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Peter Jackson: Andrew Lesnie 'was an irreplaceable part of my family'

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Todd Eyre

Director Peter Jackson and cinematographer Andrew Lesnie worked together on eight feature films, including all six Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies. Lesnie, who won an Oscar for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, died on Monday at the age of 59 following a fatal heart attack. On Facebook, Jackson remembered his longtime friend and collaborator.

Being an only child, I grew up wondering what it would be like to have a brother. It wasn’t until today, in trying to deal with the terrible news of Andrew’s passing, that I came to realise how much he had become that person for me – someone I could intrinsically love and trust – which I know now means someone who is up for all the good and the bad. Andrew was an irreplaceable part of my family and I am in total disbelief that I’ll never again hear his infectious laugh, nor benefit from his quiet wisdom, or enjoy his generous praise. Andrew created unforgettable, beautiful images on screen, and he did this time and again, because he only ever served what he believed in – he was his own artist, separate from me, but always working generously to make what we were trying to create together better. On set we developed an ability to work together using a minimum of words – a rare meeting of minds. I will always remember turning up, countless times, at five in the morning – all those quiet moments I had with him when I could step on to set and know he was there – unfazed, ready, listening, interested, more importantly – ready to catch me if I faltered. He always had my back. The more anxious I became, the more calm he would be. A solid rock in the unpredictable world we both chose to work in. After 17 years and 8 movies together, the loss of Andrew is very hard to bear.

My heart goes out to Jack and Sam, of whom he was enormously proud and to Marce, who gave him so much happiness.

Dearest Andrew, you never sought nor wanted praise – you never needed to hear how good you were, you only ever cared about doing great work and respecting the work of others. But on behalf of all those who were lucky enough to collaborate with you, love you and in turn, respect your mastery of story, of light and of cinema magic – you are one of the great cinematographers of our time.

Rest in Peace, my friend.

For photos of Jackson and Lesnie, head over to Jackson’s Facebook page.