Crew member 'falls to death' on set of new Tom Hanks film

Sam Ashurst
Contributor

A man has died on the set of the Mister Rogers film starring Tom Hanks.

James Emswiller was on a break between scenes on Thursday when he fell over a brick wall on an apartment building balcony, falling two storeys.

Mount Lebanon Police Chief Aaron Lauth said Emswiller was transported to the University of Pittsburgh’s medical center. His condition became critical and he died at approximately an hour after his fall. The Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed his death.

Police confirmed that people nearby said they heard a noise and discovered Emswiller, 61, had fallen.

A man has died on the set of the Mister Rogers film starring Tom Hanks – Tom Hanks pictured here in January. Photo: Getty

Sony Pictures and TriStar Pictures have issued a statement regarding Emswiller’s death.

“This is a devastating tragedy and the studio is investigating the matter,” it reads. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Jim’s loved ones, friends, and colleagues.”

Emswiller was a 30-year industry veteran, who had worked as a sound mixer on many high profile projects. His credits include The Avengers, Jack Reacher, and The Fault in Our Stars.

Hanks, who plays Fred Rogers in the biopic about the popular children’s television star, was on the set Thursday, but left after the incident.

Tom Hanks pictured on the set of Mister Rogers. Photo: Sony

Rogers was an American television personality, musician, puppeteer, writer, producer, and Presbyterian minister. He was known as the creator, composer, producer, head writer, showrunner and host of the preschool television series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

The film is set the explore the relationship between Rogers and a cynical journalist sent to profile him, who finds his life changed as a result.

Earlier this year, a documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbour, from Academy Award-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville (20 Feet from Stardom) profiled the presenter, who was considered a creative genius by his peers.

Hanks’ biopic is currently untitled, and is due for release in 2019.


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