‘Rust’ producer is optimistic the movie will be completed after investigation

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A New Mexico agency last week imposed a $136,793 fine against “Rust” co-producers, saying they “demonstrated plain indifference” to employee safety.
(Roberto E. Rosales / Albuquerque Journal)
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Several months after Alec Baldwin accidentally shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins while on the set of “Rust,” one of the film’s producers says he is “confident” they’ll be able to finish the movie.

Rust Movie Productions is still being investigated by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office after the company was accused of cutting corners and flouting safety guidelines that led to the fatal misfiring of the gun on Oct. 21, 2021. Once the investigation concludes, however, co-producer Anjul Nigam believes the team will pick up where they left off with the film.

“We’re confident we’ll be able to complete the movie,” Nigam recently told the Hollywood Reporter. “‘Rust’ is obviously a horrific tragedy. The investigation will hopefully be resolved soon and will unveil what happened. Obviously, there will be people out there who will have negative perspectives, but we’re confident about continuing to make quality movies.”


Newly released videos from Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office show a woman struggling to grasp the enormity of the incident and her potential liability.

April 27, 2022

After the THR article was published, Nigam clarified his statements in an email to the Los Angeles Times.

“My statement that I was confident the film could be completed was just my optimism, and not an actual plan,” Nigam wrote Monday night. “Many of those who were involved hope to honor Halyna by completing her last work, but at this point it is just hope.”

Last month, the New Mexico Environment Department’s Occupational Health and Safety Bureau hit “Rust” producers with a $136,793 fine for various safety violations, the largest it’s ever doled out against a production company. New Mexico Environment Cabinet Secretary James Kenney said managers “demonstrated plain indifference” to employee safety and claimed they knew gun safety protocol was not being followed yet refused to act.

‘Rust’ movie producers contested New Mexico OSHA citation and findings of safety violations that led to the deadly shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins by Alec Baldwin.

May 10, 2022

“Our investigation found that this tragic incident never would have happened if Rust Movie Productions LLC had followed national film industry standards for firearm safety,” Kenney said in a statement last month. “This is a complete failure of the employer to follow recognized national protocols that keep employees safe.”

Rust Movie Productions disputed the accusations and contested the penalty in a May 10 filing, claiming it was not responsible for supervising the film set and that it addressed all alleged gun misfires.

“RMP disputes [the New Mexico Environment Department’s] citations and its summary of investigation because its bases for the citations are factually and legally inaccurate,” the company said. “The attempt to extend the application of a fire extinguisher regulation to a special effects device shows their misunderstanding of the film industry.”


Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed on the set of “Rust” in October 2021. A judge dismissed the involuntary manslaughter case against star Alec Baldwin in July 2024.

July 12, 2024

Hutchins’ family filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Alec Baldwin and other producers in February.

Last week, Baldwin and Nigam announced they had formed a new TV and film company in the wake of the incident, and that they would be selling their first project at the Cannes Film Festival, which begins Tuesday. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Baldwin will star in the psychological thriller “False Awakening,” and Nigam said he believed distributors will be “receptive” to the new film.

“I’m gonna go out there and sell [‘False Awakening’],” James Norrie of Amp International, which is selling worldwide rights to the movie at Cannes, told the Hollywood Reporter. “So far the reaction has been one of interest. I’ve not had anyone come back saying, ‘That’s a funny one.’ The general consensus seems to be that [what happened on ‘Rust’] was an awful accident.”