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Jean-Marc Vallée, director of 'Dallas Buyers Club' and 'Big Little Lies,' dies at 58

Director Jean-Marc Vallée, who directed the award-winning film Dallas Buyers Club and the hit HBO show Big Little Lies, died in his cabin outside Quebec City, Canada, this weekend, The Associated Press reported. He was 58.

His publicist Bumble Ward said on Sunday night that she was still in shock.

"What you may not know is that he was sweet and kind, full of gratitude, remembered birthdays and sent awesome mixtapes, while still being a creative genius," Ward wrote on Twitter.

An official cause of death has not yet been released.

Vallée, born on March 9, 1963, in Montreal, was known for his naturalistic approach to filmmaking and for working with strong female leads, including Amy Adams in Sharp Objects, Reese Witherspoon in Wild and Nicole Kidman, Zoë Kravitz, Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley and Meryl Streep in Big Little Lies.

"It's true that my last projects were featuring mainly female characters," Vallée said in a 2018interview with HBO. "So, am I the lucky guy? Maybe — maybe I am. I'm not afraid of intelligent, strong women. You got to create a space where they're going to feel respected and comfortable."

In 2009, Vallée directed The Young Victoria, a film starring Emily Blunt that's about the early years of Queen Victoria's rule and her romance with Prince Albert. It received two Academy Award nominations and won an Oscar for costume design.

In 2013, he directed the Oscar-winning film Dallas Buyers Club, a film based on the story of Dallas Cowboy Ron Woodroof, who was diagnosed with HIV in 1985. Played by Matthew McConaughey, he then helps others and himself get medication they need by working around the system.

Vallée often shot his films with handheld cameras and natural light, and he liked to give his actors the freedom to improvise.

"I'm reacting to what they're doing, instead of being active and telling them, 'This is what I'll do with the camera,' " he told HBO.

"I love it," he added. "You know, I'm like a kid on a set, a kid playing with a huge toy and having fun."

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mia Estrada
Mia Estrada is a 2021-2022 Kroc Fellow. She will spend the year rotating through different parts of NPR, including the Culture Desk, National Desk and Weekend Edition.

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