Story at a glance

  • The head of lighting for the movie “Rust” has filed a lawsuit against Alec Baldwin, producers, the armorer, and others alleging negligence.
  • The prop gun Baldwin fired on set Oct. 21 contained a live round, which struck and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza.
  • Authorities are investigating why a live round was on the set in the first place.

The head of lighting for the movie “Rust” has filed a lawsuit against Alec Baldwin and others alleging negligence and being caused “severe emotional distress” after cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was accidentally shot and killed by a prop gun on set Oct. 21.

“I still cannot believe that she is no longer with us,” Serge Svetnoy said Wednesday during a news conference. “What a tragedy and injustice when a person loses her life on film set while making art.”

Svetnoy’s general-negligence lawsuit was filed earlier Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court naming the producers — including Baldwin — armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, first assistant director Dave Halls, property master Sarah Zachry, and weapons provider Seth Kenney as the defendants, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The shooting occurred on the movie set in New Mexico when Baldwin reportedly fired a prop gun that Halls had handed to him after saying “cold gun,” which indicates its safe to use. A live round was inside the chamber, which struck and killed Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza.

Authorities are investigating why a live round was on the set in the first place.


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Svetnoy alleges in the lawsuit that the bullet barely missed him, and he was struck by “gunpowder and other residual materials.” He then tried to help Hutchins, who was his friend of five years and working on their ninth film together.

“This incident was caused by the negligent acts and omissions of the defendants,” the lawsuit states according to the Los Angeles Times. “Simply put, there was no reason for a live bullet to be placed in that Colt .45 revolver or to be present anywhere on the ‘Rust’ set.”

The lawsuit is seeking compensatory and punitive damages to be determined at a later time. 

“The entire cast and crew has been absolutely devastated by today’s tragedy, and we send our deepest condolences to Halyna’s family and loved ones,” the production company, Rust Movie Productions LLC, told the New York Post following the shooting.

On Monday, Baldwin advocated for the police to be involved in monitoring weapons on film sets.

None of the defendants have commented on the lawsuit at this time.


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Published on Nov 11, 2021