Studio Issues Statement After Sound Mixer On Set Of Tom Hanks’ Mister Rogers Biopic Has Died After Two-Storey Fall

Allegheny County medical examiner’s office reports that 61-year-old sound mixer James Emswiller has died after falling off a balcony on the set of the “Mister Rogers” movie.

Production on an upcoming drama about celebrated children’s TV icon Mister Rogers, starring Tom Hanks, came to a shocking halt Thursday evening when a crew member fell from the second story of a building in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania.

On Thursday, Mt. Lebanon Police Department told ET that, during a break between filming scenes, a 61-year-old sound mixer, who at the time had not been named, went to smoke a cigarette on the balcony. Soon after, people heard a loud noise and it appears he fell to the ground.

The man was rushed to the nearby UPMC Mercy Hospital, reportedly in serious condition. On Friday, David Kaplan of WTAE-TV Pittsburgh, reported that Allegheny County medical examiner’s office had confirmed the death of Emswiller.

According to Kaplan, the fall happened around 7:30 and the reported time of death was 10:30 in the hospital.

Local WPXI reporter Gabriella DeLuca, who was reporting from the location on Twitter, said Emswiller was a Pittsburgh resident hired locally for the production.

Hanks was reportedly on set earlier in the day, but it’s unknown at the time whether or not the actor was around when the tragic accident occurred.

ET has reached out to Mt. Lebanon police, as well as Hanks’ reps, for comment.

The film’s studio, Sony Pictures/TriStar Pictures, issued a statement addressing the incident. “This is a devastating tragedy and the studio is investigating the matter,” reads the statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Jim’s loved ones, friends, and colleagues.”

Recently, Sony Pictures released the first image of Hanks as Rogers in the film, which had previously been called “You Are My Friend” but is now untitled.

The film is not strictly a biopic about the TV star’s life, but tells the story of Rogers’ relationship and adventures with journalist Tom Junod, and is based on Junod’s 1998 Esquire profile on the beloved icon.

The film is currently slated for release Oct. 18, 2019.


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