The Walking Dead Season 8 is currently in production in Atlanta, Georgia. Unfortunately, one of the show's stuntmen, John Bernecker, is in intensive care after suffering a serious injury on set.
*UPDATE* After a brief hospital stint, John Bernecker has passed away as a result of his injuries. Our thoughts and prayers are with Bernecker's family and loved ones.
According to Deadline, John Bernecker — who has also worked on films such as Get Out, The Fate of the Furious, Logan and Green Lantern — was rehearsing a fight scene that was supposed to end on a 22 feet balcony fall stunt. Prior to the stunt, Bernecker told the actor he was working with, Austin Amelio, that he'd never done such a high-fall before. That statement, however, might have been a joke.
According to veteran stunt performers interviewed by The Hollywood Reporter in light of this case, a 22 feet fall isn't considered large at all. Bernecker began performing the stunt. Unfortunately once it was time for the fall, he didn't get enough separation from the balcony. The stuntman attempted to abort the fall by grabbing onto the railing, but his momentum was too strong and he fell. According to second assistant director, Matthew Goodwin, Bernecker landed inches away from the pads, and onto a concrete floor, resulting in a serious head injury.
The stuntman was taken to Atlanta Medical Center, and AMC shut down production on The Walking Dead indefinitely. At the same time, Bernecker's girlfriend, Jennifer Cocker, took to Facebook to express her concern:
"John deserves to be seen by every neurosurgeon and doctor there is until one of them sees the life we all know he has in him and bring him back to us... THIS ISN'T FAIR."
Sadly, as reported by Deadline, Bernecker is currently “brain dead and on life support” while his family makes arrangements. A representative for the Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists commented:
“We have been informed of a serious injury to a SAG-AFTRA member on the set of The Walking Dead and are investigating the situation. As always, the safety and security of our members and others on set is of crucial concern to us and we are focused on this in our investigation. Our thoughts and prayers are with the performer and his family.”
Editors Note: This article was edited to reflect the news that John Bernecker has died.