Jean-Marc Vallée (1963-2021): a filmmaker loved by actors

The announcement of the sudden death of Jean-Marc Vallée, a 58-year-old victim of a cardiopulmonary arrest on the evening of December 25, created a shock wave in the film industry from here and elsewhere.

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The actors and actresses with whom he had worked gave a veritable concert of praise to the filmmaker, also giving free rein to their pain.

“I’m heartbroken,” Reese Witherspoon said. Jared Leto hailed “a true artist who changed my life”, while Matthew McConaughey remembered “his eyes [qui¬] contained only love stories ”.

Because the trajectory of Jean-Marc Vallée is exemplary.

After the success of his first feature film, “Black List”, in 1995, he moved to Hollywood, signed “Los Locos” in 1998 and “Loser Love” the following year. Then, in 2005, “C .RAZY” was selected by Canada to represent the country at the Oscars.


With such a calling card, Martin Scorsese hired her to direct “Victoria: The Young Years of a Queen” with Emily Blunt in the title role. Jean-Marc Vallée then found himself at the Oscars, the 2009 film winning the statuette for best costume.

The real turning point of his career, he owes it to “Dallas Buyers Club”, released in 2013 and for which he will admit having given the first turn of the crank just days after having collected the five million US dollars of the budget.

It resuscitates the career of Matthew McConaughey, then confined to the roles of lovers transfixed by romantic comedies.

In addition, the filmmaker is impressed by Jared Leto, who comes out of a five-year retirement to audition via Skype dressed as a woman. Both actors won the corresponding Oscar and Golden Globe, while the director received, in addition to the film’s other five Oscar nominations, a citation for Best Editing under his pseudonym John Mac McMurphy.


It is therefore no coincidence that Reese Witherspoon asks her, the following year, to direct “Wild”, taken from the autobiography of Cheryl Strayed, which she finances through her brand new production company, Pacific Standard.

After “Demolition” with Jake Gyllenhall, released in 2015 with almost general indifference, Vallée heads to television, HBO giving him the keys to “Little secrets, big lies”, in 2017. The series in which Reese Witherspoon shines, Laura Dern, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley and Zoë Kravitz collect nominations and statuettes at the Golden Globes and Emmy, the Quebecer also winning the trophy for best director.

Then, the following year, Amy Adams and Patricia Clarkson performed the crime drama “On My Skin,” which received a Golden Globe nomination.


Building on these successes, HBO and HBO Max signed a contract last April with Vallée and his partner Nathan Ross. The two men were to produce “Gorilla and the Bird”, which the filmmaker was to direct, as well as “The Players Table”.

In addition, Jean-Marc Vallée was immersed in writing the script for the love story of John Lennon and Yoko One, produced, among others, by the Widow of the Beatles.

Denis Villeneuve, who also directed Emily Blunt, Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams, has made no secret of the reputation his colleague and friend enjoyed in Hollywood.

“He’s a director who is capable of making everything that touches shine, and that, the actors knew in Hollywood. When we were working in a film by Jean-Marc Vallée, we were going to be in the hands of a master. He knew how to bring out the best in himself and the actresses and actors knew it and the word was getting around. Everyone wanted to work with Jean-Marc ”.

Jean-Marc Vallée in five key dates

  • 1963: birth in Montreal
  • 2005: “CRAZY” is chosen to represent Canada at the Oscars.
  • 2010: “Victoria: the young years of a queen” wins the Oscar for best costume.
  • 2014: “Dallas Buyers Club” is nominated in six Oscar categories and wins two.
  • 2017: “Little Secrets, Big Lies” wins four Golden Globes, including Best Miniseries, and eight Emmy Awards.

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Jean-Marc Vallée (1963-2021): a filmmaker loved by actors