Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern pay tribute to Big Little Lies director

The filmmaker died suddenly in his cabin outside Quebec City, his representative said.

The filmmaker died suddenly in his cabin outside Quebec City, his representative said (Ian West/PA)
The filmmaker died suddenly in his cabin outside Quebec City, his representative said (Ian West/PA)

Big Little Lies stars Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern have said their hearts are “broken” after the death of Emmy-winning director and producer Jean-Marc Vallee.

The filmmaker, whose 2013 drama Dallas Buyers Club earned multiple Oscar nominations, died suddenly aged 58 in his cabin outside Quebec City, Canada, his representative Bumble Ward said.

In 2017, he worked with Witherspoon and Dern directing the first season of Big Little Lies, later winning a Directors Guild of America (DGA) award for the HBO TV series which was adapted from the bestselling Liane Moriarty novel.

On Twitter, Witherspoon wrote: “My heart is broken. My friend. I love you.”

The 45-year-old actress also shared an image of the pair to her Instagram story with the same caption and a broken heart emoji.

On Instagram, Dern, 54, shared an image of the pair laughing, captioning it: “Beautiful Jean-Marc Vallee.

“The world has lost one of our great and purest artists and dreamers. And we lost our beloved friend. Our hearts are broken.”

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 Award nominations, including best picture.

McConaughey and Leto took home Oscars for best actor and best supporting actor, respectively, for their roles in the movie.

On Twitter, McConaughey posted a picture of them both smiling, with the caption: “With a gentle hand and a heart Jean-Marc was a true receiver – he didn’t romanticize life so much as he saw life romantic – from the struggle to the pain to the wink and the whisper, love stories were everywhere in his eye.”

Vallee was acclaimed for his naturalistic approach to filmmaking, directing stars including Nicole Kidman, Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal over the past decade.

Paying tribute to the filmmaker on Twitter, Bridesmaids director Paul Feig said: “My god, this is so unbelievably sad. What a huge loss. He was an incredibly talented filmmaker.”

Vallee 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.

His crew roamed up and down the Pacific Coast Trail to shoot Witherspoon in 2014’s Wild.

Actor Josh Gad, who voiced Olaf in the Frozen franchise, said on Twitter: “Oh my God. This is so horrible. Absolutely loved his work.”

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