Director and writer Paul Schrader sent the following e-mail to L.A. Weekly's Scott Foundas in regards to actress Natasha Richardson, who passed away today in New York after suffering a head injury during a ski accident. She was 45 years old.

When I first met Natasha, while casting Patty Hearst, I was quite simply dazzled by her. Not just her beauty and lineage, both undeniable, but by her intelligence and fearlessness. She was very talented and very smart. I told her she'd won me over but now we had to win over the producers and backers, since she had never had the lead in a film before. So we did a screen test–and that was that. It was clear that she was the actress for this role.

A year later I had the opportunity to work with her again in Comfort of Strangers. The material was a bit severe but Natasha and Rupert Everett were grand friends and those days were among the most enjoyable in my career. That is the memory that returns most strongly. Sitting with Tash and Rupe, eating, drinking, laughing. And her unmistakable laugh. That Redgrave laugh.

I will always remember that laugh. I suspect I'll continue to hear it, across a reception hall or in a crowded theater–or just in the street, walking alone.

Paul S.

LA Weekly