Alec Baldwin as an executive producer for the movie “Rust” could be held accountable for how safety protocols were conducted, said lawyers not involved in the case.
The actor on Oct. 21 inadvertently killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza as he rehearsed a scene with a loaded gun he was told was safe.
Fox News reported personal injury attorney Christa Ramey said Baldwin “will not be personally responsible for anything,” as the actor who pulled the trigger.
But legal complaints of safety measures on the New Mexico set where the tragic accident occurred may target producers of the Western movie.
And as executive producer and owner of production company El Dorado Pictures, which is in charge of making “Rust,” Baldwin could still be liable for legal penalties, Ramey stated.
“These safety complaints should have made their way up the food chain to as high as Alec Baldwin, then he could be potentially criminally responsible,” she said.
Also, believing Baldwin could be held accountable as the producer, personal injury attorney Miguel Custodio said the charges might dwell on how hiring decisions were made besides working conditions and payments.
“There are questions as to the two how experienced the armorer was. There’s also the assistant director, Dave Halls. He was fired back in 2019 on a film over safety concerns,” Custodio said. “So, it begs the question of what kind of hiring decisions did the film producers make?”
Custodio noted that because “Rust” is meant to be a low-budget product, the production team leaders may have compromised some critical values.
“I know it was a low-budget film, and when it’s a low-budget film, companies will try to cut corners,” he said. “Safety is never, never an area where people should cut corners on.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, investment for “Rust” was only between $6 to $7 million, less than half of the usual cost for independent movies, which would typically need around $20 million.
The movie was only a “passion project for Mr. Baldwin,” which would likely end up on a pay-TV platform or a streaming service instead of being released as a box-office blockbuster, the outlet described from sources familiar with the movie.