‘Rust’ producers dispute agency quote as Alec Baldwin launches production company | Business

The production company behind ‘Rust,’ the low-budget western in which actor Alec Baldwin accidentally shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during filming last fall, has challenged an agency’s findings. New Mexico that she had violated her own security protocols.

In a filing on Tuesday, production company “Rust” disputed allegations that it violated industry security violations and disputed the proposed fine of $136,793.

Rust Movie Productions, or RMP, said it was not the employer responsible for overseeing the film set, and the alleged gun misfires on set have all been resolved, the company said. He also disputed other findings, noting that a fire extinguisher the agency said should have been inspected was actually a special effects device.

“The RMP is challenging the (New Mexico Department of the Environment) citations and its investigative summary because its basis for the citations is factually and legally inaccurate,” the company said. “The attempt to extend the application of a fire extinguisher regulation to a special effects device shows their misunderstanding of the film industry.”

The filing is a response to last month’s 11-page investigation into the tragedy by the New Mexico Department of the Environment’s Office of Occupational Health and Safety, which found that those responsible for the film “showed a clear disregard” for employee safety. The bureau imposed its maximum fine for protocol violations that resulted in the death of Hutchins and the injury of director Joel Souza. Hutchins’ murder, which was followed by a wrongful death lawsuit by his family, sparked industry-wide calls for better security on film sets.

Baldwin, who was also the film’s producer, denied any wrongdoing and a lawyer for the actor previously said the bureau’s report cleared him, citing his belief that the gun contained only dummy cartridges and that his role in the film focused on screenplay and casting.

Baldwin and fellow ‘Rust’ producer Anjul Nigam revealed on Tuesday that they have formed a new television and film company and will sell their first project at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, first reported by the trade publication Deadline. The news was confirmed by a spokesperson for the agency ICM, which represents Baldwin.

“We have worked together for several years now, and he has been a tremendous talent to do business with,” Nigam said in a statement. “It grew organically from the natural progression of things. The ride can be a rollercoaster and I’m excited to share it with Alec.

The New Mexico agency said production management knew gun safety procedures were not being followed on set and had not reviewed work practices or taken corrective action.

He cited correspondence among the crew as evidence that insufficient training had been given in the use of weapons, that the armourer had been stretched in his duties, and that weapon misfires had not made the subject of an investigation.

Additionally, investigators said managers or supervisors of ‘Rust’ — including Sarah Zachry and first assistant director Dave Halls — failed to follow firearms and blank ammunition safety guidelines. on the tray.

The agency said the production of “Rust” did not develop a process to ensure live ammunition was not brought onto set and did not give the 24-year-old gunsmith enough time. years Hannah Gutierrez Reed to inventory munitions.

Industry guidelines require sufficient training to handle weapons. But the production allegedly violated that protocol when unit production manager Gabrielle Pickle told Gutierrez Reed on Oct. 17 via text message that there would be no more training days, investigators said.

In its response, the production company said all actors handling firearms have received training and additional safety protocols have been put in place to protect a child actor. He said security meetings had taken place, including on the day of the death.

The company added that it has told all staff that they have so-called ‘stop work authority’, the ability to stop work at any time until problems arise. security are resolved. He said industry union representatives were on hand, including a designated crew member from the International Alliance of Theater Employees, to ensure industry safety protocols were put in place. implemented.

The company countered the agency’s allegation that Gutierrez Reed was unable to fully perform her duties as a gunsmith, as she was also responsible for handling other props. He quoted a message from costume designer Terese Davis to props master Zachry a few days after filming, alleging that Gutierrez Reed had time to do the gunsmith work that morning while the film crew was planning an outing.

Hutchins was killed during a rehearsal at a Bonanza Creek Ranch church when Baldwin pulled a gun from its holster and pointed it at Hutchins and Souza. Halls had given Baldwin a replica of a vintage Colt .45 pistol, pronouncing it “cold,” meaning there was no ammunition inside, according to law enforcement records. However, the gun contained dummy bullets and at least one lead bullet.

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Kevin A. Perras