Jean-Marc Vallée, the director and producer who won an Emmy for his work on HBO’s “Big Little Lies” and whose 2013 drama “Dallas Buyers Club” earned multiple Oscar nominations, died at 58, a representative said.
Bumble Ward, his representative, said Sunday that the director, known for his naturalistic approach to filmmaking, died in his cabin outside Quebec City, Canada, sometime over the weekend, the Associated Press reported.
“Even if you’ve never heard of Jean-Marc Vallee, you’ve almost certainly seen his TV directing work on ‘Big Little Lies’ & ‘Sharp Objects’ or his movies like ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ & ‘Wild,’” Joshua Axelrod, a features writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, tweeted.
Nathan Ross, a producing partner and close friend, called him a “true artist.”
“The maestro will sorely be missed,” the statement read, according to the New York Times. “It comforts knowing his beautiful style and impactful work he shared with the world will live on.”
Actor Jake Gyllenhaal, left, and director Jean-Marc Vallée attend the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and InStyle party at the Windsor Arms Hotel during the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 6, 2014, in Toronto. (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)
He directed Emily Blunt in 2009’s “The Young Victoria” and became a sought-after name in Hollywood after “Dallas Buyers Club,” featuring Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto, earned six Academy Awards nominations, including best picture.
He often shot with natural light and hand-held cameras and gave actors freedom to improvise the script and move around within a scene’s location. The crew roamed up and down the Pacific Coast Trail to shoot Witherspoon in 2014’s “Wild.”
Jean-Marc Vallée arrives at the 29th American Cinematheque Awards honoring Reese Witherspoon at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza on Oct. 30, 2015, in Los Angeles. (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)
“They can move anywhere they want,” the Canadian filmmaker said of his actors in a 2014 interview with The Associated Press. “It’s giving the importance to storytelling, emotion, characters. I try not to interfere too much. I don’t need to cut performances. Often, the cinematographer and I were like, ‘This location sucks. It’s not very nice. But, hey, that’s life.’”
He re-teamed with Reese Witherspoon to direct the first season of “Big Little Lies” in 2017, and directed Amy Adams in 2018′s “Sharp Objects,” also for HBO. Vallée won DGA awards for both.
HBO called Vallée a “fiercely dedicated filmmaker.”
“He was also a hugely caring man who invested his whole self alongside every actor he directed. We are shocked at the news of his sudden death, and we extend our heartfelt sympathies to his sons, Alex and Émile, his extended family, and his longtime producing partner, Nathan Ross,” the statement read, according to Variety.
The Associated Press contributed to this report