The Rust script supervisor who called 911 after Alec Baldwin accidentally shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on a movie set last month has filed an assault lawsuit in Los Angeles that largely faults the actor for not checking his prop weapon himself.
Mamie Mitchell — who was “standing close” to Hutchins when Baldwin drew the .45 Colt revolver and fired during a rehearsal at Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico — claims in her new 29-page complaint obtained by Rolling Stone that Baldwin — along with the movie’s producers, assistant director, rookie armorer and others — failed to follow adequate safety protocols on a problem-plagued set.
“Alec Baldwin intentionally, without just cause or excuse, cocked and fired the loaded gun even though the upcoming scene to be filmed did not call for the cocking and firing of the firearm,” reads the lawsuit filed Wednesday morning in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
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The filing states that Baldwin, being “an industry veteran,” should have known better than to trust the safety of a gun handed to him by anyone other than the movie’s prop master or armorer. In this case, the gun was given to Baldwin by assistant director Dave Halls, who allegedly declared it a “cold gun” — meaning it was not loaded with live rounds — before passing it to the actor.
“Alec Baldwin should have assumed that the gun in question was loaded unless and until it was demonstrated to him or checked by him that it was not loaded. He had no right to rely upon some alleged statement by the Assistant Director that it was a ‘cold gun.’ Mr. Baldwin cannot hide behind the Assistant Director to attempt to excuse the fact that he did not check the gun himself,” the complaint filed on behalf of Mitchell by lawyer Gloria Allred alleges.
In audio of the harrowing call released by local authorities, Mitchell directed blame for the shooting at the film’s assistant director, Dave Halls.
“This fucking [assistant director] that yelled at me at lunch — asking about revisions, this motherfucker — he’s supposed to check the guns, he’s responsible for what happens on the set,” Mitchell said in the call. “We were rehearsing and it went off and I ran out, we all ran out.”
Allred previously said Mitchell was a “friend and close colleague” of Hutchins. “She is devastated by the loss of her friend, who was an extraordinary woman,” Allred said. “Her heart goes out to Halyna’s husband and son, to whom she has spoken.”
The new complaint follows a week after Serge Svetnoy, the production’s chief of lighting, filed a negligence lawsuit against the film’s producers, including Baldwin, as well as Halls and rookie armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed.
Svetnoy, who previously wrote on Facebook that he was close friends with Hutchins and held her in his arms as she lay dying, said last week that he tried in vain to console Hutchins’ mother at the cinematographer’s funeral.
“My heart was torn when her mother was crying in my arms, asking how to survive the loss of her child,” he told reporters at a press conference. “I still cannot believe she is no longer with us. What a terrible tragedy and injustice when a person loses her life on a film set while making art.”
Svetnoy’s 25-page lawsuit alleges Baldwin should be on the hook for real and punitive damages along with the other named defendants, because he had a “duty” to “double-check” the Colt revolver for live ammunition even though Halls allegedly declared it a “cold gun.”
“Taking a gun and assuming it’s safe and pulling the trigger is a breach of that duty,” Svetnoy’s lawyer Gary Dordick told Rolling Stone last week. “So, Alec Baldwin is not treated any better or any worse, but he’s held to the basic standard of care of a reasonable person in those circumstances.”
Baldwin, 63, is cooperating with the investigation by Santa Fe County authorities and tweeted the day after the deadly shooting that he was stunned by what happened. “There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother, and deeply admired colleague of ours. I’m fully cooperating with the police investigation to address how this tragedy occurred and I am in touch with her husband, offering my support to him and his family. My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna,” he wrote on social media. He later spoke to photographers on the side of a road in Vermont, calling the shooting a “one-in-a-trillion” accident.
Gutierrez-Reed and her lawyer, meanwhile, are adamant that she did not allow live rounds on set. “We are asking for a full and complete investigation of all of the facts, including the live rounds themselves, how they ended up in the ‘dummies’ box, and who put them in there. We are convinced that this was sabotage and Hannah is being framed,” attorney Jason Bowles said in a statement last week. “We believe that the scene was tampered with as well before the police arrived,” he continued. “The truth-finding process demands that the District Attorney and FBI run down all of the evidence, including the nature of those live rounds.”
Asked by Rolling Stone to respond to that statement, Dordick said, “The suggesting by Ms. Gutierrez-Reed that someone put a live bullet in there intending him to point it and pull the trigger, meaning somebody sabotaged it to commit a murder, to me that sounds completely unbelievable.”
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