The head of lighting for the film “Rust” filed a complaint on Wednesday, alleging negligence in Alec Baldwin’s fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the New Mexico set of the Western, alleging “serious mental pain” that will plague him for the rest of his life.
The gunshot that killed Serge Svetnoy’s close friend Hutchins nearly missed him, and he held her head as she died, according to the claim.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Svetnoy’s attorney Gary A. Dordick stated, “They should never, ever have had live ammunition on this stage.”
Baldwin, who was both a performer and a producer on the picture, David Halls, the assistant director who handed Baldwin the pistol, and Hannah Gutierrez Reed, who was in charge of weapons on set, are among the almost two dozen defendants named in the case filed in Los Angeles Superior Court.
It’s the first of what may be a slew of lawsuits coming from the shooting on Oct. 21, which also injured “Rust” director Joel Souza.
Svetnoy and Hutchins had collaborated on nine films, and he had chosen the low-paying position because she had begged him to.
At the press conference, Svetnoy added, “She was my buddy.”
He said he had observed firearms sitting unattended in the mud a few days prior to the shoot and had notified the shoot’s organizers.
He was setting up lights within 6 or 7 feet (2 meters) of Baldwin on the day of the shoot, according to the claim.
The complaint claims that “what transpired next will haunt Plaintiff forever.” “From his right, he felt a weird and alarming whoosh of what seemed like pressured air. He felt what he thought were gunpowder and other leftover debris contact the right side of his face immediately.”
The suit claimed that he then knelt to assist Hutchins, his glasses scuffed and his hearing muted.
Both compensatory and punitive damages are sought in the complaint, which will be assessed later. Because the plaintiff and the majority of the defendants are headquartered in Los Angeles, the lawsuit was brought there.
The defendants’ attorneys and reps did not immediately reply to emails and phone calls seeking comment on the lawsuit.
“We are confident this was sabotage and Hannah is being framed,” Gutierrez Reed’s lawyer, Jason Bowles, said in a statement on Wednesday. Before the cops came, we suspect the scene had been tampered with as well.”
Bowles stated that his client has given authorities a comprehensive interview and is continuing to help them. The complaint was not mentioned in the statement.
“All of the facts, including the live rounds themselves, how they wound up in the ‘dummies’ box, and who put them in there,” the statement read.
Last week, Gutierrez Reed claimed she had inspected the gun Baldwin fired but had no idea how a live bullet got inside.
Investigators have found no evidence of sabotage, according to Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies. Sascha Guinn Anderson, an agency spokesperson, verified her claims on “Good Morning America” on Wednesday.
Investigators know who loaded the rifle, according to Carmack-Altwies, but it’s unknown how the lethal round of ammo ended up on the set. The district attorney expressed her worry about the several degrees of safety violations.
At the news conference, Dordick said it was “fanciful” to suspect sabotage, but Gutierrez Reed had the same obligation to know what was in the gun and who had handled it.
Halls, the assistant director, allegedly handed the handgun to Baldwin and remarked “cold gun,” suggesting that the weapon was safe to use.
Last week, Halls expressed the hope that the tragedy would push the film business to “reevaluate its beliefs and processes” to guarantee that no one was injured again, but he did not elaborate.
Baldwin said the shooting was a “one-in-a-trillion incident” on video on Oct. 30, stating, “We were a very, very well-oiled group filming a film together and then this horrific tragedy happened.”
According to court filings in New Mexico, director Souza told officers that Baldwin was practicing a scenario in which he took a pistol from his holster and aimed it toward the camera, which Hutchins and Souza were behind.
According to court documents, Souza stated that the scenario did not warrant for the firing of live ammunition, and Gutierrez Reed stated that actual munitions should never have been present.
Baldwin was just supposed to aim the pistol, according to the Los Angeles complaint, and not shoot it.
The circumstances of the movie-set shooting have perplexed Hollywood professionals. Other production crews have already increased their safety precautions as a result.