Jean-Marc Vallée, Director of ‘Big Little Lies’ and ‘Dallas Buyers Club,’ Dies at 58

Canadian auteur won two Emmy Awards for “Big Little Lies”

jean-marc vallée
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Jean-Marc Vallée, the award-winning Canadian writer-director-producer behind such acclaimed projects as “Dallas Buyers Club” and HBO’s “Big Little Lies,” died suddenly on Christmas night at his home outside Quebec City, his rep told TheWrap. He was 58.

No details were immediately available about the cause of death.

Vallée first achieved Hollywood success with the 2013 AIDS drama “Dallas Buyers Club,” which earned him an Oscar nomination for editing (under the pseudonym John Mac McMurphy). The film won three Academy Awards, for lead actor Matthew McConaughey and supporting actor Jared Leto (as well as for the film’s makeup and hairstyle).

He followed that with the Reese Witherspoon drama “Wild” based on the Cheryl Strayed memoir — which earned nominations for both Witherspoon and co-star Laura Dern. He continued his association with Witherspoon by directing the entire first season of “Big Little Lies” (2017), which earned him two Primetime Emmy Awards, for directing and producing. He returned as executive producer for the show’s second season.

Vallée first drew acclaim for his debut feature, 1995’s “Black List,” which earned nine Genie Award nominations from the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television. He garnered even wider recognition for his fourth feature, 2005’s French-language film “C.R.A.Z.Y.” which was inspired by his own youthful experience with homophobia in 1970s Quebec. The film was Canada’s submission for the Best International Film.

Two years later, he directed the English-language period drama “The Young Victoria” starring Emily Blunt as the young British monarch. The film earned three Oscar nominations and won one, for Sandy Powell’s costume design.

Other credits include the 1997 Mario Van Peebles Western “Los Locos,” the 1999 female revenge thriller “Loser Love,” the 2011 Vanessa Paradis film “Café de Floré” and the 2015 Jake Gyllenhaal drama “Demolition.” He also directed, executive produced and edited all eight episodes of the 2018 HBO limited series “Sharp Objects,” starring Amy Adams.

“Jean-Marc stood for creativity, authenticity and trying things differently,” Vallée’s longtime producing partner Nathan Ross said in a statement. “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.”