Peter Jackson Remembers Sir Christopher Lee

It is with tremendous sadness that I learnt of the passing of Sir Christopher Lee. He was 93 years old, had not been in his usual good health for some time, but his spirit remained, as always, indomitable.

Christopher spoke seven languages; he was in every sense, a man of the world; well versed in art, politics, literature, history and science. He was scholar, a singer, an extraordinary raconteur and of course, a marvelous actor. One of my favourite things to do whenever I came to London would be to visit with Christopher and Gitte where he would regale me for hours with stories about his extraordinary life. I loved to listen to them and he loved to tell them - they were made all the more compelling because they were true - stories from his time with the SAS, through the Second World War, to the Hammer Horror years and later, his work with Tim Burton - of which he was enormously proud.

I was lucky enough to work with Chris on five films all told and it never ceased to be a thrill to see him on set. I remember him saying on my 40th Birthday (he was 80 at the time), “You’re half the man I am”.  Being half the man Christopher Lee is, is more than I could ever hope for. He was a true gentleman, in an era that no longer values gentleman.

I grew up loving Christopher Lee movies. For most of my life I was enthralled by the great iconic roles he not only created - but continued to own decades later. But somewhere along the way Christopher Lee suddenly, and magically, dissolved away and he became my friend, Chris.  And I loved Chris even more.

There will never be another Christopher Lee. He has a unique place in the history of cinema and in the hearts of millions of fans around the world.

The world will be a lesser place without him in it.

My deepest sympathies to Gitte and to his family and friends.

Rest in peace, Chris.

An icon of cinema has passed into legend.

Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson Remembers Andrew Lesnie

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.
Arohanui,
Pete

From Peter Jackson’s Official Facebook