Word has come from New Zealand that Sydney, Australia-born, Academy Award-winning cinematographer Andrew Lesnie, has passed away after suffering a heart attack at the age of 59.
Although he had a large catalog of work, he is best known as the Cinematographer and Director of Photography of Sir Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth saga. In fact, it was for his work on THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING (2001) that won the Oscar for Best Cinematographer.
Lesnie came aboard THE LORD OF THE RINGS in 1999, approximately 3 weeks after leaving John Woo‘s MISSION IMPOSSIBLE II (2000) over “friction on the set”. Jackson had wanted him after seeing his work on Chris Noonan‘s BABE (1995). The two became fast friends, and in a loving tribute on his Facebook page, Jackson called him a brother and “…an irreplaceable part of my family…” In addition to the six Tolkien films, the pair also collaborated on Jackson’s KING KONG (2005) and THE LOVELY BONES (2009).
Tributes have flooded social media, which is understandable considering how universally loved he was by his peers and friends. Russell Crowe, who worked with Lesnie on his 2014 film THE WATER DIVINER, called him a genius and “the master of light” on Twitter. Others have commented on how no matter how long the day went, Andrew would always be there with a big smile and an infectious laugh. That much is evident to me, from observing him in all of the behind the scenes featurettes in the Appendices of Jackson’s LOTR and HOBBIT Extended Editions. Rest in peace, Mr. Lesnie & thank you for your beautiful work.
End of Line…