Director and producer Jean-Marc Vallee, who won an Emmy for directing the hit HBO series Big Little Lies and whose 2013 drama Dallas Buyers Club earned multiple Oscar nominations, has died aged 58.
His representative Bumble Ward said on Sunday that Vallee died suddenly in his cabin outside Quebec City, Canada, over the weekend.
Vallee was acclaimed for his naturalistic approach to filmmaking, directing stars including Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal over the past decade.
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.
“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 Witherspoon to direct the first season of Big Little Lies in 2017, and directed Adams in 2018’s Sharp Objects, also for HBO. Vallee won DGA awards for both.