Rust: Troubled Production, Starring Alec Baldwin, Plans to Start Shooting in California


Production on the Western is set to pick up again with “all the original principal players on board” in January 2023 as part of settlement with the family of Halyna Hutchins, the cinematographer who was shot and killed in 2021 during the initial filming of the movie at Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe, New Mexico. Sources say that early plans are for production to continue in California rather than New Mexico, though it’s not clear yet where in the state the film is targeting or whether plans could shift. Matthew Hutchins, Halyna’s husband, is set to executive produce.

Major crew union IATSE confirmed on Wednesday that its initial plan for the resumed production is to staff safety personnel on the set, assuming the production companies involved are under a union contract. (The Rust Movie Productions representative declined to comment when asked about the companies involved in the upcoming continuation of production.) Hutchins belonged to IATSE Local 600, the International Cinematographers Guild. Before the shooting that killed Hutchins occurred on the Rust set in 2021, 7 workers in the camera department walked off set over what former A-camera first assistant Lane Luper said was an unsafe work environment.

In March, the Directors Guild of America ordered members off of the Oak, a film backed by Rust producer Thomasville Pictures after, according to the DGA, producers failed to meet “specific safety requirements” in the DGA agreement. (In a statement at the time, Thomasville Pictures spokesperson Stefan Friedman said the film was “proud” to still be working with IATSE and SAG-AFTRA and with those two unions and the DGA on a separate film.) While IATSE, which had members on the shoot, did not follow suit, it sent an international safety representative to the set.

When the civil statement over Rust first went public in early October, containing the news that its filmmakers planned to finish the movie starting in January, it took several Hollywood unions by surprise. “No one has contacted us from the production. I have not spoken to anyone related to the production since that tragic accident happened, so everything I’ve seen has been in the press. No one has said a word,” Teamsters Local 399 secretary-treasurer Lindsay Dougherty said at the time.

In a statement after the Rust settlement announcement revealed production would continue, the office of SB 829 champion Sen. Anthony Portantino said, “Senator Portantino continues to be committed to finding a sensible solution to outstanding set safety issues. He was disappointed in the inability of stakeholders to craft a compromise last year but is optimistic one will be developed during this legislative session.”

The New Mexico district attorney’s office has yet to reveal whether they will file criminal charges against anyone connected to the Rust accident.