Alec Baldwin’s Low Budget Movie “Rust” Never Made It To The Big Screen


“Rust,” the film Alec Baldwin produced and starred in and which last week became the site of a fatal shooting near Santa Fe, NM, was never meant to be a box office blockbuster. .

With a budget of around $ 6-7 million, according to people familiar with the project, “Rust” was an exciting project for Mr. Baldwin. It was supposed to end up on a pay-TV platform or streaming service, they said.

Once susceptible to making the rounds of film festivals and artistic theaters, smaller independent films such as “Rust” now have limited exposure windows. The number of independent theaters offering such films has declined over the past decade, and the big chains are focusing on the blockbuster prices of the big studios. Independent films are those that aren’t tied to a big studio, typically with budgets of $ 20 million or less.

According to the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, Alec Baldwin discharged a propeller pistol on the set of the western movie “Rust” on Thursday, killing a crew member and injuring the film’s director. Baldwin said on Friday he is fully cooperating with the police investigation. Photo: Jim Weber / Associated Press

While streaming services are hungry for content, the biggest platforms like Netflix,

Disney + and HBO Max are generally more interested in creating their own tariff and less likely to purchase a low budget western like “Rust”.

Mr. Baldwin developed the film with its director, Joel Souza. They worked together on the 2019 crime drama “Crown Vic”, directed by Mr. Souza and on which Mr. Baldwin was a producer.

Mr. Baldwin also took credit for the producer on “Rust,” which is not uncommon for an actor of his stature. A production loan can offer actors another source of income, especially when their performance fees are lower than their normal rate. Often, in such scenarios, a star of Mr. Baldwin’s reputation would take a reduced salary or defer his salary to act and produce entirely for a greater reduction in the film’s revenue, according to people familiar with film funding. independent.

Neither Mr. Baldwin’s art agency, ICM Partners, nor a spokesperson for “Rust” responded to requests for comment regarding his contract.

In Thursday’s incident, Mr Baldwin discharged a propeller-driven firearm, and the film’s cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, sustained gunshot wounds and Mr Souza was injured. Santa Fe County authorities are investigating and filming has been suspended.

The director of “Rust” Joel Souza, who was injured.


Jim Spellman / Getty Images

A veteran actor, Mr. Baldwin rose to prominence in the soap opera “The Doctors” and then in the prime-time CBS series “Knots Landing”. He became a major movie star in the 1980s and 1990s, appearing in films such as “The Hunt for Red October” and “Married to the Mob”. He also played supporting roles in hits such as “The Aviator” and “The Departed” and appeared in some of the “Mission: Impossible” films.

Recently he has done more work on television, including a starring role in “30 Rock” and frequent appearances on “Saturday Night Live”. It hosted a new version of “Match Game”. In recent films he has made vocal performances in animation, such as in “The Boss Baby” and its sequel.

Like most low budget films made without major studio support, “Rust” was funded and produced by a mishmash of companies. These include El Dorado Pictures by Mr. Baldwin and Cavalry Media, a management company that counts “Rust” director Mr. Souza among its clients.

Financial companies supporting the film include Streamline Global, which describes itself as “a company that provides tax equity financing to the film industry by attracting investors who enjoy substantial returns through tax savings.” The other company involved in fundraising for the film is BondIt Media Capital, which typically raises funds for the production by preempting distribution rights to a film and through advances on tax credits granted. by states such as New Mexico, where “Rust” was filmed.

Neither BondIt nor Streamline responded to requests for comment. Mr Baldwin’s publicist referred requests for comment to representatives of the film.

It is common in the entertainment industry for financiers and managers to have producer credits on independently made films.

Creative Artists Agency sold the distribution rights for “Rust” in the United States and Canada to The Avenue, a unit of Highland Film Group, an independent film sales, finance, production and distribution company based in Los Angeles. Angeles. Distribution rights for the film were sold for around $ 2 million, said a person familiar with the deals. Highland also handles international sales.

With low-budget films like “Rust,” the rates paid to crew members are often lower than those paid on productions from large studios with larger budgets, studio executives say.

Some workers on the set complained of low wages and poor working conditions, according to search warrant affidavits prepared by detectives from the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office.

Rust Movie Productions LLC, the company created to produce the film, has stated that the safety of its cast and crew is its top priority and that while it is “not aware of any official safety complaints weapons or accessories on set, we will conduct an internal review of our procedures while production is stopped. ”The company said it will continue to cooperate with authorities.

The Bonanza Creek Ranch Monday. New Mexico has become a popular location for film and television shooting.


Jae C. Hong / Associated press

New Mexico has become popular for film and television shooting in recent years, as it offers filmmakers financial incentives to shoot in the state. Netflix has its own production facility in the state, and AMC’s “Breaking Bad” was filmed there.

There may be a shortage of experienced crews there due to the amount of filming going on at any given time, a studio official said. This can often result in the hiring of non-unionized people. In the case of “Rust,” the film crew was part of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, but many props and other staff on the crew were local film workers in New Mexico and were not part of the union. union, people familiar with the film’s production said. .

Mr Baldwin said he is cooperating with the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office investigation. “There are no words to express my shock and sadness over the tragic accident that claimed the life of Halyna Hutchins, a deeply admired wife, mother and colleague, ”he said.

The “rust” shooting

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