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LOTR dialect coach Andrew Jack dies from COVID-19 and Middle-earth cast reacts

April 1, 2020 at 11:21 am by Justin Sewell  - 

As widely reported on March 31, Andrew Jack, the supervising dialect coach for The Lord of the Rings trilogy, has passed from complications related to COVID-19. Reactions across film industry and fandom were immediately filled with shock and sadness, bringing home the importance of safety during this pandemic.

Andrew Jack was one of the most respected dialect coaches in Hollywood having worked on hundreds of films & shows including Star Wars, James Bond, MARVEL cinematic universe, and Batman. His crowning achievement may well be Peter Jackson’s LORD OF THE RINGS in his capacity as senior supervising dialect coach, as he aligned all the various actors’ speech patterns into the cohesive dialects of Middle-earth.

Newspaper clipping from 2000 era.

Accents and dialects were a top concern of Ringer fans as LOTR began production in the year 2000, with online debates spilling into newspapers on whether the four hobbits – cast with actors from 3 different countries – would even sound the same. As we all know J.R.R. Tolkien himself was a philologist who made a career of language, and many fans have adopted his passion for linguistics. New Line Cinema realized how critically important the dialects would be to these films, they hired Hollywood’s expert dialect coach in Andrew Jack.

Ian Mckellen said at the time, in 2000, “Andrew Jack is following carefully Tolkien’s own instructions in his appendices to the novels.” When asked about pronouncing Saruman’s name, “We call him SAH – ru- mahn. I ran this answer past our pronunciation adviser Andrew Jack who adds: “It depends on who is saying it!”

Karl Urban (Eomer) was currently working with Andrew Jack for the second time on his Amazon series THE BOYS writing, “Andrew was such a gentle giant and a man who possessed such great generosity of spirit. He was extraordinarily talented, professional and an absolute joy to work with.”

Elijah Wood (Frodo), Sean Astin (Samwise) and Billy Boyd (Pippin) immediately tweeted, “[Andrew Jack] lead all of us through the many accents of Middle-Earth.”

Katie Jackson, one of the youngest actors on LOTR and Peter’s daughter, reinforces the coronavirus warning, “I beg you please stay at home. By doing so you will save lives. Rest In Peace Andrew.”

Kiran Shah (Frodo) who probably worked with Andrew Jack on more films than anyways through LOTR and Star Wars says, “A good friend. Will miss him.”

Henry Mortensen (Viggo’s son) and many other LOTR adjacent folks and fans retweeted and shared news clippings of the passing.

Rest in peace Andrew Jack, may your passage into the west be greeted by all the dialects of history.

Posted in Crew News, LotR Movies, LotR Production, Production on April 1, 2020 by
The Floor Plan from WETA Workshop

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