Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed on the set of Rust in 2021. The first images from the film were released this week, but given the tragic circumstances of her death, is it morally reprehensible for the film to ever be released?
The first images from the upcoming film have been released Rustwhich showcases the work of the late cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
The filming of _Rust_ was mired in controversy when Hutchins was killed on set in New Mexico after a prop gun was fired by lead actor and producer Alec Baldwin on October 21, 2021. Director Joel Souza was also injured in the accident.
Baldwin had been given a real gun to use as a prop that had real bullets loaded inside it. When he pulled out his gun during a test run before shooting, a bullet was fired, killing Hutchins.
Following the incident, Baldwin was charged with involuntary manslaughter along with the film’s gunsmith Hannah Gutierrez-Reed on January 19, 2023. She faces a second charge of tampering with evidence and is scheduled to go to trial in February.
18 months after the incident, filming resumed after the charges against Baldwin were dropped. Although there were rumors that New Mexico prosecutors considered charging the actor, nothing turned out to be the case and the film was completed, with Bianca Cline stepping in for Hutchins.
It’s been a long journey to get to this point Rust. By all accounts, he most likely never expected the film to see the light of day after Hutchins’ death. The $8 million (€9.3 million) film was a passion project for Baldwin and Souza, who together developed the story of an old outlaw (Baldwin) who comes out of hiding in 1880s Kansas to save his nephew 13 years from a death sentence. due to an accidental homicide.
You couldn’t write a better plot than this.
Is it appropriate that Baldwin and Souza are moving forward with the film’s release? It would be tempting for the production companies behind the film to want to bury the entire project and hope that the world quickly forgets all about the horrific incident that will forever besiege the film’s legacy.
After all, it is unlikely to be a classic. Little about Baldwin’s ego vehicle screams essential watch. Before the accident, in a worst-case scenario, the film would likely have been little-seen at some lesser-known film festivals before disappearing without a proper distributor. At best, it might have proved popular for a short time having been released for about a week on a streaming platform, but we all know the chances of getting lucky online.
Given the tragic situation of the death of a cinematographer and the terrible press storm around Baldwin, a film tax deduction à la Bad girl it would have seen everyone pay their dues and would have served as a quiet epilogue to the story.
Instead, Baldwin and Souza’s choice to distribute the film could be read in two ways. Perhaps this is the most suitable thing. While the film is not a cinematic classic, it nevertheless represents the final work of Hutchins, a cinematographer who dedicated her career to this art form. Her cinematic legacy is in some shots of Rust and letting people see his talent is a fair goal. Without a doubt, the film will probably end with a dedication to her.
On the other hand, the fact that the film is a passion project of the producer-director duo makes opportunism take over the situation. After all, how many people who had never heard of the film are now aware of it and are waiting for its release? This could be a great opportunity to turn a film that might be quickly forgotten into a source of income.
Baldwin has had to deal with his fair share of nasty comments in the press, and while he was certainly involved in the accident, he was cleared of blame and probably had to endure his own torment over it. He is free to do whatever he wants with the film. Whether you think it’s true to Hutchins’ memory to release it, the movie will come out.
For what it’s worth, my advice would be to release the film. It’s a horrible moment in cinematic history, but Hutchins probably would have believed in the importance of publishing the works of art created instead of hiding them. Even if it’s just a reminder of his life, more art is generally better.
The only addition I would suggest is that all profits be passed on to worthy causes. After his death, a GoFundMe campaign was established for Hutchins’ family, and the American Film Institute (AFI) announced that it would establish a scholarship for female cinematographers in his name. If this movie makes any money, that’s where it should go.