CMU School of Drama

Friday, July 14, 2017

‘Walking Dead’ Stuntman Died After Missing Safety Cushion by Inches

Variety: “Walking Dead” stuntman John Bernecker reportedly died after missing a safety cushion while filming a stunt for the AMC series.

Bernecker was shooting a stunt for the show’s eighth season in which he was to fall off a balcony onto the cushion some 20 feet below, but missed and instead landed on the concrete, according to TMZ. Assistant director Matthew Goodwin told police that Bernecker missed “just by inches.”

AMC has not yet commented on Bernecker’s death.


Jack Desmarais-Harris said...

This is an incredibly sad story that probably won't gain a lot of traction. Stuntmen as so crucial to the movie industry, just as important as your Denzel Washington or Emma Stone, but they get so much less attention. It is truly a loss, especially considering the resumé Bernecker has allotted over the years. Unfortunately accidents happen all the time but that's not what people want to hear about. They want to hear about the crazy ending to Season 10 of the Big Bang Theory, or when the new Spiderman movie gets a sequel. Like foot soldiers in a battlefield, stun men are under appreciated, that's not to say I know a single stunt man, but it is really sad that these actors most of the time aren't known

Nicholas Cialone said...

I think it's terribly sad that just a few inches off is what resulted in the death of a stunt man. Although it does make you think how much room for error the people who set these sort of things up allow. It also raises the question of whether or not it was an accident on the part of the stunt man who mis-jumped or mis-calculated his landing, or whether it was because of a cushion that was too small. In that same domain, maybe they should have built the cushion to cover all possible areas that he could have landed in. Though this may be expensive, it could have prevented an unnecessary death, thus being worth the extra money. In this type of work there is no cutting corners, no taking chances. Making a cushion smaller to save costs, or cutting down on some other safety feature just to save money can not be forgiven.

DJ Lesh said...

I am always astonished by the number of incidents like these I see in the news. What is even more upsetting is the number of articles like this one I see through technical theater social media pages that never make the news. As technology gets more and more advanced, you would think that casualties like this could be avoidable. This is a great example of how, no matter how safe you make it, stunts are still dangerous. As a stuntman you are signing up for a dangerous job and are acknowledging the risk. If a stuntman were required to where fall protection anytime they are over a certain height they could not do their job. What are often avoidable, are casualties of stage hands due to falls. There is so much new fall protection tech in the world this should not be happening. It is truly sad and upsetting every time I see an article about the death of a stage hand due to a fall, like that of a Cirque Du Soleil employee a few months ago.