Ryan Smith, one of the producers of the ill-fate Western, Rust, has signed to finance another upcoming independent movie, Sam & Kate, which will star Dustin Hoffman and Sissy Spacek. The filmmaker, who’s reportedly set to investigate an estimated $900K into the feature, will receive an executive producer credit for his work, Variety is reporting.
Production on Sam & Kate is scheduled to take place in Thomasville, Georgia, beginning in mid-February of next year. While Smith is producing the drama, he and his company, Thomasville Pictures, will not be involved in the project’s physical production.
News of Smith’s involvement on Sam & Kate comes after he, his business partner, Allen Cheney, and Thomasville Pictures, have been named in two lawsuits stemming from the fatal shooting on the set of Rust last month in New Mexico. Actor-producer Alec Baldwin was preparing for a scene feature a gun fight when he accidentally shot and killed the Western’s cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins and wounded the feature’s director, Joel Souza. The movie’s production has shut down indefinitely.
The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office is continuing its investigation into how one or more live bullets made were brought onto the set. The investigation has focused on Hannah Gutierrez Reed, the 24-year-old armorer, and Dave Halls, the film’s first assistant director, who has admitted that he didn’t properly check the 1880s-era Colt .45 revolver before handing it to Baldwin.
The lawsuits allege that the production cut corners and hired inexperienced crew members, which led to dangerous conditions on set. Sheriff Adan Mendoza has also cited complacency on set as a factor in the accident.
Thomasville Pictures was one of several production companies working on Rust. Some crew members on Thomasville’s previous projects have also come forward with allegations of unsafe practices, and also have alleged that the productions failed to pay people on time.
Cheney, who’s a native of Thomasville, Smith and their company have brought several low-budget productions to the city in the past few years, including Supercell, which also starred Baldwin; Bandit, starring Mel Gibson; The Tiger Rising, with Dennis Quaid and Queen Latifah; and One Way, with Travis Fimmel and Machine Gun Kelly. None of the moviess have yet been released.
Sam & Kate was announced in June, before the start of the Cannes Film Festival. Hoffman and his son, Jake Hoffman, are set to appear as a father and son, while Spacek and her daughter, Schuyler Fisk, will portray a mother and daughter in the drama. Darren Le Gallo wrote the script and is also set to direct. His wife, Amy Adams, is among the executive producers.
Bonnie Hayes, the tourism and film manager for the city of Thomasville, said the producers have made initial conversations about filming Sam & Kate in the city. However, the filmmakers have yet to fill out a permit application for the production.