A producer on “Rust” is backing another independent film, “Sam & Kate,” starring Dustin Hoffman and Sissy Spacek, which is set to begin production early next year.
Ryan Smith is helping to finance the film, which is set to shoot in Thomasville, Ga., starting in mid-February. A source close to the project said that Smith is putting in a portion of the financing and will get an executive producer credit, but that he and his company will not be involved in physical production.
Smith, his business partner Allen Cheney, and their company, Thomasville Pictures, have been named in two lawsuits stemming from the fatal shooting on the set of “Rust” last month in New Mexico. Actor Alec Baldwin was preparing for a scene when he shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded the film’s director. The film has shut down indefinitely.
The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office is continuing its investigation into how one or more live bullets made their way onto set. The investigation has focused on Hannah Gutierrez Reed, the 24-year-old armorer, and Dave Halls, the film’s first assistant director, who has admitted that he did not properly check the Colt .45 revolver before handing it to Baldwin. The lawsuits allege that the production cut corners and hired inexperienced crew members, leading to dangerous conditions on set, and Sheriff Adan Mendoza has cited “complacency on set” as a factor.
Thomasville Pictures was one of several production companies on the project. Some crew members on Thomasville’s previous projects have also come forward with allegations of unsafe practices, and also have alleged that the productions failed to pay people on time.
Cheney is a native of Thomasville, a city in southwest Georgia with a population of about 19,000 people. His company has brought several low-budget productions to the city in the past few years, including “Supercell,” which also starred Baldwin; “Bandit,” starring Mel Gibson; “The Tiger Rising,” with Dennis Quaid and Queen Latifah; and “One Way,” with Travis Fimmel and Machine Gun Kelly. None of these films has yet been released.
“Sam & Kate” was announced in June, ahead of the Cannes Film Festival. Hoffman and his son, Jake Hoffman, are slated to appear as a father and son, while Spacek and her daughter, Schuyler Fisk, will portray a mother and daughter. Darren Le Gallo wrote the script and is set to direct. His wife, Amy Adams, is among the executive producers. Representatives for Le Gallo and Adams did not respond to requests for comment. Thomasville Pictures’ representative also did not provide a comment.
Volition Media Partners is producing, with Bankside Films handling foreign sales and Endeavor Content handling domestic financing. Volition Media Partners was also credited on “Supercell,” and one of that film’s co-executive producers, Ford Corbett, is also credited as a producer on “Sam & Kate.”
Bonnie Hayes, the tourism and film manager at the city of Thomasville, said the producers have had initial conversations about filming “Sam & Kate” in the city, but they have yet to fill out a permit application.
“We haven’t had a problem with them,” she said.
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