Jean-Marc Vallée: Canadian filmmaker dies aged 58

Canadian filmmaker Jean-Marc Vallée, whose work included Dallas Buyers Club and Wild has died aged 58.

The Oscar-nominated director also won an Emmy award for his work on the HBO series Big Little Lies.

He died over the weekend in Quebec City, his long-time producing partner Nathan Ross confirmed in a statement provided to The Hollywood Reporter, though no cause of death was given.

Ross said Vallée “stood for creativity” and “authenticity”.

“He was a true artist and a generous, loving guy,” he wrote. “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.”
‘Truly phenomenal talent’

In a separate statement, HBO added: “Jean-Marc Vallée was a brilliant, fiercely dedicated filmmaker, a truly phenomenal talent who infused every scene with a deeply visceral, emotional truth.

“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 long-time producing partner, Nathan Ross.”
Jarde Leto (left) and Matthew McConaughey starred in Dallas Buyers ClubImage source, Entertainment One UK Ltd

The Montreal-born director began his career making music videos before moving into film in 1995, with his debut thriller Black List, and then the critically-lauded 2005 coming-of-age movie C.R.A.Z.Y.

His 2009 feature, The Young Victoria, starring British actress Emily Blunt as Britain’s Queen Victoria, picked up three Oscar nominations.

But perhaps his best-known work arrived in 2013, with Dallas Buyers Club – the emotional story of Ron Woodroof, who sold experimental drugs to fellow Aids patients in Texas. The movie, which starred Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto, scored six Academy Award nominations, including best picture.

The next year, he directed Reese Witherspoon in Wild, a film based on the bestselling memoir of a former heroin addict who tries to re-discover herself by backpacking and hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.
Reese Witherspoon in WildImage source, TIFF

He worked with the US actress again on Big Little Lies, which saw him win the Emmy for best directing on a limited series, movie or special.

Vallée went on to direct Amy Adams and Patricia Clarkson in another HBO series, Sharp Objects, which he was also the executive producer on.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter in 2016, Vallée revealed what he enjoyed most about making movies and TV shows. “The dream,” he said. “Dreams can come true. I’m living the dream right now.”

He is survived by two children.

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