Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Films Cinematographer Andrew Lesnie Passes Away at 59

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Oscar-winning Australian cinematographer Andrew Lesnie, beloved for his work on the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Hobbit films as well as I Am Legend, Babe, the 2005 King Kong, and Rise of the Planet of the Apes, passed away yesterday at 59 of an apparent heart attack.

In a 2004 interview, Peter Jackson explained how his partnership with the DP began:

I’d never worked with him or even met him before, but he’d shot the Babe films and I thought they looked amazing, the way he’d used backlight and the sun and natural light to create a very magical effect. And Babe had that larger-than-life feel about it that I wanted.

Lesnie went on to win an Academy Award for his work on Fellowship and to be inducted into the Australian Cinematographers Society Hall of Fame in 2002, and was mourned yesterday by the many actors and directors with whom he travelled through Middle Earth. In a Facebook post, Jackson wrote

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.

“The same place as the Light.”RIP Andrew Lesnie.

Posted by Sean Astin on Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Thank you for building us worlds to fall in love with, sir. You will be sorely missed.

returnoftheking

(via THR, image via Ian Mckellen on Facebook)

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