The producers of “The Walking Dead” will not be attending the TCA summer press tour as planned in order to attend the funeral of series stuntman John Bernecker, who died in an on-set accident earlier this month.
Showrunner Scott M. Gimple and executive producers Gale Anne Hurd, Robert Kirkman, Dave Alpert, and Greg Nicotero were scheduled to attend the bi-annual press event. They will not be able to make it this Saturday as the timing would conflict with Bernecker’s funeral service, AMC said in a statement on Thursday.
Kirkman, however, will still attend a panel at TCA for his “Secret History of Comics.”
Bernecker was filming a stunt for Season 8 with series regular Austin Amelio. The stunt required him to fall approximately 22 feet off of a balcony onto a safety cushion below. But according to assistant director Matthew Goodwin, Bernecker failed to get a “good separation” from the balcony and instead landed on his head and neck on the concrete next to the safety cushion, per the incident report from the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office.
An on-site medic rendered aid immediately, and Bernecker was airlifted to an Atlanta medical center, where he was placed on a ventilator. His family opted to turn the ventilator off the following day. Many of the main cast offered their condolences to Bernecker’s family via social media shortly after he died.
AMC shut down production on Season 8 following the incident, though production resumed on July 17.
During “The Walking Dead’s” Comic-Con panel last week, Gimple opened the panel by reading a statement about Bernecker on behalf of the cast and crew.
“John passed away this week after he was injured doing something he loved: helping tell stories that excite, entertain, and give people escape,” he said. “He helped make movies and shows for people like everybody in this room. John was someone who was beloved in the stunt community, who helped train people and helped them break into the business He was living his dream, and he helped other people do the same.”