Alec Baldwin Will Continue with Rust Production Despite Criminal Charges: Source
Alec Baldwin's Rust will continue production after the Santa Fe County District Attorney's Office announced Thursday the actor would face two counts of involuntary manslaughter in the on-set death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, PEOPLE can confirm.
Both producer/star Baldwin, 64, and director Joel Souza are still on board to continue with the film, a source told The New York Times, noting that updated safety measures will be in place, with a ban on live ammunition and working weapons.
A representative for Baldwin did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
According to the Times, locations in California are being considered to resume production, as opposed to its original filming location in New Mexico.
The film's production was set to resume this month after Baldwin settled a wrongful-death lawsuit with Hutchins' widower, Matthew, in October 2022.
Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office/ZUMA Alec Baldwin on the set of Rust
Matthew, who shares 10-year-old son Andros with Hutchins, announced the settlement in the case, along with the news that he had signed on to executive produce Rust, in a statement at the time.
"I have no interest in engaging in recriminations or attribution of blame (to the producers or Mr. Baldwin). All of us believe Halyna's death was a terrible accident. I am grateful that the producers and the entertainment community have come together to pay tribute to Halyna's final work," the October 2022 statement said.
Hutchins, 42, was killed in October 2021 after being shot with live rounds from a prop gun Baldwin was holding.
Souza, 49, was also injured after being struck by one of the rounds, though no charges will be filed in that incident according to Santa Fe County District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies and special prosecutor Andrea Reeb.
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Rachel Luna/WireImage; Mat Hayward/Getty/AMC Networks Alec Baldwin; Halyna Hutchins
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Carmack-Altwies and Reeb also announced Rust's armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed would be charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter alongside Baldwin. The charges will be formally filed before the end of the month.
Baldwin has maintained that he did not pull the trigger on the prop gun.
His attorney, Luke Nikas of Quinn Emanuel, said in a statement Thursday, "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."
"We will fight these charges, and we will win," Nikas added.
Jason Bowles and Todd J. Bullion, attorneys for Gutierrez-Reed, said in a statement, "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. We intend to bring the full truth to light and believe Hannah will be exonerated of wrongdoing by a jury," they added.
Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal/Zuma Rust set
According to a release from the DA, assistant director David Halls signed a plea agreement for the charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon.
Halls' attorney, Lisa Torracco, said of the plea deal, "Mr. Halls accepted a petty misdemeanor charge. Absent no charges at all, this is the best outcome for Mr. Halls and the case. He can now put this matter behind him and allow the focus of this tragedy to be on the shooting victims and changing the industry so this type of accident will never happen again."
"Mr. Halls denies handing a firearm to Mr. Baldwin," Torracco added.
After announcing the charges against Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed, Carmack-Altwies added in her statement, "On my watch, no one is above the law, and everyone deserves justice."
Reeb continued, "If any one of these three people — Alec Baldwin, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed or David Halls — had done their job, Halyna Hutchins would be alive today. It's that simple. The evidence clearly shows a pattern of criminal disregard for safety on the Rust film set. In New Mexico, there is no room for film sets that don't take our state's commitment to gun safety and public safety seriously."