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Reese Witherspoon, Denis Villeneuve, and More Remember ‘Creative Genius’ Jean-Marc Vallée

Vallée, who died unexpectedly this weekend, was known for fostering warm and open collaborations with his actors.

Reese Witherspoon, left, and Jean-Marc Vallee arrive at the 6th annual Governors Awards at the Hollywood and Highland Center on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Reese Witherspoon and Jean-Marc Vallée

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Jean-Marc Vallée, the Canadian director and producer who helmed films including “Wild” and “Dallas Buyers Club” and the HBO series “Sharp Objects” and “Big Little Lies,” died on December 25 at age 58. The Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning director’s sudden passing has shocked the industry and his colleagues, with past collaborators paying tribute to the Canadian director on social media. See below.

“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,” “Big Little Lies” Emmy winner and “Wild” Oscar nominee Laura Dern wrote in an Instagram post. See below.

Fellow Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve shared a tribute on Instagram via his wife, filmmaker Tanya Lapointe, in French: “How must I forget these lonesome tears in my eyes? As you told me before: go out there and shine, crazy diamond! I love you, my friend.”

“I am in shock. Complete and utter shock. My fucking god death is the worst. But I guess somehow I know you will turn it into a grand adventure and one of the books, one I can’t wait to read and watch when my time comes,” “Big Little Lies” star Shailene Woodley wrote on Instagram in a story. “It doesn’t make sense though, dude. It doesn’t make sense. Maybe when we wake up tomorrow you’ll be there laughing saying it was just a satirical short film you made. That it’s not real.”

“My heart is broken. My friend. I love you,” Reese Witherspoon, who starred in “Big Little Lies” and earned an Academy Award nomination for “Wild,” wrote on Instagram in a story.

“Can’t believe it. Jean-Marc Vallée was a prodigious talent, and the only filmmaker to both open (DEMOLITION) and close (THE YOUNG VICTORIA) the Toronto International Film Festival. I’ll miss his fire,” Toronto International Film Festival CEO Cameron Bailey wrote on Twitter.

Vallée also directed such critically acclaimed films as “Cafe de Flore,” ‘The Young Victoria,” and “C.R.A.Z.Y.”

Vallée’s publicist Bumble Ward wrote on Twitter, “Still in shock over the news that Jean-Marc Vallée has died. 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. Rest In Peace.”

“He was a soulful artist, an extraordinary filmmaker, a wonderful father to his two wonderful sons, and a treasured friend to me and to so many,” tweeted Cheryl Strayed, author of “Wild” and subject of Vallée’s film starring Witherspoon.

Representatives at HBO also shared this statement with IndieWire: “Jean-Marc Vallée was a brilliant, fiercely dedicated filmmaker, a truly phenomenal talent who infused every scene with a deeply visceral, emotional truth. He was also a hugely caring man who invested his whole self alongside every actor he directed. We are shocked at the news of his sudden death, and we extend our heartfelt sympathies to his sons, Alex and Émile, his extended family, and his longtime producing partner, Nathan Ross.”

His producing partner, Nathan Ross, earlier released a statement regarding his death. “Jean-Marc stood for creativity, authenticity and trying things differently. He was a true artist and a generous, loving guy. Everyone who worked with him couldn’t help but see the talent and vision he possessed. He was a friend, creative partner and an older brother to me. The maestro will sorely be missed but it comforts knowing his beautiful style and impactful work he shared with the world will live on.”


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