The film’s electrical chief said he watched his friends die in his arms after actor Alec Baldwin fired off a gun that was supposed to be loaded with blanks.
A crew member who witnessed a deadly shooting on the set of “Rust” has filed a lawsuit against actor Alec Baldwin and the film’s producers.
According to Reuters, the lawsuit was filed by Serge Svetnoy, chief electrician on the movie’s Santa Fe set.
In his complaint, Svetnoy accused Baldwin and the producers of failing to maintain safety standards, thereby allowing “a revolver loaded with live ammunition to be pointed at the persons on the Rust set.”
Svetnoy’s lawsuit, says Reuters, is believed to be the first filed after Baldwin accidentally shot and killed another crew member. While Baldwin had believed the revolver he was handling contained only dummy rounds or blank cartridges, it had been instead been loaded with live ammunition.
On October 21st, Baldwin was handed a revolver he had been told was safe for use. He then shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, and wounded director Joel Souza.
“Film making is a wonderful art, but no one should ever die for other people to be entertained,” Svetnoy’s attorney, Gary Dordick, said in a press conference. “They should never, never have had live rounds on this set.”
Svetnoy, who was one of a few people on set at the time of the shooting, said he has been emotionally scarred by the incident.
On the day of the incident, Svetnoy was setting up lighting just several feet from Baldwin.
“What happened next will haunt Plaintiff forever,” the lawsuit states. “He felt a strange and terrifying whoosh of what felt like pressurized air from his right. He felt what he believed was gunpowder and other residual materials directly strike the right side of his face.”
Afterward, Svetnoy said that he held Hutchins in his arms as she bled from a chest wound.
National Public Radio notes that Svetnoy had earlier explained that “Rust” was the ninth film he and Hutchins had collaborated on, and that he had accepted a position at lower-than-expected pay because Hutchins asked him to.
“She was my friend,” Hutchins said.
Among the other defendants listed in the lawsuit is Hannah Gutierrez Reed, who was in charge of weapons on the set.
One of Gutierrez Reed’s attorneys, Jason Bowles, said in a statement that “we are convinced this was sabotage and that Hannah is being framed. We believe that the scene was tampered with as well before police arrived.”
Bowles added that Gutierrez Reed has fully cooperated with authorities and continues to assist law enforcement in their investigation.
“We are asking for a full investigation of the facts, including the live rounds themselves, how they ended up in the ‘dummies’ box, and who put them in there,” he said.
Dordick, meanwhile, said that his client is seeking unspecified damages, but does not wish to profit from the lawsuit.
Instead, Svetnoy wants to ensure that similar accidents do not occur on other movie sets.
“Mr. Svetnoy is not motivated by money,” Dordick said. “This lawsuit is to make these kinds of unsafe conditions that happen too much on movie sets stop now.”