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Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Denis Villeneuve and Others Mourn Jean-Marc Vallée: ‘My Heart Is Broken’

Canadian writer-director-producer died suddenly on Christmas

Reese Witherspoon paid tribute on Monday to Jean-Marc Vallée, the Canadian writer-director-producer who died suddenly on Christmas. Witherspoon worked with Vallée on the 2014 film “Wild” as well as HBO’s “Big Little Lies.”

“My heart is broken,” she wrote in an Instagram story that featured a photo of herself with her longtime collaborator. “My friend. I love you.”


Witherspoon was not alone in honoring the heavily-awarded filmmaker.

Witherspoon’s “Big Little Lies” co-star Shailene Woodley took to Instagram to note she was “in complete and utter shock” over Vallée’s death. Vallée directed every episode of the first season of “Big Little Lies” and served as an executive producer and editor on the second season.

Laura Dern, who also appeared on “Big Little Lies,” said on Instagram “the world has lost one of our great and purest artists and dreamers. And we lost our beloved friend. Our hearts are broken.”

And fellow Canadian filmmaker and friend Denis Villeneuve wrote his own tribute on Instagram, saying “how can I forget these lonesome tears in my eyes?”

jean-marc vallée
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Cameron Bailey, CEO of the Toronto International Film Festival, tweeted, “Can’t believe it. Jean-Marc Vallée was a prodigious talent, and the only filmmaker to both open (DEMOLITION) and close (THE YOUNG VICTORIA) the Toronto International Film Festival. I’ll miss his fire.”

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 “Wild,” which was based on the Cheryl Strayed memoir. His first collaboration with Witherspoon earned Oscar nominations for both her and co-star Laura Dern. His direction of “Big Little Lies” then earned him two Primetime Emmy Awards, for directing and producing.

There were no details immediately available about Vallée’s cause of death.