People will “definitely” go to see the Western “Rust” despite the lead actor Alec Baldwin has been charged in the death of the cinematographer, some observers say.
Melina Spadon, an attorney for Rust Movie Productions, confirmed to Fox News Digital the movie “nearing completion starring Mr. Baldwin and directed by Joel Souza.”
Spadon also confirmed that the project will include “on-set security guards and union crew members and any use of serviceable weapons or any ammunition will be prohibited.” Live ammunition was reportedly banned on the set of Rust.
One expert told Fox News Digital that the tragedy on the set of “Rust” could actually lead to much higher box office receipts.
“There’s actually a much larger audience that knows about ‘Rust’ because of this terrible tragedy,” Kelsey Kintner, senior vice president of Red Banyan, explained to Fox News Digital. “I’m sure people will be interested to see how the producers handle the film in light of the tragic circumstances, and it will also be interesting to see Alec Baldwin’s performance with very serious allegations hanging over him.”
However, brand expert Eric Schiffer noted that for a large part of people, the film is untouchable.
“Those who brake during freeway crashes and pass the time doing 90-degree turns and glued to the stage are going to watch this,” Schiffer told Fox News Digital. “But to millions of others, ‘Rust’ is dust. They wouldn’t touch it. They’d walk by it as they would a dirty bomb in their neighborhood.”
Experts have agreed that the weapon will likely continue to be used in the film, despite the tragic shooting that took place on the original set in 2021.
“I think they’re going to try to find a way to capture the thirst for the experience that some will want — the thirst for the terrifying — with respect for those who still have to be here and on this planet,” Schiffer noted.
Kitner added:Western movie in which a criminal tries to break his grandson out of prison, so guns and violence will definitely be part of the film. But one thing can be said for sure: serious security measures will be taken so that there are no live ammunition on the set.
“In fact, it is to be hoped that all film sets have reviewed and evaluated their safety protocols in light of this preventable accident. At the end of the day, it would be fitting that Galina Hutchins is remembered not only for her work, but also for the changes she made that made movie sets safer moving forward.”
It was announced “Rust” would be completed after Galina’s family settled a lawsuit against Baldwin and other members of the production. The film does not end in New Mexico.
“Galina’s widower is now executive producing the film and understandably wants the final product to pay tribute to his late wife’s last work,” Kintner said. “Given his involvement and commitment to the completion of the last production of Galina, it makes sense to move forward.”
Schiffer called this step a “disgusting money grabbing.”
“It shows a lot of disrespect for Galina, all for the sake of Hollywood profits, at a time when the star could be facing jail time,” Schiffer told Fox News Digital.
Baldwin will be charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter in the fatal shooting of Hutchins. The cinematographer died on October 21, 2021, after firing the gun Baldwin was holding on the set.
Souza was also wounded in a shooting at a church in Bonanza Creek Ranch in New Mexico.
Baldwin’s lawyer called the decision to charge the actor a “judicial error”.
“This decision misrepresents the tragic death of Galina Hutchins and represents a horrific miscarriage of justice,” Quinn Emanuel’s Luke Nikos said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe that there was a live bullet in the gun — or anywhere on the set. He relied on the professionals he worked with to assure him that there were no live rounds in the gun. We will fight these charges and we will win.”
Manslaughter is a Class D felony punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Baldwin’s second charge is statutory manslaughter, which “requires proof that the death involved more than simple negligence,” according to the DA’s office. It is also punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine.
However, this charge involves a firearm. If convicted of aggravated battery, Baldwin faces up to five years in prison.
Fox News Digital’s Tracy Wright contributed to this report.