Lawyers for the actor Alec Baldwin and other producers behind the film “Rust” filed a motion on Monday seeking to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the movie’s script supervisor, who was feet away from the actor on the movie set in New Mexico when he fatally shot a cinematographer.
The script supervisor, Mamie Mitchell, said in her lawsuit, filed last year, that she was standing nearby when the gun fired a live bullet that killed the cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, and wounded the film’s director, Joel Souza. Mitchell then ran out of the wooden church set that had been the backdrop for the scene and called 911.
The lawsuit claimed that Ms. Mitchell “sustained serious physical trauma and shock and injury to her nervous system and person” as a result of her proximity to the shooting. It accused Baldwin of “intentionally, without just cause or excuse,” cocking and firing the revolver in a scene that did not call for it.
In Monday’s court filing, lawyers for Mr. Baldwin wrote that he could not have intentionally shot a live bullet from the gun because shortly before it discharged, the movie’s first assistant director called out “cold gun,” indicating that the old-fashioned revolver being used as a prop did not contain any live bullets and should have been safe to handle.
“It is completely illogical for plaintiff to contend defendant Mr. Baldwin received a prop gun that everyone including plaintiff and defendant Mr. Baldwin expected to be ‘cold,’ while at the same time stating that Mr. Baldwin’s conduct was intentional in accidentally firing a live round,” the filing said.
Mr. Baldwin said in a television interview last year that he did not pull the trigger of the gun while he was practicing on set that day. He said he did not fully cock the hammer of the gun, but pulled it back and let it go in an action that might have set it off.
The filing from Mr. Baldwin’s and the production’s lawyers also asserted that Ms. Mitchell’s grievance did not qualify as a complaint under New Mexico’s workers’ compensation law.
Ms. Mitchell’s lawsuit targeted the production more broadly for making a series of what she called “cost-cutting measures,” including hiring a 24-year-old armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who was just starting out her career as a lead armorer in the industry. Ms. Gutierrez-Reed’s lawyer has said that she was dedicated to safety on set; she filed her own lawsuit against the film’s supplier of guns and ammunition.
The production’s court filing said that Ms. Mitchell’s allegations relied on “a list of things that she contends, in hindsight, should or should not have been done” to ensure safety on set; the production’s lawyers argued that her case was insufficient and should be dismissed.