Colorado actor in ‘Rust’ says filming felt ‘a little rough,’ hopes for changes to gun use on set

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Marty Lindsey Rust actor
Marty Lindsey
Actor Marty Lindsey is from Arvada. He plays a cowhand in the movie, “Rust.” This photo is from another production.

When “Rust” actor Marty Lindsey learned Halyna Hutchins, the director of photography, had been killed in a firearms incident on set, he thought the movie should be scrapped. “I'm like, 'this movie just needs to be thrown in the trash,’” he said. Then he started thinking more about Hutchins’ legacy: “her craft is all over this movie." Lindsey, who plays a cowhand named Harley, now leans toward finishing the film. But, he said, it should ultimately be up to Hutchins’ family.

Production on the indie western is suspended while the Santa Fe Sheriff’s office investigates Hutchins’ death. Actor Alec Baldwin fired the gun in question, which he reportedly was told was safe or “cold.” The film’s director, Joel Souza, was also injured.

Lindsey, who lives in Albuquerque, NM, had finished filming his scenes for “Rust” and was visiting family in his native Arvada, CO, when he learned of the shooting. “A friend who works in production on another show called me probably 40 minutes after it happened, because word travels fast in the community, especially in New Mexico.” Lindsey said he was in “total shock.”

He was aware crew members had walked off the set earlier that day over safety concerns. He said the production seemed “a little rough.” 

“From the time I went in for my fitting, it just felt like a small movie,” adding, “it is an independent film. It's not a big budget. However, they have major stars in it. So I was just a little confused.”

But Lindsey says Hutchins was a formidable director of photography. “Sometimes you get on projects and DPs, as well as actors, can just sort of go through the motions.” But he perceived that this movie was important to her. “This wasn't just a paycheck, you know? I do think this was a big break for her.”

Lindsey hopes the “Rust” tragedy forever changes how gunfights are filmed. He said there is no need even for blanks, which can pose a risk. In the future, he predicts every gunshot will be produced digitally using CGI, which would require training actors to mimic a firearm’s blowback. “This is just my professional opinion from working in this industry for 25 years.”