Twenty-five crew members on the set of Alec Baldwin’s “Rust” have written in an open letter denying reports of the now-suspended indie film’s set as “chaotic, dangerous and exploitative are false” and adding that such “false” information distracts from the tragic Oct. 21 death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
The open letter was shared via Alec Baldwin’s Instagram page, and the letter says that their comments were not prompted by the producers.
“We do not feel that this set was a representation of the kind of conditions our unions are fighting against,” the 25 cast and crew members say in the letter. The crew members on “Rust” who signed the letter represent individuals within accounting, assistant directors, casting, camera, art, props, special effects and other departments.
The letter acknowledges the reports that a half dozen members of the camera crew resigned and walked off set on the day of Hutchins’ death but defends the production by saying that “those disgruntled few do not express the views of all of us.”
“On ‘Rust,’ our working hours and wages were consistent with with expectations,” adding that transportation requirements to the Bonanza Creek Ranch were “well understood,” that housing was provided by the union and that “payments were made, generally on time.” And it also says that above-the-line producers made themselves available for safety meetings and concerns.
“The working morale on set was high,” the letter continues. “The work was hard, but meaningful. We were inspired by the quality of the screenplay and the performances of the cast. Halyna’s work ethic was inspiring and we were working to our highest ability to support her vision.”
The letter concludes by saying that crew members are continuing to work with investigators, as well as with a “request” about “generalizations” on the film’s set.
“We kindly request that your speculation and generalizations about us and our colleagues be sympathetic until an investigation is concluded,” it continued.
Hutchins was killed on the set of “Rust” in New Mexico on Oct. 21 after a gun held by Baldwin and containing a live round fired, fatally wounding her and injuring the film’s director, Joel Souza. A police investigation has been ongoing into how a live projectile found its way to set; no criminal charges have been filed.
A pair of “Rust” crew members, including the film’s gaffer Serge Svetnoy and the film’s script supervisor Mamie Mitchell have each filed civil lawsuits against Baldwin and the film’s producers, claiming general negligence on set, while others have spoken publicly claiming the film had lax safety requirements and issues with housing and transportation for crew members that contributed to poor working conditions.
See the full letter here.