Biography

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Michael "Mike" Leigh, OBE (born 20 February 1943) is a British writer and director of film and theatre. He studied theatre at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and studied further at the Camberwell School of Art and the Central School of Art and Design. He began as a theatre director and playwright in the mid 1960s. In the 1970s and 1980s his career moved between work for the theatre and making films for BBC Television, many of which were characterized by a gritty "kitchen sink realism" style. His well-known films include Life is Sweet (1990), the comedy-drama Career Girls (1997), the Gilbert and Sullivan biopic Topsy Turvy (1999), and the bleak working-class drama All or Nothing (2002). His most notable works are arguably Naked (1993) for which he won the Best Director Award at Cannes, the BAFTA-winning (and Oscar-nominated) Palme d'Or winner Secrets & Lies (1996) and Golden Lion winner Vera Drake (2004).

His films and stage plays, according to the critic Michael Coveney, "comprise a distinctive, homogenous body of work which stands comparison with anyone's in the British theatre and cinema over the same period."  Coveney further noted Leigh's role in helping to create stars – Liz Smith in Hard Labour, Alison Steadman in Abigail's Party, Brenda Blethyn in Grown-Ups, Antony Sher in Goose-Pimples, Gary Oldman and Tim Roth in Meantime, Jane Horrocks in Life is Sweet, David Thewlis in Naked – and remarked that the list of actors who have worked with him over the years – including Sheila Kelley, Paul Jesson, Phil Daniels, Lindsay Duncan, Lesley Sharp, Kathy Burke, Stephen Rea, Eric Richard, Julie Walters – "comprises an impressive, almost representative, nucleus of outstanding British acting talent."  Ian Buruma, writing in the New York Review of Books in January 1994, noted: "It is hard to get on a London bus or listen to the people at the next table in a cafeteria without thinking of Mike Leigh. Like other wholly original artists, he has staked out his own territory. Leigh's London is as distinctive as Fellini's Rome or Ozu's Tokyo."

Leigh begins his projects without a script, but starts from a basic premise which is developed through improvisation by the actors. Leigh works initially one-to-one with each actor, developing a character who is based, in the first place, on someone he or she knows. "The world of the characters and their relationships is brought into existence by discussion and a great amount of improvisation - that is, improvising a character. And research into anything and everything that will fill out the authenticity of the character." It is only after months of rehearsal, or 'preparing for going out on location to make up a film', that Leigh writes a shooting script, a bare scenario. Then, on the shoot, on location, after further 'real rehearsing', the script is finalised. "I'll set up an improvisation ,.. I'll analyse and discuss it,.. we'll do another, and I'll ... refine and refine... until the actions and dialogue are totally integrated. Then we shoot it." Further aspects of Leigh to note; "He is a gifted cartoonist; he is a northerner who came south, slightly chippy, fiercely proud (and critical) of his roots and Jewish background; and he is a child of the 1960s, and of the explosion of interest in the European cinema and the possibilities of television." Description above from the Wikipedia article Mike Leigh, licensed under CC-BY-SA, full list of contributors on Wikipedia.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Michael "Mike" Leigh, OBE (born 20 February 1943) is a British writer and director of film and theatre. He studied theatre at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and studied further at the Camberwell School of Art and the Central School of Art and Design. He began as a theatre director and playwright in the mid 1960s. In the 1970s and 1980s his career moved between work for the theatre and making films for BBC Television, many of which were characterized by a gritty "kitchen sink realism" style. His well-known films include Life is Sweet (1990), the comedy-drama Career Girls (1997), the Gilbert and Sullivan biopic Topsy Turvy (1999), and the bleak working-class drama All or Nothing (2002). His most notable works are arguably Naked (1993) for which he won the Best Director Award at Cannes, the BAFTA-winning (and Oscar-nominated) Palme d'Or winner Secrets & Lies (1996) and Golden Lion winner Vera Drake (2004).

His films and stage plays, according to the critic Michael Coveney, "comprise a distinctive, homogenous body of work which stands comparison with anyone's in the British theatre and cinema over the same period."  Coveney further noted Leigh's role in helping to create stars – Liz Smith in Hard Labour, Alison Steadman in Abigail's Party, Brenda Blethyn in Grown-Ups, Antony Sher in Goose-Pimples, Gary Oldman and Tim Roth in Meantime, Jane Horrocks in Life is Sweet, David Thewlis in Naked – and remarked that the list of actors who have worked with him over the years – including Sheila Kelley, Paul Jesson, Phil Daniels, Lindsay Duncan, Lesley Sharp, Kathy Burke, Stephen Rea, Eric Richard, Julie Walters – "comprises an impressive, almost representative, nucleus of outstanding British acting talent."  Ian Buruma, writing in the New York Review of Books in January 1994, noted: "It is hard to get on a London bus or listen to the people at the next table in a cafeteria without thinking of Mike Leigh. Like other wholly original artists, he has staked out his own territory. Leigh's London is as distinctive as Fellini's Rome or Ozu's Tokyo."

Leigh begins his projects without a script, but starts from a basic premise which is developed through improvisation by the actors. Leigh works initially one-to-one with each actor, developing a character who is based, in the first place, on someone he or she knows. "The world of the characters and their relationships is brought into existence by discussion and a great amount of improvisation - that is, improvising a character. And research into anything and everything that will fill out the authenticity of the character." It is only after months of rehearsal, or 'preparing for going out on location to make up a film', that Leigh writes a shooting script, a bare scenario. Then, on the shoot, on location, after further 'real rehearsing', the script is finalised. "I'll set up an improvisation ,.. I'll analyse and discuss it,.. we'll do another, and I'll ... refine and refine... until the actions and dialogue are totally integrated. Then we shoot it." Further aspects of Leigh to note; "He is a gifted cartoonist; he is a northerner who came south, slightly chippy, fiercely proud (and critical) of his roots and Jewish background; and he is a child of the 1960s, and of the explosion of interest in the European cinema and the possibilities of television." Description above from the Wikipedia article Mike Leigh, licensed under CC-BY-SA, full list of contributors on Wikipedia.

Personal Info

Gender -

Known Credits 43

Birthday 1943-02-20

Place of Birth Salford, Greater Manchester, England, UK

Official Site -

Also Known As

  • -

Directing TV ShowsMovies

2018 Peterloo … Director
2015 ENO Screen: The Pirates of Penzance … Director
2014 Mr. Turner … Director
2012 A Running Jump … Director
2010 Another Year … Director
2008 Happy-Go-Lucky … Director
2004 Vera Drake … Director
2002 All or Nothing … Director
1999 Topsy-Turvy … Director
1997 Career Girls … Director
1996 Secrets & Lies … Director
1993 Naked … Director
1993 Two Mikes Don't Make a Wright … Director
1992 A Sense of History … Director
1990 Life Is Sweet … Director
1988 High Hopes … Director
1987 The Short & Curlies … Director
1985 Four Days in July … Director
1983 Meantime … Director
1982 Five-Minute Films: Afternoon … Director
1982 Five-Minute Films: A Light Snack … Director
1982 Five-Minute Films: Probation … Director
1982 Five-Minute Films: Old Chums … Director
1982 Five-Minute Films: The Birth of the Goalie of the 2001 F.A. Cup Final … Director
1982 Home Sweet Home … Director
1980 Grown-Ups … Director
1979 Who's Who … Director
1977 Abigail's Party … Director
1977 The Kiss of Death … Director
1976 Nuts in May … Director
1975 The Permissive Society … Director
1973 Hard Labour … Director
1971 Bleak Moments … Director
1970 Play for Today(6 episodes) … Director

Writing

2018 Peterloo … Writer
2014 Mr. Turner … Screenplay
2010 Another Year … Writer
2008 Happy-Go-Lucky … Screenplay
2004 Vera Drake … Writer
2002 All or Nothing … Writer
1999 Topsy-Turvy … Writer
1997 Career Girls … Writer
1996 Secrets & Lies … Writer
1993 Naked … Writer
1990 Life Is Sweet … Writer
1988 High Hopes … Writer
1987 The Short & Curlies … Writer
1983 Meantime … Writer
1982 Five-Minute Films: Afternoon … Writer
1982 Five-Minute Films: A Light Snack … Writer
1982 Five-Minute Films: Probation … Writer
1982 Five-Minute Films: Old Chums … Writer
1982 Five-Minute Films: The Birth of the Goalie of the 2001 F.A. Cup Final … Writer
1977 Abigail's Party … Writer
1977 The Kiss of Death … Writer
1976 Nuts in May … Writer
1973 Hard Labour … Writer
1971 Bleak Moments … Writer
1970 Play for Today(6 episodes) … Writer

Acting

2014 The One and Only Mike Leigh as Himself
2009 Looking for Truffaut as Himself
2007 The Alan Titchmarsh Show(1 episode)
2006 The One Show(2 episodes)
2004 The Culture Show(1 episode)
2000 Humphrey Jennings: The Man Who Listened to Britain as himself
1982 Mike Leigh: Making Plays as Himself
1960 Inspector Maigret(1 episode)
1953 The Academy Awards(1 episode)

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