The settlement that will allow production to resume on “Rust” has stirred complicated feelings among the film’s crew, with some saying they would not return to the project while others support the decision.

The producers announced on Oct. 5 that they plan to resume production in January, more than a year after Alec Baldwin shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins while preparing for a scene at a location near Santa Fe, N.M. The producers  including Baldwin settled a wrongful death lawsuit brought by Hutchins’ widower, Matthew, and said they intend to complete the film to honor Hutchins’ memory.

The lawsuit alleged that the production cut corners to save money, and put the crew at risk. And several crew members said they did feel unsafe and have no intention of going back. The district attorney continues to investigate, and may yet file criminal charges in the case. Three other civil suits are still pending.

“I absolutely would want nothing to do with it,” said one crew member, who asked not to be identified. “It was traumatizing across the board.” But other crew members have said that the production was not as hazardous as it’s been portrayed.

“They didn’t cut corners they did everything right,” said Aaron Ward, who did location work on the film. “It was just a freak accident, in my opinion.” Asked whether he supports resuming production, Ward said, “I’m all for it. I say, give the proceeds to the family and have a field day.”

The New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Review Commission is also expected to conduct an eight-day hearing on set safety violations in April. The production is challenging the state agency’s conclusion that it violated industry firearms rules and showed “plain indifference” to set safety. The production is also disputing a $136,793 penalty.

“The whole thing is challenging and complicated and messy,” said another crew member, who asked not to be identified out of concern over an NDA. “A lot of people around me were really hurt by those events.” If he were asked, he said didn’t think he could return to his job.“There’s just sort of a concern how I would emotionally respond to being in that space again,” he said. “I don’t know that I would do my job well.”

Scott Rasmussen, an armorer based in Albuquerque, turned down an offer to work on “Rust” last year. Since the settlement was announced, he said he had talked to at least eight other crew members. “Nobody likes the idea at all,” he said. “That’s not the way to honor Halyna going back in and finishing the film with the person who killed her. To have Alec Baldwin associated with the film any longer is an insult to her memory. Everybody I’ve spoken to will not work on it.”

The crew member who felt traumatized by the production also said the idea of completing the film made her uneasy. “They’re continuing on and using this whole scandal for publicity  which is what Hollywood does all the time,” she said. “It does not sit right with me.”But another crew member said that Matthew Hutchins’ decision to as an executive producer meant a lot to him.

“I think he’s doing it for all the right reasons,” the crew member said. “At a bare minimum, that project is the dream that his wife was working on, and right up to the accident, we had a beautiful-looking movie. If Matt wants to make the movie, and if Alec is willing to continue making the movie, then I think we should make the movie.”

Ed Pinkard, an animal wrangler who worked with horses on the film, said he also supports completing the project. “I’d like to see ’em finish, because I feel Halyna would want that,” he said. “It might bring a sense of closure.”


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