Courtesy of Sony Pictures.
James M. Emswiller, a sound mixer for the upcoming Mister Rogers movie starring Tom Hanks, has died after falling off a balcony on the film’s Pittsburgh set on Thursday. According to WPXI, Emswiller had gone out on the balcony for a smoke break between filming scenes. People nearby heard a noise, and found that he had fallen two stories. Per local police, WPXI reports, Emswiller might have suffered a medical emergency that caused the fall.
He was taken to the UPMC Mercy hospital and was soon in critical condition. He died around 8:30 P.M. The film paused production that night while the police investigated the scene. It’s unclear when filming will resume again.
Sony Pictures, which is releasing the film, has shared the following statement: “This is a devastating tragedy, and the studio is investigating the matter. Our thoughts and prayers are with Jim’s loved ones, friends, and colleagues.”
Emswiller was an established sound mixer, winning an Emmy in 2015 for his work on the HBO film Bessie, starring Queen Latifah. He worked on a variety of films, from blockbusters like The Avengers to dramas like Foxcatcher and The Fault in Our Stars; his upcoming work includes the completed adaptation of Where’d You Go, Bernadette, starring Cate Blanchett. He also had a handful of projects on his slate, including the Showtime miniseries Escape at Dannemora.
His death is one of the most recent on-set tragedies to hit the film world. The stunt community has suffered the loss of two stunt workers in the last two years: Joi Harris, who died after an accident on the set of Deadpool 2, and John Bernecker, who died after a fall on the Walking Dead set. His family has since filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the show and network AMC.
Unlike those productions, the Mister Rogers movie is no action story; it’s a gentle drama about the kindly TV host who became an icon of children’s programming. The film is based on the 1998 Esquire story about a journalist whose life changes when he profiles Mister Rogers, and stars Matthew Rhys and Susan Kelechi Watson, as well as Hanks. It is directed by Marielle Heller and set for a 2019 release.
Source : https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2018/10/mister-rogers-james-emswiller-obit