In the wake of the on-set accident that left Rust cinematographer Halyna Hutchins dead and director Joel Souza injured, actor Alec Baldwin is preparing for legal battles. TMZ reports that Baldwin hired lawyer Aaron S. Dyer for the civil lawsuits resulting from the fatal Rust movie shooting. Dyer spent nearly seven years as a federal prosecutor in the L.A. U.S. Attorney's Office, will allegedly represent Baldwin and the production companies involved in the making of the film.
Baldwin, who fired the prop gun that was mistakenly loaded with live rounds, was hit with his first lawsuit earlier this month. The actor is one of several people being sued by Rust crew member Serge Svetnoy in the aftermath of the fatal on-set shooting. Svetnoy filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Tuesday, reports Variety, alleging Baldwin, assistant director David Halls, armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, and other defendants of negligence that caused him "severe emotional distress."
Svetnoy, who acted as the chief lighting technician on set, was struck by "discharge materials" from the shot, he claims in the lawsuit, and was nearly missed by the bullet. He then looked over to see Hutchins on the ground clutching her lower torso, and tried to aid his friend while medical help arrived. "The next 20-30 minutes felt like the longest of Plaintiff's life as he tried to aid and comfort Ms. Hutchins, watching helplessly as her consciousness faded inexorably away," the lawsuit states.
Svetnoy blames the film's producers in the lawsuit for a number of errors, including failing to hire a competent and experienced armorer. "Simply put, there was no reason for a live bullet to be placed in that .45 Colt revolver or to be present anywhere on the Rust set, and the presence of a bullet in a revolver posed a lethal threat to everyone in its vicinity," according to the lawsuit claiming a failure to "implement and maintain industry standards for custody and control over firearms used on set."
Producers allowing real ammunition to be stored on set was a breach of their duties, the lawsuit claims: "Plaintiff is informed and believes, and on such information and belief alleges that the ammunition used on the Rust set was never stored securely and was simply left unattended in the prop truck."
Baldwin has yet to respond publicly to the lawsuit. Gutierrez Reed's attorney, Jason Bowles, released a public statement questioning how live rounds ended up in the blank box. "We are convinced that this was sabotage and Hannah is being framed," Bowles said. "We believe that the scene was tampered with as well before the police arrived."