Gary Winick was an independent filmmaker who was at the forefront of the movement to make movies using low-budget digital video. He was also a Hollywood director who made films like Letters to Juliet, Charlotte’s Web, and the overlooked gem 13 Going on 30 (the age-swapping romcom which earned an A- from EW critic Owen Gleiberman.) Winick passed away over the weekend due to undisclosed causes. EW caught up with 13 Going on 30 star Jennifer Garner, who talked about what it was like to work with Winick:
“Gary and I had the most successful collaboration possible,” said Garner. “I don’t mean success in terms of box office, or from anyone else’s point of view other than my own. I left it better at what I do. He was one of the most inclusive people you could ever meet, and I was energized by our creative mess together everyday. From then on, there wasn’t a single project that I didn’t try to do with him. We had scripts written together, we developed things together. It was an ongoing and unfinished collaboration. We had several ‘next’ movies that we were about to do. We just didn’t get them done quickly enough.
“I think everybody who was a friend of Gary’s considered him one of their best friends. He had a hundred best friends. He just was unafraid of being intimate. And that spilled over into his directing. His whole company, InDigEnt, was based on trying to find a way to fold everyone in, being 100 percent invested in the movie, because they were going to profit from it if the movie was successful.
“Even in a frothy romantic comedy, he found what was really human about a scene, or about a character, or about a moment. That’s not always easy or pretty. [While filming 13 Going on 30], he wasn’t afraid to bring the writer in and change the words completely and start again. So it was messy, but I loved every minute of it. I really, really loved him.”