‘Shameful’: Alec Baldwin blames Halyna Hutchins’ husband for ‘Rust’ not being finished after her death
In a new court filing, Alec Baldwin reveals a macabre-sounding effort to resume production on the Western film “Rust” after he was involved in the Oct. 21 fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins — but he blames Hutchins’ husband for ending the possibility of the film being finished.
Baldwin also accused Matthew Hutchins, Hayna’s grieving husband, of blindsiding him by filing a wrongful-death lawsuit against him on Feb. 14 and by going on the “Today” show to say that the actor was partially responsible for his wife’s death and to accuse him of trying to play victim and garner sympathy.
Baldwin revealed the surprising efforts to finish “Rust” in the court filing Friday, saying he put in an enormous effort to rally a traumatized cast to finish the movie as “a tribute” to Hutchins’ “memory and talent.” He also argued that he was beneficently thinking that profits from the completed project could compensate Hutchins and his 9-year-old son.
But Baldwin said settlement discussions over finishing “Rust” ended after Matthew Hutchins filed his lawsuit, and Hutchins and his lawyer publicized “false” and even “inflammatory” and “distasteful” allegations about the actor’s culpability, particularly in a “reenactment” video of the shooting that was played at a press conference.
“Plans to complete Rust and to channel its proceeds into a fund for Hutchins’s and his son’s benefit have unfortunately broken down as a result of the lawsuit and these public statements,” the court filing said
But Baldwin’s filing drew a sharp rebuke from Matthew Hutchins’ attorney, who said it was “shameful” for him to blame Hutchins for “Rust” not being finished.
“Alec Baldwin once again is trying to avoid liability and accountability for his reckless actions before and on Oct 21st that resulted in the death of Halyna Hutchins,” attorney Brian Panish said in a statement to Deadline. “It is shameful that Baldwin claims Hutchins’ actions in filing a wrongful death lawsuit derailed the completion of Rust.”
Panish added: “The only action that ended the film’s production was Baldwin’s killing of Halyna Hutchins.”
Panish also expressed displeasure that Baldwin shared private text messages between him and Matthew Hutchins. Panish, though, said the text messages are “irrelevant” to the legal issues in Baldwin’s filing. He also said the messages don’t show “anything other than Hutchins’ dignity in his engagement with Baldwin.”
Legally, the arbitration filing represents Baldwins’ effort to invoke the indemnification clause of his contract for “Rust,” for which he was also the producer, Variety said. Baldwin wants to force Ryan Smith, the lead producer on the film, and the production company to assume all liability and pay Baldwin’s defense costs.
Halyna Hutchins was killed when a gun Baldwin was using for a rehearsal on the New Mexico set of “Rust” fired. A live round struck and killed the cinematographer and wounded director Joel Souza.
In his filing, Baldwin said that, as an actor, he expected to rely on crew members to tell him that the gun was safe to use. He said he wasn’t responsible for loading the gun, or making sure the gun contained no live rounds, only dummy rounds. He also said he didn’t hire the people who supplied the bullets, and he wasn’t in charge of maintaining safety on the set.
“As he had done throughout his career, Baldwin trusted the other professionals on the set to do their jobs,” the filing said. Baldwin furthermore said that Oct. 21 was “the worst day of his life,” as he said it has become for Hutchins’ family.
Regarding Matthew Hutchins, Baldwin said he was only kind, respectful, supportive and sympathetic after his wife of 16 years was killed. Baldwin also claimed that their interactions by phone or by text were only ever “polite, collaborative, and, at times, even warm.”
By sharing Matthew Hutchins’ text messages, Baldwin argued that the widower never gave him any hint that he held the actor responsible for his wife’s death, or that he wasn’t initially open to the idea of “Rust” being completed. He also said Hutchins never told him he was angry about his Dec. 2 interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, in which the actor denied any responsibility for Hutchins’ death. He said he also told Hutchins he understood if he might have to stop talking to him due to pending litigation.
Baldwin said he arranged for a hotel room for Matthew Hutchins and his son Andros when they came to Santa Fe, New Mexico, after the shooting. He said he met Hutchins and Andros for breakfast. He said he and Hutchins hugged and Hutchins told him, “I guess we’re going to go through this together.”
That day, Baldwin also attended and spoke at a memorial service for Halyna Hutchins that was organized by the “Rust” crew. Baldwin later texted Matthew Hutchins to say that his influencer wife, Hilaria, sent “her concern.” He also said he tried to stay in touch over the next few weeks to see how Hutchins and his son were doing.
But in his filing, even Baldwin acknowledges that Hutchins’ view of him apparently soured after he talked to Stephanopoulos.
In the interview, Baldwin tried to shift blame to others, including to Halyna Hutchins. Baldwin told Stephanopoulos that, while rehearsing a gunfight scene, Halyna Hutchins had asked him to point the gun off camera and toward her arm just before it fired.
“Someone is responsible for what happened, and I can’t say who that is, but it’s not me,” Baldwin said, adding he felt no guilt.
It’s now known that Baldwin’s comments to Stephanopoulos “crystallized” Matthew Hutchins’ anger, as Hutchins told Hoda Kotb on the “Today” show on Feb. 24.
“Watching him I just felt so angry,” Hutchins told Kotb about watching the Stephanopoulos interview. “I was just so angry to see him talk about her death so publicly in such a detailed way and then to not accept any responsibility after having just described killing her.”
Hutchins specifically called out Baldwin for trying to blame his wife for being in the line of fire.
“And hearing him blame Halyna in the interview and shift responsibility to others and seeing him cry about it. I just feel — are we really supposed to feel bad about you, Mr. Baldwin?” Hutchins said. He also expressed incredulity over Baldwin’s now infamous claims that he didn’t pull the trigger.
In his court filing, Baldwin described being surprised by Matthew Hutchins’ comments on the “Today” show and by hearing that Hutchins was angry about the Stephanopoulos interview. “The Matthew Hutchins that showed up on the Today show is someone Baldwin had never met before,” the filing said.
Baldwin said that two weeks after his ABC interview, he said he sent Hutchins a text saying, “In spite of the anguish of all of this, I am wishing you and your son a happy holiday.”
Baldwin said Hutchins responded: “I genuinely hope you and the whole family can get together and have moments of fun, love, and togetherness and that it is a healing time for everyone.” But as for Baldwin’s idea of finishing “Rust” — when he admitted that no one involved in the production was “eager to return to New Mexico — his filing also shows that Matthew Hutchins only ever said he would consider the proposition; he eventually became “less open” to it.
This story has been updated.