A crew member died during filming of the upcoming Mr. Rogers movie , once known as You Are My Friend, which stars Tom Hanks as the former children’s TV host. James Emswiller, a sound mixer who was working with the sound crew on the production, fell two stories from an apartment building in Mount Lebanon, Pittsburgh, where the movie is currently being filmed. Emswiller was reportedly on a smoke break when the incident occurred. Local reporter Meghan Schiller posted this to Twitter shortly after the incident.
#BREAKING: Mt. Lebanon Police say they think James Emswiller stepped outside for a smoke break when he may have suffered a heart attack and fell from the balcony. The fall happened around 7:28 in Mt. Lebanon. His time of death was 10:36 at the hospital.”
Local authorities don’t suspect any foul play or any negligence on the part of the production. According to the officers, it’s quite common for those who suffer falls such as this to go through some sort of trauma. In this case, it appears as though James Emswiller may have suffered a heart attack prior to falling from a second-story balcony. Authorities are still investigating. Members of the crew began life-saving measures on Emswiller after the incident and before authorities were on scene. However, he was in full cardiac arrest by the time they arrived.
For his part, James Emswiller, who was 61-years-old at the time of his passing, had a prolific career. He got his start in the early 90s as a boom operator and eventually transitioned into sound mixing. Emswiller worked on high-profile projects such as Marvel’s The Avengers, Jack Reacher and The Fault in Our Stars. Emswiller earned an Emmy for his sound work on HBO’s Bessie. In total, he was credited on more than 70 productions throughout his career.
Production on the movie was stopped for the night so that authorities could investigate on scene. It doesn’t appear that the incident will cause any significant delays to production. Tom Hanks, who stars as the late Mister Rogers Neighborhood host, Fred Rogers, was reportedly on set at the time. Nobody from Sony, who is behind the currently untitled movie, which was previously going by the title You Are My Friend, has released a statement on the matter as of this writing.
This Mister Rogers movie follows in the footsteps of this summer’s documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor, which was embraced on a near-universal level by critics and did tremendous business at the box office, bringing in $22 million, which is extremely rare for a documentary. The studio recently revealed a first look at Tom Hanks in character as Fred Rogers, which the internet took very kindly to. Marielle Heller is directing the biopic, which is set to be released in theaters on October 18, 2019. This news was previously reported by CBS Pittsburgh.