Eric Zumbrunnen, a longtime collaborator of director Spike Jonze, has passed away. Zumbrunnen died early this month at the age of 52 after a battle with cancer. The award-winning editor worked with Jonze on a number of films and projects where he was either working by himself or with co-editor Jeff Buchanan. Some of these films include Being John Malkovich, Where the Wild Things Are, and most recently, Her.
Eric Zumbrunnen was born in November 1964 and graduated from University of Southern California with a degree in journalism. He began a career in editing music videos, short films and documentaries. Zumbrunnen worked on clips for bands such as Weezer ("Buddy Holly"), Beck ("Where It's At"), Smashing Pumpkins ("Tonight, Tonight") and Bjork ("It Oh So Quiet"), among several others. This is where his fruitful relationship with Spike Jonze began, and the two of them would continue to work together over the years.
His first feature film was Spike Jonze's Being John Malkovich in 1999. Directed by Jonze and written by Charlie Kaufman, the film received three Oscar nominations. Eric Zumbrunnen would earn an ACE Award from the American Cinema Editors and a BAFTA Film Award nomination for his work on the film. Zumbrunnen, also known as "EZ," continued to edit music videos before he re-teamed with Jonze and Kaufman for their next feature, Adaptation (2002), which starred Nicolas Cage, Meryl Streep and Chris Cooper. The movie was nominated for four Oscars, winning one for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. Zumbrunnen got himself another ACE award nomination.
After working with Spike Jonze once again on Where the Wild Things Are, Eric Zumbrunnen edited his first non-Jonze feature, Disney's somewhat-infamous John Carter. Following that film, Zumbrunnen edited Jonze's Her, the director's critical darling wherein Joaquin Phoenix's character falls in love with a Siri-esque computer program. The 2013 film was nominated for five Oscars, including Best Picture. The movie won Jonze his first, and so far only, Oscar for Best Screenplay.
Recently, Zumbrunnen was awarded a Bronze Lion for Editing at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity for his work on what would be his final collaboration with Spike Jonze, the Jonze-directed ad for Kenzo World. Called "My Mutant Brain," you can watch the excellent video down below. Eric Zumbrennen was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences this year based on his body of work.
He is survived by his wife Suzanne and children Henry and Greta. Arrangements are being made for a fellowship in his name. We here at CInemaBlend extend our condolences to Eric Zumbrunnen's family and friends.