"Rust" filming to resume after Alec Baldwin reaches settlement with widower of producer he killed on set

You’re right, It can mean a variety of things from “I put up money for this.” to “I am helping control how the movie is made from story to direction”, to “An extra credit so I get more share in the movie.”, to “I came up with the original idea this thing is based on 20 years ago.”

How much direct day-to-day control he had I am not sure, but who ever was running things was running a lax set - and Alec most likely isn’t 100% free of responsibility. Just because you didn’t directly do the thing or had direct oversight over the person who violated the safety protocols, doesn’t mean your lack of leadership what contributed to the accident. And again, he is going to share responsibility with the producers who were running day to day operations.

He also shares responsibility for not lowering the hammer properly and firing the weapon when he didn’t mean to. Though that is still an accident, it is a negligent one. Had it been a blank it would have been no harm, no foul, but it wasn’t

When you have a safety failure like this, especially one with built in redundancies, it is rarely the fault of a single person. You have to have multiple failures stack up.


See also: the Brandon Lee tragedy. The sheer amount of negligent events leading to his death would make a Final Destination writer say, “nah, that’s too convoluted.”


The 1st Assistant Director is the person who runs day-to-day set operations. They are also the primary person in charge of safety on set. Further, in this specific case, he is an individual with a history of negligence regarding firearms on set who broke protocol in at least three ways (according to statements circulating in the press) and who personally violated chain of custody of the weapon in question.

The only people on set (short of indirectly via labor action) with the power to replace the 1AD would be the Director (possibly, but not necessarily) and the Producers (et al, rarely are decisions of this kind made unilaterally, though a ranking executive on set may have that power).

When the crew is bringing safety issues to production that the 1AD is either not handling or is responsible for (as alleged by members of the camera crew in the days preceding the shooting), the Producers (et al) become responsible for addressing them (or in this case, liable for failing to do so).

The definitions are imprecise and vary from production to production based on a variety of factors, which makes a deep dive into their nuances academic at best and futile at worst.

Regardless, whether such a producer is personally a stakeholder or not, in most cases producers as such (executive or otherwise) typically represent stakeholder interests, and a producer on the set is akin (at minimum and in general) to an “officer on deck”.

In this case it is Baldwin’s position with the production company to which you refer, and his presence on set that are most relevant.

I agree with your point, but if it is known on set that the guy is unsafe, then it is up to the people above him to correct his behavior or replace him. They have some culpability for allowing him to continuing doing what he was doing.

So yes, if Alec’s title had zero sway on how the set was run, I guess he doesn’t have any responsibility there. Though I don’t see how an established star wouldn’t have SOME ability to impress upon the director or other producers changes he saw were needed.

And, again, his failure to properly handle the firearm was part of the chain of safety failure. If you are properly handling the firearm, and it goes off when you did not mean for it to - live round or blank - that is a safety failure. Had he been directed to fire the gun and then it went off with a live round, he was just part of the tragic accident, but doing it at the direction of the film makers.

FWIW - I am not out to get Baldwin. But I do feel he is partly culpable.

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Aside from the imprecise nature of the term.

My reading of the reporting. And the Rust production was a story I was following before the shooting because of the ongoing Union dispute. Baldwin does not appear to have been in control.

Baldwin does not have a position with Thomasville Pictures. His production company is El Dorado Pictures. They initially purchased the script, and were involved in lining up additional funding.

But producers (including non-Executive Producers) from Thomasville appear to be the ones in the drivers seat. And apparently from off-set (think it was Vegas). Near as I can tell they were responsible for hiring the armorer, and sent in non-Union crew in response to the walk-off. Without knowledge of any of those on set, including apparently Baldwin. The lax stunt safety, poor labor conditions, and bad COVID protocols that saw Union set, stunt, and safety staff walk off the job in the first place seemed to flow from Thomasville. And it seems to be a usual habit with these guys.

What I worry about here is that the narrow focus on Baldwin. Mostly because of his fame. Is letting the people behind Thomasville off the hook, when to all appearances more responsibility lies with them. They’re already involved in another dispute on a different production over on set safety and labor conditions. A lot of the escalating problems on the Rust set seem to run through these guys taking control away from those on set.

And producers from Thomasville have been reported to repeatedly undercut such efforts. Even on the part of the AD.

Baldwin clearly holds some responsibility here, and he certainly had a lot more pull than most. But even before this tragedy the story here involved a lot of on set principals showing up to suddenly different terms, different staff, different conditions.


I may have left some substantive bits in replies to others, but for clarity: while it is the responsibility (defined role) of the 1st AD to be on top of these things in the manner described, any person on set with the power to take action who does not do so is also culpable. Alec Baldwin is that person, and in his role as producer failed to address the crew’s concerns about Halls (in fact downplaying and dismissing them publicly in the immediate aftermath).

As an actor, Baldwin’s failure was one of many leading to tragedy, but as a producer on set, he holds a tremendous liability (and I doubt he would have settled had he or his lawyers felt otherwise).

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I’d guess it’s because the title credit comes with residuals. They may have sold him on how many billions the movie is going to make over a larger upfront settlement. Classic Hollywood and/or corporate move.

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Yep. And they’ve calculated the likely performance of the movie and know they will pay out less this way than they would up front. They likely gave him a hard sell about how great the movie is going to do and thus he’s sure to be rich if he takes the residuals!

I feel the same. I understand it’s not movie set protocol and that the armorer is ultimately responsible, but I have hard time accepting any world view where any person holding a real gun is not totally responsible for what that gun does. Maybe it’s easy to say this from my arm chair, but I feel like if I was an actor given a gun, I’d check that chamber every time.


In earlier reporting it was said that people were doing impromptu target practice off hours. Which means live rounds were some how on set and got mixed in with dummy rounds. Which is 110% a no go. That was the cardinal sin that lead to this tragic death. All of the other safety issues were problems too, but this alone, more or less, was going to lead to a tragic accident. :confused:

I do not know the full processes on a movie set. Actors have a mixed bag of training, and having them futz with something they don’t fully understand may actually increase the likelihood of something going wrong. With a single action revolver like that you would have to remove each round one at a time, and reload them one at a time. Visually, blanks are pretty evident. However dummy rounds look like the real thing and are much harder to tell apart.

I have heard conflicting reports that the AD was the one who may have loaded and handed the weapons, which they shouldn’t have done. Its another layer of someone doing something they shouldn’t have been messing with. (Hopefully the full investigation will make a time line of the failure leading up to this.)

Though Baldwin said he wasn’t supposed to shoot the gun, but he did not properly lower the hammer to prevent it from firing, so he is culpable some what for improper handling, IMO. Had this been a blank round it would have gone bang and scared everyone. Had it been a dummy round it would have just gone click and nothing.

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Yah it’s insanely irresponsible that live rounds would be within 50 miles of the set. There’s zero reason for that. As @Mister44 said, they were apparently target shooting off-hours, but that shouldn’t be allowed by a country mile. The incompetence up and down the whole chain here boggles the mind.

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The Armorer apparently had a habit of using set guns for target shooting off hours. And of bringing live ammo to sets.

Up to and including social media posts bragging about brining live ammo to and open carrying on set.


magic the gathering table flip GIF


Ahhh, right, I keep forgetting he was a producer, not “just” an actor.

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