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A sound crewmember on the Tom Hanks-starring Mister Rogers biopic has died after he fell two stories from a Mount Lebanon, Pa., building Thursday night on the set of the film, according to the Associated Press and numerous reports.
The AP reported that James Emswiller, 61, fell off a second-story balcony of an apartment building around 7:30 p.m. Thursday during a break in filming. He died later at the hospital. Mount Lebanon police told the Associated Press that he fell over a brick wall on the balcony.
Based on witness accounts, the police said, Emswiller, who worked as a sound crewmember for the production company and lives in the Pittsburgh area, was “alone on the balcony taking a cigarette break when he may have suffered a medical emergency resulting in his fall from the balcony.”
Officers found Emswiller on the ground behind the building with several crewmembers, including a set medic, attempting life-saving measures. Officers assisted with CPR and an EMS crew from Medical Rescue Team South arrived soon after, the police said. He was then taken to UPMC Mercy Hospital where he was in critical condition. By 830 a.m. ET Friday morning, it was reported he died.
The AP added that Hanks, who is playing Fred Rogers in the movie, was at the site and later left.
Sony Pictures, which is set to release the film, said in a 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.”
The upcoming Marielle Heller-directed film will star Hanks as the star of the long-running, beloved children’s TV series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. The biopic is being helmed from a screenplay by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster. Marc Turtletaub and Peter Saraf are producing via their Big Beach Films, along with Youree Henley. Fitzerman-Blue and Harpster are executive producing alongside Big Beach’s Leah Holzer.
Rogers — who died in 2003 — also served as the subject of the documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, which premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
The untitled film is scheduled to be released next October.
Big Beach Films and the Mt. Lebanon Police Department have not yet responded to The Hollywood Reporter‘s requests for comment.
Oct. 12, 7:56 a.m.: This story has been updated with the crewmember’s death and additional details from Mount Lebanon police and Sony Pictures.
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