Baldwin, 63, was spotted Tuesday on the set of “97 Minutes” in Hampshire, England. The upcoming film is the actor’s first project since the “Rust” shooting that left cinematographer Halyna Hutchins dead and director Joel Souza wounded.
“The title ‘97 Minutes’ is ironic, since it seems like the amount of time that Alec Baldwin actually considered hanging up his spurs after the ‘Rust’ tragedy before jumping into his next role despite him saying he might never act again,” crisis PR expert Dave Quast of Red Banyan told Fox News Digital.
“Some might question his sincerity when he so quickly goes abroad to shoot a disaster movie on the heels of a real-life disaster,” he added. “If Baldwin is going to keep making movies, then he may want to hold off for a more feel-good film that would showcase a softer side.”
“Some might question his sincerity when he so quickly goes abroad to shoot a disaster movie on the heels of a real-life disaster.”
Brand expert Eric Schiffer called Baldwin’s trip to England to film “boneheaded.”
“Baldwin’s bounce to England for the film is boneheaded because it creates more pressure on prosecutors to show there is no dual justice system where the elite can openly flaunt the norms and escape justice,” Schiffer told Fox News Digital.
Still being investigated
Hutchins’ death is still being investigated in New Mexico by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department, and Santa Fe County District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies has said criminal charges are not off the table. On Oct. 21, 2021, the gun Baldwin was holding discharged during a rehearsal for the indie-western film, killing Hutchins.
‘Good therapy for him’
However, brand expert Howard Breuer, CEO of Newsroom PR, doesn’t believe the move to return to filming will “backfire” on the actor.
“Regardless of whether Alec is ever found liable in a trial, he is right to return to work and continue to earn a living,” Breuer told Fox News Digital. “Among other things, it’s good therapy for him, and this was probably recommended by everyone from his attorneys to his therapists. I don’t think this will backfire on him.”
Breuer further noted that Hollywood must believe the “Rust” shooting was a “tragic accident,” otherwise he wouldn’t have “fresh gigs” waiting for him.
“While it is tricky to predict what a jury might do at some trial down the road, if Hollywood or the public were convinced that the shooting was anything other than a tragic accident, or if it felt that the public had decided that Baldwin is such a bad guy that he needed to be ‘canceled’ a la Kevin Spacey, there would be no fresh gigs for him to show up to,” Breuer told Fox News Digital.
It’s unclear if Baldwin’s name being attached to “97 Minutes” will discourage moviegoers from checking out the film, according to PR experts.
“Mel Gibson and other controversial A-listers still draw audiences despite major scandals in their careers, so it’s impossible to guess which sins moviegoers will and won’t forgive,” Quast told Fox News Digital. “But it wouldn’t surprise me if Baldwin’s decision to make a movie so soon after the shooting will deter many moviegoers from visiting theaters to see ’97 Minutes.'”
‘A very bad situation’
Breuer doesn’t believe the court of public opinion has the same “type of disapproval” for Baldwin as it held for Gibson and others.
“As tragic as the Rust shooting was, the public generally doesn’t have the same type of disapproval of or contempt for Baldwin as it has had for Mel Gibson, Kevin Spacey or Harvey Weinstein,” Breuer explained to Fox News Digital. “The court of public opinion acknowledges that he is in the middle of a very bad situation, but that is not the same thing as seeing Baldwin as a bad person, and that distinction makes all the difference in this context.”
The “30 Rock” actor acknowledged his first day back at work during a vlog-style post on Instagram, during which he called being back to work “strange.”
“It’s strange to go back to work,” Baldwin said. “I haven’t worked since October 21 of last year when this horrible thing happened on the set of this film and the accidental death of our cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.”