Emmy award winning crew member dies after falling from balcony on set of upcoming 'Mr. Rogers' movie
There's nothing more controversial, and upsetting, for a movie that's in production than a tragic accident. An unfortunate death on the set of a movie can end up tainting a title or a franchise forever, and even end up overshadowing all the hard work that went into it initially.
For instance, take the case of John Landis' infamous Twilight Zone movie, in which a stunt helicopter crashed, killing Vic Morrow and child actors Myca Dinh Le and Renee Shin-Yi Chen. Their deaths led to a high-profile legal case, although nobody as found criminally culpable for the accident.
Now, sadly, another tragic accident appears to have claimed the life of a major Hollywood talent; Emmy-award-winning crew member James Emswiller. Emswiller had won the prestigious award in 2015 in the category for outstanding sound mixing on a limited series or a movie, on the HBO series Bessie. He allegedly died after he fell off a balcony while taking a cigarette break on the set of Tom Hanks' upcoming Mr Rogers movie.
It is believed that he suffered a major heart attack on the set in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, which caused him to subsequently overbalance and drop to his death. A nurse who was on set nurse tried to resuscitate Enswiller, but he had gone into cardiac arrest by the time paramedics arrived. He was pronounced dead three hours later at UPMC Mercy Hospital.
Vince Passerini, a witness at the scene of the incident: "All of a sudden all of these lights were just everywhere, and they started inching closer toward us shining into the bar, and I was like what is happening out there, and there was just people everywhere, people on the curb sitting. We asked, what’s happening inside and they said they’re making a Mr Rogers movie or something."
Mt. Lebanon Chief of Police Aaron Lauth stated: "Basically, he appears to have suffered from a medical emergency while on the balcony. He was taking a break and smoking a cigarette when he fell. He fell from the second story of the building. Other crew members were inside the building, but not on the balcony. They noticed he wasn’t there and saw him down on the ground."
The movie, entitled 'You Are My Friend ', is currently set for release on October 18, 2019 by TriStar Pictures, and stars Tom Hanks, Matthew Rhys and Chris Cooper, and the script is based on a 1998 article "Can You Say ... Hero?" written by renowned journalist and profiler Tom Junod.
Commenting on the movie in a previous interview with Entertainment Weekly, director Marielle Heller stated: "[This] movie is not a biopic. I disliked that when it got announced it was characterised as such. It’s really not. It’s a movie that’s largely focused on a reporter and [Mr. Rogers’] relationship to his life, and how [the reporter’s] whole world changes when coming in contact with Fred Rogers."