Filmmaker Dan Ireland, who directed such movies as Jolene and The Whole Wide World and who co-founded the Seattle International Film Festival, died Thursday of undisclosed causes at his home in Los Angeles. He was 57.
His manager, Paul Nelson, confirmed the news to EW.
Ireland helped foster the early careers of actresses Renee Zellweger and Jessica Chastain. The former starred in the Texas-set drama The Whole Wide World before her Jerry Maguire breakout, and the latter starred in Jolene, an adaptation of an E.L. Doctorow short story, on her way to becoming one of today’s in-demand actresses.
Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty, Interstellar) paid tribute to Ireland on social media Friday, writing, “The sweetest angel left us. Called his voicemail just to hear his voice once more. I’ll miss you baby.”
A native of Vancouver, Canada, Ireland founded and ran the Seattle International Film Festival with Darryl Macdonald from 1975 to 1986. The pair also operated an arthouse theater in Seattle, the Egyptian.
Ireland moved to Los Angeles in 1986 and served as an acquisitions executive at Vestron Pictures before setting out to make his own films. His other directing credits included The Velocity of Gary, Passionada, Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont, and the TV movie Living Proof.