Actor Alec Baldwin has reached a civil settlement with the family of the woman he shot dead on a film set last year, he said Wednesday, as it was announced production on the movie would restart in January.
The US actor was holding a Colt gun during a rehearsal for Rust, a low-budget Western being filmed in New Mexico last October when it discharged a live round, killing 42-year-old Halyna Hutchins.
“We are pleased to announce today the settlement of the civil case filed on behalf of the family of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins,” Baldwin said in an Instagram post.
“Throughout this difficult process, everyone has maintained the specific desire to do what is best for Halyna’s son,” he said.
Details of the settlement, which also includes Rust Movie Productions, the limited liability company formed to make the movie, were not disclosed.
Baldwin, who was a producer as well as the star of Rust, had been told the gun was safe and has previously said he did not pull the trigger, though an FBI report determined the gun could not have gone off otherwise.
Production on the movie will resume in January, filmmakers said in a statement Wednesday, with Hutchins’ husband Matthew Hutchins taking on the role of executive producer.
“I have no interest in engaging in recriminations or attribution of blame (to the producers or Mr Baldwin),” Matthew Hutchins said in the statement. “All of us believe Halyna’s death was a terrible accident.”
According to Matthew Hutchins, “all the original principal players” will return to the set.
Rust director Joel Souza, who was also injured in the shooting, said he would devote his work on the film “to honouring Halyna’s legacy and making her proud.”
“Though certainly bittersweet, I am pleased that together, we will now complete what Halyna and I started,” he said.
The family’s lawsuit was one of a series of civil proceedings over the fatal shooting, which sent shockwaves through Hollywood, and led to calls for guns to be permanently banned from sets.
Almost a year on from the tragedy, investigators in New Mexico have filed no criminal charges, but have not ruled them out against anybody, including Baldwin.
In August, Baldwin said he did not believe he would be charged, telling CNN he had hired a private investigator to assess possible culpability.
While there has never been any doubt that the gun was in Baldwin’s hands when it went off, the central question that remains unresolved is how it came to be loaded with a live round.
Film sets are supposed to have stringent rules around prop weapons.
That has brought a focus on Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the movie’s young armourer and props assistant, and on assistant director, Dave Halls, who handed Baldwin the gun, apparently declaring it “cold” — industry speaks for inert.
Gutierrez-Reed has sued the film’s ammunition supplier, accusing him of leaving real bullets among the dummy cartridges.