A crew member on the film Rust who held cinematographer Halyna Hutchins as she died after being struck by a live round filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the film’s producers, including Alec Baldwin.
Serge Svetnoy, the gaffer, or chief lighting technician, on the film filed the suit accusing the film’s producers and other staff members of negligence as it alleges they failed to properly inspect the revolver fired by Baldwin that killed Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza to ensure it did not contain live ammunition before handing it to the actor.
The lawsuit seeks damages on Svetnoy’s behalf, stating he was injured by discharge materials that struck him as he was standing “no more than six to seven feet” from Baldwin when he fired the gun” and was traumatized by seeing his friend die, leaving him unable to work.
“He felt a strange and terrifying whoosh of what felt like pressurized air from his right,” the suit states. “He felt what he believed was gunpowder and other residual materials from the gun directly strike the right side of his face and scratch the lenses of the eyeglasses he was wearing.”
Svetnoy described holding Hutchins as she lay bleeding in the aftermath of the shooting during a press conference Wednesday.
“I tried to save her life,” he said.
“I still cannot believe that she is no longer with us,” Svetnoy added. “What a tragedy and injustice when a person loses her life on a film set while making art.”
In addition to Baldwin, Rust Movie Produtions LLC, prop master Sarah Zachry, armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, first assistant director Dave Halls and several other producers with the project were named as defendants in the suit.
Court records state that Zachry handed the .45 Colt to Gutierrez-Reed, who loaded it as Halls “failed to thoroughly and properly inspect” the weapon before he called out “cold gun” before handing the weapon to Baldwin, indicating it did not contain live ammunition.
It also accuses Baldwin of behaving negligently when he failed to ensure the gun “was indeed ‘cold'” before he practiced with it, stating he should have checked to make sure it did not contain live ammunition and was obligated to handle the gun “as if it was loaded and to refrain from pointing it at anyone.”
The suit also states that the scene did not require Baldwin to fire the gun.
Svetnoy alleges the producers “declined requests for weapons training days, failed to allow proper time to prepare for gunfire, failed to send out safety bulletins with call sheets, spread staff too thin, failed to ensure that industry safety standards were strictly observed when preparing and filming with firearms and engaged in other cost-cutting moves.”
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