Joel Souza.
In October, Hutchins’s family agreed to settle another lawsuit against Baldwin, and producers announced they were hoping to resume film production in January.
Baldwin’s new lawsuit seeks damages via a jury trial. It alleges negligence against some of the people that were sued by script supervisor Mamie Mitchell and seeks a share of damages that Mitchell may win. On the set when the incident happened, Mitchell, who was standing behind Hutchins as she suffered her fatal wounds, had earlier sued Baldwin and others for assault and negligence.
In his new suit, the 64-year-old Baldwin claims that neither he nor Hutchins knew the weapon contained a live round of ammunition. Quoting from the complaint: “This tragedy occurred on a movie set — not a gun range, not a battlefield, not a location where even a remote possibility should exist that a gun would contain live ammunition…More than anyone else on that set, Baldwin has been wrongfully viewed as the perpetrator of this tragedy. By these cross-claims, Baldwin seeks to clear his name.”
Baldwin’s lawyers Luke Nikas and Robert M. Schwartz argued that the defendants “owed a duty to those on set, including Baldwin, to keep the set safe. Everyone on set, including Baldwin, expected and trusted them to do so.”
The actor claims to have lost jobs and opportunities as a result of the incident, in addition to suffering both physically and emotionally from the grief it engendered.
While the shooting has been officially declared an accident, prosecutors are still reviewing evidence to determine whether criminal charges should be filed. In April, New Mexico’s OSHA office slapped a $137,000 fine against Rust Movie Productions, which is being challenged by the company.