'Rust' script supervisor files lawsuit against Alec Baldwin, film producers

·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
·4 min read

Rust script supervisor Mamie Mitchell is "not in any condition" to return to her job on that movie — if and when filming resumes — or any other after her experience there, attorney Gloria Allred said in a news conference Wednesday.

The two announced Mitchell's lawsuit against producer and actor Alec Baldwin, who fired the gun that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza on Oct. 21 in New Mexico, as well as a patchwork of other production companies and individual producers and crew members.

Mamie Mitchell reads her statement during a press conference with her attorney, Gloria Allred. (Photo: DAVID MCNEW/AFP via Getty Images)
Mamie Mitchell reads her statement during a press conference with her attorney, Gloria Allred. (Photo: DAVID MCNEW/AFP via Getty Images)

In a complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, Mitchell alleged that she was injured when the gun was fired just four feet away from her. She accused the defendants of assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress and deliberate infliction of harm, and said she's seeking compensatory and punitive damages.

Mitchell, the person who initially called 911 after the incident, was "shocked, traumatized and ... suffered physical and emotional harm because of what she saw, heard and experienced when she was in the line of fire when Alec Baldwin's gun discharged a live bullet on that day," Allred said in a statement.

Allred said Mitchell has had no contact with Baldwin or the parties behind another lawsuit, the one Rust gaffer Serge Svetnoy, filed last week. He was also struck by the bullet and accused many of the same parties of general negligence. 

Mitchell described Hutchins as a "great collaborator" and someone who had "beautiful energy."

She alleged in her lawsuit that the script hadn't even called for Baldwin — who was allegedly told by David Halls, the first assistant director, that the gun was "cold" — to fire a weapon. Instead, the cameras were just going to close in tightly on him to show that he was pulling out his gun.

"Alec Baldwin should have assumed that the gun in question was loaded unless and until it was demonstrated to him or checked by him that it was not loaded," according to the court document. "He had no right to rely upon some alleged statement by the Assistant Director that it was a 'cold gun.' Mr. Baldwin cannot hide behind the Assistant Director to attempt to excuse the fact that he did not check the gun himself."

Alec Baldwin is the star and a producer on his upcoming movie,
Alec Baldwin is the star and a producer on his upcoming movie, "Rust." (Photo: Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images for National Geographic)

At the news conference, Allred said that the star was being "reckless" and playing "Russian roulette." 

Baldwin's team did not respond to Yahoo Entertainment's request for comment.

Mitchell also criticized the production overall and echoed others who've said that standard safety measures were ignored on the set of the film, which had an estimated $7.3 million budget. For example, she was never told that a gun would be fired that day, and the cast and crew weren't instructed to move away from the action. 

She blamed producers for attempting "to cut through what was considered derisively as red tape common in Hollywood-based productions by running some of Rust's filmmaking apparatus out of Georgia and New Mexico." She said they intentionally endangered the lives of crew members by overlooking "at least [two] instances of weapons misfiring during the filming of Rust prior to [the Baldwin incident]" and for failing to hire an experienced armorer, in an effort to save money. The production's armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, had worked in that role on just one other film before Rust, according to IMDb. 

Gutierrez-Reed's attorney, Jason Bowles, earlier this month told Yahoo Entertainment that she was unaware of any live rounds on the set.

"Hannah was incredibly safety conscious and took her job very seriously from the moment she started on October 4th. She did firearms training for the actors as well as Mr. Baldwin, she fought for more training days and she regularly emphasized to never point a firearm at a person," Bowles said. "Never in a million years did Hannah think that live rounds could have been in the 'dummy' round box. Who put those in there and why is the central question. Hannah kept guns locked up, including throughout lunch on the day in question, and she instructed her department to watch the cart containing the guns when she was pulled away for her other duties or on a lunch break. Hannah did everything in her power to ensure a safe set. She inspected the rounds that she loaded into the firearms that day. She always inspected the rounds. She did again right before handing the firearm to Mr. Halls, by spinning the cylinder and showing him all of the rounds and then handing him the firearm. No one could have anticipated or thought that someone would introduce live rounds into this set."

Speaking Wednesday, Allred said her team has found no evidence of sabotage in their investigation of what happened.

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