A New "Rust" Lawsuit Says That Alec Baldwin Fired The Gun Even Though The Upcoming Scene Didn't Call For It
A lawsuit by Mamie Mitchell, a script supervisor on Rust, says "there was nothing in the script" requiring the use of a firearm in the upcoming scene.
A new lawsuit filed by a Rust crew member on Wednesday alleges that Alec Baldwin discharged the gun that accidentally killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins last month despite the fact that the script for the scene to be filmed that day did not call for a gun to be fired.
Mamie Mitchell, a script supervisor on Rust who was standing four feet away from Baldwin when he fired the loaded gun on Oct. 21, is suing Baldwin and the movie's producers, alleging that their actions were "reckless" and caused her "severe emotional distress." Mitchell was the person who called 911 after Hutchins and director Joel Souza were shot.
"Alec Baldwin intentionally, without just cause or excuse, cocked and fired the loaded gun even though the upcoming scene to be filmed did not call for the cocking and firing of a firearm," the lawsuit states. "Mr. Baldwin chose to play Russian Roulette with a loaded gun without checking it and without having the Armorer do so."
Authorities have said that Baldwin discharged the prop gun while rehearsing for a scene in the Western indie movie inside a church in New Mexico. At the time, the Santa Fe sheriff's office said that a “scene being filmed involved a prop firearm when it was discharged."
But Mitchell alleges in her lawsuit that no rehearsal had been called and the crew had not begun filming at the time Baldwin fired the prop gun.
According to the lawsuit, Mitchell, Hutchins, and Souza discussed three upcoming camera shots to be used in the next scene when filming resumed after the lunch break on Oct. 21. One shot focused on Baldwin's eyes, another on a bloodstain on his shoulder, and a third on his torso "as he reached down to his holster and removed the gun," the lawsuit said.
"There was nothing in the script about the gun being discharged" by Baldwin or anyone else, the lawsuit states.
Had the scene called for a gun to be discharged, Mitchell — according to the lawsuit — would have been required to stand outside the church to view Baldwin's actions on exterior monitors.
The lawsuit also names Rust's armorer, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, as a defendant, alleging that there were multiple violations of industrywide safety protocols for the use of firearms on movie sets.
Reed previously told investigators that she had checked to make sure that no "hot" or live ammunition rounds were in the gun that was eventually handed to Baldwin by assistant director Dave Halls, who picked it up from a rolling cart and yelled out that it was a "cold gun," indicating that it was safe to use.
The lawsuit accuses Baldwin, an industry veteran, of relying on Hall's assurance that the gun was not loaded instead of checking it himself.
Representatives for Reed, Baldwin, and the producers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
"The fact that live ammunition was allowed on a movie set, that guns and ammunition were left unattended on a cart and allowed to be handled by those who had no business handling them, the fact that safety bulletins were not promulgated or ignored makes this a case where injury or death was much more than just a possibility; it was a likely result," Gloria Allred, Mitchell's attorney, said in a statement at a press conference Wednesday.
As BuzzFeed News previously reported, two of the filmmakers involved in the making of Rust own a company known for working in unsafe conditions.
On the day of the shooting, several Rust camera operators and their assistants had walked off the job to protest payment and housing issues, according to the lawsuit and court documents.
During Wednesday's press conference, a tearful Mitchell recalled the sequence of events that led to the death of Hutchins, whom she described as a "great collaborator" and "my new friend."
Mitchell said that after lunch, she went inside the church with other crew members to get ready for camera setup. She said that she saw Baldwin "going through his movement with the gun for the camera."
Mitchell said she was holding the script in one hand and her iPhone in the other when there was an "explosion" and a "deafening loud gunshot."
"I heard someone moaning, and I turned around and my director was falling backwards and holding his upper body, and I turned around toward Alec and saw Halyna going down to the left of me," Mitchell recalled.
She said she ran outside and called 911, then later saw Hutchins being carried on a stretcher to an ambulance. When Mitchell returned home, she was told that Hutchins had died of the gunshot wound to her chest.
"I stood in my driveway screaming," Mitchell said, adding that the shooting had left her depressed and feeling unsafe.
Mitchell has been working as a script supervisor for 40 years, she said.
"I have never before seen anything like what happened on Oct. 21, and I never want to see what happened on that date happen again," she said.