On Sunday, it was revealed Jean-Marc Vallée, the Canadian director of movies like Dallas Buyers Club and the shows Big Litlte Lies and Sharp Objects, had suddenly died. He was only 58. Initial reports did not reveal the cause of his passing. But multiple sources have told Deadline that it was a heart attack — a shocking development considering Vallée was reportedly a longtime health enthusiast.
According to Deadline, Vallée was “known as a fitness fanatic and a teetotaler, a practitioner of the Wim Hoff fitness method, which is not for the faint of heart.” He died while at his riverside cabin outside Quebec City, reportedly while awaiting guests who were to arrive on the 26th. It’s believed he passed away on Christmas Day and that his body wasn’t discovered till Sunday.
Vallée had an unpredictable, shape-shifting career. He started off making shorts in his native Canada before breaking through with 2005’s C.R.A.Z.Y. which won four Genie Awards (basically Canada’s Oscars), including Best Picture. He soon found himself in the U.K., directing Emily Blunt in 2008’s The Young Victoria.
He soon found himself in America. There, he hit his stride, directing Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto to Oscars with Dallas Buyers Club, directing Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern to Oscar nominations with Wild, and getting an excellent turn out of Jake Gyllenhaal in the grief drama-comedy Demolition.
Vallée reinvented himself again by heading to TV. He directed the first season of Big Little Lies, starring Nicole Kidman, Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, and Zoe Kravitz, and hung on as an executive producer for its second. He then helmed Sharp Objects, his take on Gillian Flynn’s novel, which scored Amy Adams some of her best notices.
The filmmaker’s unexpected passing prompted much mourning from his colleagues and others in the industry. “Beautiful Jean-Marc Vallee,” Dern wrote 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.”