[UPDATE: We regret to inform you that John Bernecker has died from his injuries.]
AMC’s The Walking Dead temporarily halted production on season 8 after a stuntman suffered serious injuries on set. Taking place during an ongoing zombie apocalypse, the series is understandably known for being an unsafe environment for its characters. Death can – and has – come for nearly anyone at any time, including popular leading members of Rick’s group, and even those still alive have almost all sustained horrific injuries at one time or another. Such are the perils of living in a world where the only thing more dangerous than the undead are other desperate humans.
That said, as dangerous as TWD’s fictional world may be to its inhabitants, one would assume that the same level of danger wouldn’t exist for those actually working to make the show happen. Sadly, that wasn’t the case today, as a stuntman ended up badly hurt after an accident took place on set.
Deadline reports that veteran stuntman John Bernecker sustained a serious head injury during production of The Walking Dead season 8, after tragically falling 30 feet to a concrete floor. The full extent of the damage has yet to be detailed publicly, but a post on Facebook by Bernecker’s girlfriend Jennifer Cocker – herself a stuntwoman – suggests that the injury could very well be life-threatening. Bernecker is currently being treated in an Atlanta hospital. For their part, AMC has temporarily halted TWD season 8’s production, and haven’t indicated yet when it will resume.
A stunt performer for nearly a decade, Bernecker has quite the resume, with just some of his credits including 24: Legacy, Logan, Get Out, The Hunger Games franchise, Olympus Has Fallen, and Looper. As many stuntmen do, Bernecker has also played a few bit parts on-screen, appearing in Logan, Goosebumps, and True Detective, among other titles.
Bernecker’s union SAG-AFTRA says that the cause of his fall is currently under investigation, so it’s not quite clear yet what exactly caused such an unfortunate mishap to occur. As for when TWD season 8 will resume production, one assumes it won’t end up being too long from now, as it’s doubtful AMC would be willing to delay the series’ scheduled return. Plus, each day production remains halted is another day the hundreds of other crew members can’t work. Still, Bernecker’s situation is certainly a sad one, and hopefully he’s able to recover.
The Walking Dead season 8 premieres this October on AMC.
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