‘Rust’ to Restart Production in California – The Hollywood Reporter
The filmmaking team behind Rust is making early plans to move production from New Mexico to California when filming resumes, multiple sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.
Production on the Western is set to pick up again with “all the original principal players on board” in January 2023 as part of a settlement with the family of Halyna Hutchins, the cinematographer who was shot and killed in 2021 during the initial filming of the movie at Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe, New Mexico. Sources tell THR that early plans are for production to continue in California rather than New Mexico, though it’s not clear yet where in the state it will be filmed or whether plans could shift. Matthew Hutchins, Halyna’s husband, is set to executive produce.
A representative for Rust Movie Productions, attorney Melina Spadone, said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter: “The production of Rust will not return to New Mexico. The production is considering other locations, including in California, but no decisions have been made.”
Major crew union IATSE confirmed Wednesday that its initial plan for the resumed production is to staff safety personnel on the set, assuming the production companies involved are under a union contract. (The Rust Movie Productions representative declined to comment when asked about the companies involved in the upcoming continuation of production.) Hutchins belonged to IATSE Local 600, the International Cinematographers Guild. Before the shooting that killed Hutchins occurred on the Rust set in 2021, seven workers in the camera department walked off set over what former A-camera first assistant Lane Luper told THR was an unsafe work environment.
In March, the Directors Guild of America ordered members off of Oak, a film backed by Rust producer Thomasville Pictures after, according to the DGA, producers failed to meet “specific safety requirements” in the DGA agreement. (In a statement at the time, Thomasville Pictures spokesperson Stefan Friedman said the film was “proud” to still be working with IATSE and SAG-AFTRA and with those two unions and the DGA on a separate film.) While IATSE, which had members on the shoot, did not follow suit, it sent an international safety representative to the set.
When the civil settlement over Rust first went public in early October, containing the news that its filmmakers planned to finish the movie starting in January, it took several Hollywood unions by surprise. “No one has contacted us from the production. I have not spoken to anyone related to the production since that tragic accident happened, so everything I’ve seen has been in the press. No one has said a word,” Teamsters Local 399 secretary-treasurer Lindsay Dougherty told THR at the time. THR reached out to Teamsters Local 399 to determine whether the union has heard from the production since.
Hutchins’ death after a prop gun held by actor Alec Baldwin went off during a rehearsal for the film became a rallying cry for Hollywood to make set safety a priority. In the aftermath of her death, two California state senators introduced bills attempting to reform industry practices. One bill was backed by entertainment unions (SB 831) and the other by the Motion Picture Association (SB 829) — both eventually failed last spring when the two sides didn’t reach a compromise.
In a statement to THR after the Rust settlement announcement revealed production would continue, the office of SB 829 champion Sen. Anthony Portantino said, “Senator Portantino continues to be committed to finding a sensible solution to outstanding set safety issues. He was disappointed in the inability of stakeholders to craft a compromise last year but is optimistic one will be developed during this legislative session.”
The New Mexico district attorney’s office has yet to reveal whether they will file criminal charges against anyone connected to the Rust accident.
Kim Masters and Winston Cho contributed reporting.
Oct. 19, 8:38 p.m.: Updated with the latest statement from Rust Movie Productions.