Last week it was Rust gaffer Serge Svetnoy, and Wednesday the second of what will likely be many lawsuits over the fatal October 21 shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchinson the New Mexico set of the indie Western was filed by script supervisor Mamie Mitchell.
“Alec Baldwin intentionally, without just cause or excuse, cocked and fired the loaded gun even though the upcoming scene to be filmed did not call for the cocking and firing of the firearm,” reads Mitchell’s complaint on claims of assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress (read it here). “Mr. Baldwin chose to play Russian Roulette with a loaded gun without checking it and without having the armorer do so.”
Mitchell is represented by Gloria Allred, who plans a press conference with her client this afternoon.
The 29-page filing in Los Angeles Superior Court names star-producer Baldwin, Rust producers and production companies, armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, first assistant director David Halls, property master Sarah Zachry and others in another damning portrayal of a film playing fast and loose with safety and other regulations.
“Alec Baldwin should have assumed that the gun in question was loaded unless and until it was demonstrated to him or checked by him that it was not loaded,” the filing asserts in language sure to be echoed at the presser Mitchell and Allred will be conducting this morning. “He had no right to rely upon some alleged statement by the Assistant Director that it was a ‘cold gun,’” the damages-seeking complaint goes on to say, adding Halls directly to the mix.
“Mr. Baldwin cannot hide behind the Assistant Director to attempt to excuse the fact that he did not check the gun himself,” continues the complaint from Mitchell, who was in the church location on the Bonanza Creek Ranch when Baldwin’s “quick draw” rehearsal turned tragic.
Mitchell, who became a client of Allred’s on October 26, was the one who made the frantic 911 call to Santa Fe police seeking assistance for the mortally wounded Hutchins after the shooting. Mitchell told 911 operators, “We need help immediately.” Allred said at the end of October that Mitchell “was standing very close to Halyna Hutchins and the director, Joel Souza, when both Halyna and Joel were shot.”
“We are conducting our own investigation of what happened because there are many unanswered questions,” Allred said at the time. “Mamie has been interviewed by the Sheriff’s Department. She has information and evidence which she believes will be helpful in this investigation.”
As has been detailed by Gutierrez Reed and others before, Mitchell in the lawsuit said there were two previous weapons discharge accidents on the Rust set before October 21. “Prior to the incident, guns had been misfired on set, including, without limitation, by Defendant Baldwin’s stunt double and a prop master who accidentally shot herself in the foot,” the filing alleges.
As Baldwin, Gutierrez Reed, Halls and others, including injured director Souza, have been repeatedly questioned by police, a series of search warrants executed by the Santa Fe sheriff have found a cache of weapons and, according to Sheriff Adan Mendoza, “500 rounds of ammunition … a mix of blanks, dummy rounds and what we are suspecting are live rounds.”
Both Halls, who was fired from a previous film over gun safety issues, and Gutierrez Reed have lawyered up, as did Mitchell. The armorer’s lawyer has been floating a “sabotage” theory in the media to explain the tragedy that took DoP Hutchins’ life.
That theory hangs on the premise that something was underhanded because mere hours before the killing of Hutchins, several members of that team resigned from the $7 million Western, citing safety and financial reasons.
Additionally, Halls admitted to police not long after the shooting that he did not properly check the 1880s-era gun before declaring it a “cold gun” and handing it over to Baldwin for the rehearsal that went so horribly wrong.
As the Santa Fe Sheriffs Office’s probe into Rust continues, the production itself has hired law firm Jenner Block to conduct an internal investigation into the events of that day; we hear that is still ongoing.
Rust Movie Accident
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