Rust armorer files lawsuit alleging ammo supplier at fault

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Movies are great for drama. They can make you cry or feel angry or all sorts of other things. They can touch us in ways we never imagined.

We also never imagined that the movie Rust, set to star Alec Baldwin, would create quite so much drama.

Then again, if we knew what would have happened, it never would have happened. Baldwin wouldn’t have fired any live rounds that killed one and wounded another.

Much of the drama revolves around who did what and who is responsible for what.

Now, there’s a lawsuit making some interesting allegations.

“Hannah [Gutierrez-Reed] and the entire Rust movie crew relied on the defendants’ misrepresentation that they provided only dummy ammunition,” according to documents in the suit filed in state court in New Mexico.

According to the lawsuit, Kenney had worked with Gutierrez-Reed’s father, Thell Reed, who is a prominent Hollywood armourer, around a month before the Rust shoot began, on a different movie set in Texas.

Kenney had asked Reed to help train actors to shoot live rounds at a firing range off-set, the lawsuit says. It continues by alleging that Kenney took live rounds from this training, some of which may have ended up on the Rust set.

The new lawsuit details Gutierrez-Reed’s actions on set, handing the gun to Baldwin. “Hannah remembered the chamber that she believed needed to be cleaned in Baldwin’s gun and she cleaned it and then Hannah pulled another round from the dummy box, shook it, and placed it in the chamber. To the best of Hannah’s knowledge, the gun was now loaded with six dummy rounds.”

The allegations against Kenney may have some substance or they may not. I suspect the court will have to determine that.

It’s entirely possible that Gutierrez-Reed is really just trying to deflect any potential blame facing her onto someone else and hopes that filing a lawsuit will illustrate her sincerity. Or, it could be exactly what she says it is. Again, we’ll have to wait to find out.

However, what’s interesting is that the lawsuit apparently suggests that she handed Baldwin the gun.

This runs counter to other stories we heard that alleged an assistant director handed the gun to Baldwin and declared the gun to be “cold.” Now, this is from The Guardian, so they could be blatantly misrepresenting what the lawsuit says, but if that’s accurate, Gutierrez-Reed is saying she handed him the gun, not the assistant director.

If so, this would suggest no culpability on the part of the assistant director on the Rust set.

Of course, if this is right, then Gutierrez-Reed may well be taking more of the culpability on herself. I can’t imagine her attorneys would allow her to do such a thing without a very, very good reason.

As a result, this case is becoming one of the more interesting developments in the ongoing drama that has come up following the shooting incident last year.

Frankly, the “he said, she said” stuff is probably more entertaining than the movie would have been. It’s just a shame an innocent woman lost her life in the process of what looks like a complete cluster flop that led to this drama.