James Emswiller was working on the sound production for the Tom Hanks movie “You Are My Friend” in Mount Lebanon, Pennsylvania when it happened. Emswiller, 61, fell from a two-storey balcony and was critically injured. He was taken by ambulance to a local hospital, where he later passed away. Emswiller reportedly suffered a health emergency prior to his fall.

The Film the Emmy-winning sound production crew member was working on is a biopic about the life of Fred Rogers, the beloved host of the show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”

Veteran crew member falls on set

James Emswiller has been working in the film industry for 30 years and has worked on many projects, some of which were filmed in the Pittsburgh area.

He was worked on high-profile films such as “Jack Reacher,” “The Avengers,” “The Fault in Our Stars,” “Out of the Furnace” and”Foxcatcher.”

According to a report by the Washington Post, authorities in Allegheny County, say Emswiller tripped over a brick wall of an apartment balcony at around 7:30 PM on Thursday while there was a break in filming.

The production staff was filming a scene of “You Are My Friend: in Mount Lebanon.

The Pittsburgh man later died in hospital from his injuries. Hollywood actor Tom Hanks, who plays the role of Fred Rogers in the film was on site when the incident happened but later left.

Entertainment Weekly quotes a statement from TriStar Pictures and Sony Pictures where they said it was a “devastating tragedy” and said the studio is investigating the incident.

They added that their thoughts and prayers were with Emswiller’s family, colleagues and friends.

‘You Are My Friend’ biopic

Fred Rogers starred in the long-running TV series “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” in the US. The series was later made into a documentary under the title “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”

The film, which follows the life of Rogers and his real-life friendship with a journalist, Tom Junod (played by Matthew Rhys), is being directed by Marielle Heller (“Diary of a Teenage Girl”).

The duo met when the journalist was asked to write an article profiling Rogers. Junod was initially sceptical about Rogers, but found his outlook on the TV star transformed after their meeting.

Heller told Entertainment Weekly a while back that the film is a story for the times, about family connection and kindness and attempting to tap into our better self. She said we really need that in the current time. While researching the story, writers found many people who had credited Rogers for changing their lives.

While production is currently halted, the Fred Rogers biopic “You Are My Friend” will be released in US cinemas on 19 October 2019.