Winick, who was 49, passed away Sunday after a battle with brain cancer. He first became known in Hollywood for producing independent films through his production company InDigEnt, including his own 2002 picture Tadpole. He later became more widely famous for directing mainstream romantic comedies such as 13 Going on 30 and his last film Letters to Juliet, the stars of which talked to The Hollywood Reporter about their memories of the man.

13 Going on 30 star Jennifer Garner said of Winick, “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.” Creating jobs in Hollywood and giving young filmmakers a means of expressing themselves is certainly a fine way to be remembered, but Garner had even more to say about the man and his career.

While making romantic comedies isn’t something that always fares so well with critics, especially here on the Internet, Garner said of his later work, “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.” Romantic comedies aimed at the mainstream will always exist, so someone who made them with real sincerity and attention to detail will be sorely missed by film fans, and it sounds like the people who worked Winick will really miss him on a personal level.

Amanda Seyfried, who worked with him on Letters to Juliet, echoed this sentiment with her remembrances of the man, “Gary’s heart was so big. I think each of us who loved him have a piece of it now. It’s unreal that he’s gone and I’ll miss my friend more than I can say,”

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