Alec Baldwin Wanted to Ride a Horse, but ‘Rust’ Safety Adviser Said No: ‘There Was a Bit of Yelling’

“Rust” resumed filming in Montana, 18 months after Alec Baldwin accidentally shot the film’s cinematographer while preparing for a scene at a New Mexico ranch.

Naturally, the producers were focused on safety, forbidding the use of any functional firearms on set, and hiring two veteran safety officers to oversee the completion of filming.

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Now one of those officers — Paul Jordan — is set to testify against Baldwin at his upcoming manslaughter trial in Santa Fe, saying that the actor resisted advice not to ride a horse at full gallop.

“There was a little bit of yelling at times, insisting he could do certain things that everyone else felt he couldn’t do,” Jordan testified in a pre-trial interview.

Prosecutors want to use Jordan’s testimony to help establish a pattern of recklessness. They have argued that the accidental shooting was just one of several instances on set in which Baldwin was careless with safety. They have also sought to show videos of Baldwin cursing and rushing the crew on the set in New Mexico.

Jordan wasn’t on set in New Mexico. And Baldwin’s defense says his opinions about what happened when filming resumed are beside the point.

“Nothing that took place in Montana, more than a year after the accident occurred, is relevant to any issue in this case,” the defense argued in a motion to bar his testimony.

Baldwin has said that he has a bad hip, which makes it hard to get on a horse.

In his pre-trial interview, Jordan said that Baldwin required three or four people to help him mount and dismount the horse, but that once astride it, he wanted to ride fast over uneven terrain.

The safety officers didn’t want him to do more than a gentle walk.

“We took the gallop out of it completely,” Jordan said. “He just kept insisting that he was capable of doing it, and we didn’t feel he was.”

Ultimately, Baldwin heeded the warnings, “very reluctantly,” Jordan said.

Jordan worked at Universal for many years overseeing safety on film sets. In 2022, he retired and set up a consulting business. The completion of “Rust” was one of his first consulting jobs.

He testified that he expected it to be a “simple, very straightforward” production because, after Hutchins’ death, it was so high-profile, and the entertainment unions were paying close attention to it. But that turned out not to be the case.

“There were a lot of budget issues,” Jordan said in his pre-trial interview. “We had a lot of complaints of people that weren’t getting paid properly… There wasn’t always enough prep time, very last minute decisions on a lot of things that should have been handled earlier on. Very, very difficult communication.”

He said several people quit because they didn’t think they could do their jobs within the limits of what they had to work with.

Asked what opinions he would be offering at trial, he said: “The biggest opinion is we managed to finish… There was a lot of doubt.”

The film has not been released. Producers may be eyeing the Toronto International Film Festival.

In a separate motion, the defense has accused the prosecution of improperly attacking Baldwin’s character. The defense wants to bar the prosecutors from showing the set videos of Baldwin cursing or engaging in allegedly reckless behavior with his gun, saying they are also irrelevant.

“Baldwin is on trial for involuntary manslaughter, not his attitude,” the defense wrote in the filing.

The defense also argued that the state is attempting to use the video clips in a deceptive way, creating confusion between Baldwin’s on-set conduct and his performance in character.

“Using isolated clips of an actor playing a cowboy on a movie set as evidence of the actor’s recklessness is like using footage of a boxing match as evidence that the boxer is violent,” the defense wrote.

The prosecution has argued that such evidence helps demonstrate Baldwin’s state of mind, which is an element in proving a manslaughter charge.

A hearing on numerous motions to exclude testimony is set for next Monday. Jury selection is set to begin on Tuesday.

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