Acclaimed British Theatre and Film director Mike Leigh begins his projects without a script, but a basic premise that is developed through improvisation by the actors who are fully liberated in the creative process. He works with them one-on-one to develop a character and after months of rehearsal he writes a brief shooting script, which is constantly refined during the production.
His vision is to depict ordinary life. Mike was influenced in the 1960s by films such as John Cassavete’s Shadows – an improvised cast of unknown observed ‘living, loving and bickering’ on the streets of New York and plays that included Harold Pinter’s The Caretaker. During the 70s and 80s he divided his time directing theatre and making TV films described as ‘kitchen sink realism’. He also wrote a number of plays, including Abigail’s Party.
He has been nominated for the Academy Award seven times and won the Best Director award at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival for Naked. In 1996 his film Secrets and Lies won the Palm d’or, the Best Film BAFTA and an Oscar nomination.
In 2010, at the 54th BFI London Film Festival, his film Another Year was featured. He received his latest Oscar nomination for writing the original screenplay. Mike signed my sketch for me at the screening.