People will “absolutely” go see the western “Rust” despite lead actor Alec Baldwin being blamed for the death of the film’s cinematographer, according to some observers.
Melina Spadone, attorney for Rust Movie Productions, confirmed to Fox News Digital that the film is “on track to be completed with Mr. Baldwin in the lead role and Joel Souza as director.”
Spadone also confirmed that the project will include “on-set safety supervisors and union crew members and prohibit any use of working weapons or ammunition.” Live ammunition was reportedly banned on the “Rust” film set.
An expert told Fox News Digital that the on-set tragedy of “Rust” could actually lead to much bigger box office numbers.
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“In fact, a much wider audience is experiencing ‘Rust’ because of this horrific tragedy,” Kelcey Kintner, senior vice president of Red Banyan, told Fox News Digital. “I’m sure people will be curious to see how the producers handle the film in light of the tragic circumstances and will also be interested to see Alec Baldwin’s performance as this very serious accusation hangs over him.”
However, brand expert Eric Schiffer noted that, for a large portion of people, the film is untouchable.
“For anyone who brakes in crashes on the freeways and spends time turning 90 degrees and glued to the scene, they’ll watch it,” Schiffer told Fox News Digital. “But for millions more, ‘Rust’ is dust. They wouldn’t touch it. They would go near it like they would a dirty bomb in their neighborhood.”
Experts agreed that firearms will likely continue to be used in the film despite the tragic shooting that occurred on the original set in 2021.
“I think they will try to find a way to capture the thirst for experience that some will want — the thirst for the dreadful — with a respect for those who should still be here and on this planet,” Schiffer noted.
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Kintner added: “The film is a western in which an outlaw tries to free his grandson from prison, so guns and violence will definitely always be part of the film. But one thing is certain, from Serious safeguards will be put in place to ensure that there are no live ammunition on the board.
“In fact, one would hope that all movie sets had reviewed and assessed their safety protocols in light of this completely preventable accident. Ultimately, it would be fitting that Halyna Hutchins be remembered no only for his work, but also for sparking a change that has made film sets safer in the future.”
It was announced that “Rust” would be finished after Halyna’s family settled a lawsuit against Baldwin and other members of the production. The film is not finished in New Mexico.
“Halyna’s widower is now the executive producer of the film and understandably wants the final product to pay homage to his late wife’s last work,” Kintner said. “Given her involvement and commitment to seeing Halyna’s final production come to an end, it makes sense to move forward.”
Schiffer called the move a “a disgusting cash grab.”
“It shows a great disrespect to Halyna, all for Hollywood profits, at a time when the star faces jail time,” Schiffer told Fox News Digital.
Baldwin will be charged with two counts of manslaughter in Hutchins’ fatal shooting. The cinematographer died on October 21, 2021, after a gun Baldwin was holding was fired on set.
Souza was also injured in the shooting at a Bonanza Creek Ranch church in New Mexico.
Baldwin’s attorney called the decision to charge the actor a “miscarriage of justice.”
“This ruling distorts the tragic death of Halyna Hutchins and represents a terrible miscarriage of justice,” Quinn Emanuel’s Luke Nikas told Fox News Digital in a statement. “Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun – or anywhere on the set. He relied on the professionals he worked with, who told him assured that the gun had no live ammunition. We will fight those charges, and we will win.”
Manslaughter is a Class D felony punishable by 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Baldwin’s second count is manslaughter in the commission of a lawful act, which “requires proof that there was more than mere negligence involved in a death,” according to the prosecutor’s office. He also faces up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine.
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However, this loadout includes an upgrade to the firearm. If convicted of the enhancement, Baldwin would face a mandatory five-year prison sentence.
Fox News Digital’s Tracy Wright contributed to this report.
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