Jean-Marc Vallée, ‘Dallas Buyers Club,’ ‘Big Little Lies’ Director, Dies at 58
Art and Experience:
Jean-Marc Vallée, the Quebecois director of films including “Dallas Buyers Club” and TV projects such as “Big Little Lies,” died at his cabin outside Quebec City, Canada. He was 58.
Vallée died from a heart attack, according to his representative Bumble Ward.
His producing partner, Nathan Ross, said in a statement, “Jean-Marc stood for creativity, authenticity and trying things differently. He was a true artist and a generous, loving guy. Everyone who worked with him couldn’t help but see the talent and vision he possessed. He was a friend, creative partner and an older brother to me. The maestro will sorely be missed but it comforts knowing his beautiful style and impactful work he shared with the world will live on.”
Vallée earned an Oscar nomination for best editing for 2013’s “Dallas Buyers Club,” which won Oscars for Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey. The film was based on the true story of Ron Woodroof, an AIDS patient who smuggled pharmaceutical drugs into Texas and distributed them to fellow AIDS patients through the “Dallas Buyers Club.”
The next year, he directed “Wild,” starring Reese Witherspoon and based on the bestselling memoir about a former heroin addict who hikes the Pacific Crest Trail to help find herself.
He continued to work with Witherspoon on the HBO series “Big Little Lies,” for which he won the Emmy for directing a limited series, movie or special. Adapted from the bestselling Liane Moriarty novel, the limited series also starred Laura Dern, Nicole Kidman and Shailene Woodley, and it drew acclaim for its lushly photographed look at the lives of wealthy coastal families who must confront a sudden death in their midst.
Vallée’s next HBO project was another suspenseful HBO mini-series based on a popular book, “Sharp Objects.”
“Jean-Marc Vallée was a brilliant, fiercely dedicated filmmaker, a truly phenomenal talent who infused every scene with a deeply visceral, emotional truth,” said a statement released by HBO. “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.”
Born in Montreal, Vallée studied film at the Université de Montréal. After making music videos and short films, he made his first feature “Black List.”
After making 2005’s acclaimed Quebec film “C.R.A.Z.Y.,” based on the life of a close friend, he directed “The Young Victoria,” which garnered three Academy Award nominations. His other films included “Cafe de Flore,” “Los Locos,” a Western written by and starring Mario Van Peebles, “Loser Love” and “Demolition,” starring Jake Gyllenhaal.
Vallée was set to direct another series for HBO, “Gorilla and the Bird,” based on a memoir by Zack McDermott about a public defender who suffers a sudden psychotic break.
He is survived by two children and three siblings.