“Lord of the Rings” director Peter Jackson said he and his countrymen are “devastated” in the wake of Friday’s mosque shootings in New Zealand, which left 49 dead and many more injured. Jackson — the first and only New Zealand filmmaker to win the Academy Award for Best Director, a feat he achieved with 2003’s “The Return of the King” — most recently helmed the well-received “They Shall Not Grow Old,” a World War I documentary in which he colorized and restored existing footage of what was once dubbed the War to End All Wars.
“New Zealanders are devastated,” Jackson said in a statement to Variety. “Our hearts go out to all those who have been harmed by this cowardly act of hate. Kiwis stand united in our love and support for our fellow Muslim brothers and sisters. We will do whatever we can to help them heal and rise above this terrible tragedy.”
After making a name for himself with such wide-ranging films as “Bad Taste” and “Heavenly Creatures,” Jackson earned worldwide renown for directing the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. Prior to “They Shall Not Grow Old,” he also helmed “King Kong,” “The Lovely Bones,” and the “Hobbit” trilogy.
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Fellow kiwi filmmaker Taika Waititi reacted to the shootings yesterday: “My heart is broken. My country is weeping and so am I. I am dying knowing that this kind of hatred can happen in my homeland,” the “What We Do in the Shadows” and “Thor: Ragnarok” director tweeted. “All my love goes out to Christchurch, the victims, the families, the Muslim community, and all who have chosen our islands as their home. This is not us.”