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Helen Mirren is still in shock about Alan Rickman's death

DAME Helen Mirren is still "in a state of shock" about Alan Rickman's death.

The 70-year-old actress has hailed her 'Eye in the Sky' co-star - who lost his battle with cancer aged 69 in January - an "absolute genius" and thinks he has gone "far too early" as there is so much other great work he could have done.

She said: "Oh my lovely Alan. Isn't he wonderful in this movie? He's so good.

"And it's classic Alan because it's so full of intelligence and character and yet so minimal.

"He was an absolute genius and we've lost him far too early. He would have had many, many great roles to come.

"Quite apart from the fact that he was a wonderful guy. A really extraordinary, committed and thoroughly decent person.

"I'm still in a state of shock about it. I looked at a picture of him just today and thought, 'I can't believe that I'm not going to see him again.'"

'Eye in the Sky' director Gavin Hood felt "very lucky" to have the veteran actor in the movie as he brought so much to the drone warfare project.

He told Total Film magazine: "He was very involved in social and political questions and he really connected with this material and spoke very eloquently about it on set.

"I just feel so very lucky that I got to work with him.

"I think what Alan brings to his role, as he did to all his roles, is this deep sense of humanity.

"He was a slightly out-of-the-box choice, but he brought a real intelligence and, more importantly, a real humour to the film. I'm going to miss him greatly."