Eileen Moran, a visual effects producer who worked on some of the most ambitious, large-scale fantasy films of the past decade, has died of cancer. She was 60. A former actor, Moran broke into the production side of the business by working on TV commercials, helping to create striking digital effects for ads for such products as Guinness and Budweiser.
Moran did those ads while employed by Digital Domain, the Los Angeles company partly owned by James Cameron. In 2001, she was hired by Peter Jackson’s company, Weta Digital, overseeing visual effects for the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, as well as Jackson’s 2005 remake of King Kong and 2009's The Lovely Bones. In 2009, she also led the Weta Digital team that won the Oscar for visual effects in Cameron’s Avatar. In a statement, Cameron calls Moran “an integral part of building Weta Digital into the most powerful engine for imaginative imagery that ever existed.”
Among the other movies whose effects Moran shepherded were Fight Club, I, Robot, Bridge To Terabithia, X-Men: The Last Stand, 30 Days Of Night, District 9, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, and The Adventures Of Tintin. She was also co-producer of Jackson’s forthcoming The Hobbit, dying in Wellington, New Zealand shortly after its world premiere.