Although actor Alec Baldwin and “Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed are facing criminal charges for the October 2021 death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, the show must go on.
Most of the original cast and crew members are returning, but it looks like production plans to add another actor to the set as filming moves from New Mexico to Montana.
‘Rust’ Seeks New Actor As Production Resumes In Montana Next Month
On Thursday afternoon, Deadline was one of the first to report that “Rust” producers were looking for a new actor. Despite several lawsuits alleging safety concerns and negligence on set, producers are still hopeful that they will be able to find a new child actor before production kicks off next month.
The new “Rust” production, which omits the scene that led to the death of Halyna Hutchins, is currently casting the role of a young boy who is hard of hearing. The character of Jacob Hollister is a supporting role, with the description calling him “a smart, sweet little boy who knows nothing of the world other than what his older brother Lucas has created for him. Lucas is all Jacob has in the world.”
Producers are looking for a “white boy” between “6-to-7 years old” to play the part, which is scheduled to start on April 23. It’s the first start date that has been released to the public ever since the production planned to start filming in January of this year after scouting locations in California.
Things were derailed as criminal charges were announced against Alec Baldwin and “Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed that same month. The production was moved to Montana, at the Yellowstone Film Ranch. Baldwin is expected to resume filming scenes for his starring role in the film, even despite the criminal charges against him.
The Preliminary Hearing For Baldwin And Gutierrez-Reed Begins On May 3
If he and Hannah Gutierrez-Reed are found guilty of the charges, they could each face an 18-month-long sentence and various fines. Although the Western film is expected to resume production in April, the preliminary hearing is scheduled to begin on May 3, with New Mexico Judge Mary Marlow Sommer presiding.
Although GOP elect and special prosecutor Andrea Reeb has stepped down from her position in the trial, Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies will present the evidence and call witnesses from the finalized list which is due at the end of April. The list, which has already been amended five times, includes Halyna Hutchins’ widow, Matthew Hutchins, and first assistant director David Halls, who pled guilty to the charge of the negligent use of a firearm.
In a statement, Reeb said, “After much reflection, I have made the difficult decision to step down as special prosecutor in the Rust case. My priority in this case — and in every case I’ve prosecuted in my 25-year career — has been justice for the victim.”
“However, it has become clear that the best way I can ensure justice is served in this case is to step down so that the prosecution can focus on the evidence and the facts, which clearly show a complete disregard for basic safety protocols led to the death of Halyna Hutchins,” she added. “I will not allow questions about my serving as a legislator and prosecutor to cloud the real issue at hand.”
Alec Baldwin Pleads ‘Not Guilty’ To ‘Rust’ Manslaughter Charges
Although a hearing was initially scheduled for February 24, the “30 Rock” actor skipped out by deciding to plead guilty instead.
In legal documents submitted in court, Baldwin’s lead lawyer Luke Nikas wrote, “I hereby certify that I have explained to Mr. Baldwin his right to personally appear before the District Court to enter a plea of Not Guilty and to have his rights explained to him by the judge and I am satisfied that Mr. Baldwin understands the waiver of these rights.”
Nikas previously released a statement condemning the charges against Baldwin, saying, “This decision distorts Halyna Hutchins’ tragic death and represents a terrible miscarriage of justice. Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun — or anywhere on the movie set.”
“He relied on the professionals with whom he worked, who assured him the gun did not have live rounds,” Nikas added. “We will fight these charges, and we will win.”
Hannah Gutierrez-Reed has not yet entered her plea. However, her attorney, Jason Bowles, released a statement at the time the charges were announced, saying, “Hannah is, and has always been, very emotional and sad about this tragic accident. But she did not commit involuntary manslaughter.”
“These charges are the result of a very flawed investigation, and an inaccurate understanding of the full facts,” Bowles added. “We intend to bring the full truth to light and believe Hannah will be exonerated of wrongdoing by a jury.”