Plus: Ralph Fiennes is "devastated and shocked" at losing the English Patient director

By People Staff
Updated March 18, 2008 12:35 PM
Credit: Carlo Allegri/Getty

Two of the late director Anthony Minghella’s most notable leading men, Jude Law and Ralph Fiennes, as well as his leading ladies, have expressed sadness and shock over the death of their friend and collaborator.

Minghella passed away at age 54 early Tuesday after suffering a fatal hemorrhage following surgery for cancer of the tonsils and neck, said his rep.

“I’m devastated, there is really no way to put it into words,” says Minghella’s Cold Mountain star Nicole Kidman, 40. “He was a gift to the world.”

Gwyneth Paltrow, 35, also recalled a man who was, in her words, “incredibly talented and so interested in art and making the world better for art.”

Paltrow, who appeared in the director’s 1999 The Talented Mr. Ripley said, “He was very specific and very loving. He was very sweet to his actors. He would kind of massage everybody while he was talking – very tactile and warm.”

Said Law, also 35: “I am deeply shocked and saddened to hear of Anthony’s untimely death. I worked with him on three films, more than with any other director, but had come to value him more as a friend than as a colleague.”

Law worked with Minghella in the actor’s breakthrough role as murder victim Dickie Greenleaf in Mr. Ripley. He also was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for his work in Minghella’s 2003 Cold Mountain and starred in the 2006 drama Breaking and Entering.

“He was a brilliantly talented writer and director who wrote dialogue that was a joy to speak and then put it onto the screen in a way that always looked effortless,” said Law. “He made work feel like fun. He was a sweet, warm, bright and funny man who was interested in everything from football to opera, films, music, literature, people and most of all his family whom he adored and to whom I send my thoughts and love. I shall miss him hugely.”

Fiennes, 45, who starred in Minghella’s Best Picture Oscar winner, 1996 The English Patient (which won nine Oscars in all, including Best Director), said he was “devastated and shocked to hear” of the filmmaker’s death.

“Anthony possessed a sensitivity and alertness to the actor’s process that very few directors have. He directed most of The English Patient with an ankle in plaster, never losing his gentle humor and precision. He delighted in the contribution of everyone – he was a true collaborator.”

In terms of Minghella’s output, Fiennes said, “His films deal with extreme aloneness and the redemptive power of love, even at the moment of death. I will remember him as a man who always wanted to get to the heart of the matter.”

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