‘Sometimes your corset is a bit tight’

Lesley Manville
Lesley Manville

Otherwise working in period films is all pros and no cons, says Lesley Manville

She loves clothes and costume dramas and so Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread (2017), set in the haute couture world of London in 1954, was a perfect fit. Lesley Manville plays Cyril Woodcock, sister to Daniel Day-Lewis’ gifted but obsessive couturier, Reynolds Woodcock

Talking about the preparation for her role, Lesley says over the phone from London, “I knew I was going to do the film about seven months before we started filming so I had lots of time to research the period of the film, the 50s, the history of fashion, the world of fashion leading up to that. I had time to think about the character and how I might play her. I had lots of sessions and meetings with Paul Thomas Anderson, I had a few with Daniel Day Lewis, lots of costume fittings with Mark Bridges. You put all the research, the work and the preparation in and then you start to shoot the film. That is when everybody has to try and find a way to create something that is going to work and going to be interesting.”

Insisting there aren’t any cons to working in a period film, the 63-year-old says, “I love costume dramas because you put on these clothes and when you go to the set everything is in the right period which helps you feel very much in that world. I find it all a great help and it is such a beautiful period as well. Women dressed so beautifully at that time in history. Everything about it was helpful. Sometimes your corset is a bit tight! (laughs) Apart from that it is all pros, no cons.” [ . . . ]

Continue reading at THE HINDU: ‘Sometimes your corset is a bit tight’

Mike Leigh Calls Netflix and Amazon’s Meddling ‘Totally Unacceptable’

Director Mike Leigh
Director Mike Leigh

Mike Leigh just made a movie with help from Amazon, but that doesn’t mean he thinks the studio is free from criticism. Speaking to the Guardian, the “Peterloo” director referred to streaming services in general and his benefactor in particular as a “new breed of executives” who micromanage projects in a way that’s more like traditional Hollywood than they’d like to admit.

“I’m not talking about my own experience with Amazon, who backed ‘Peterloo’ and who behaved impeccably,” he was quick to clarify. “The problem really exists for younger filmmakers.”

Leigh, one of England’s most celebrated auteurs, is best known for such films as “Naked” and “Secrets & Lies”; he won Best Director at Cannes for the former, the Palme d’Or for the latter, and has been nominated for seven Academy Awards (all in the Best Original Screenplay and Best Director categories).

“The new streaming services all like to say they don’t work like Hollywood,” he continued. “But, actually, by suggesting a director works with a particular team, or asking why you are not using a female cinematographer, or wondering whether the film should have an upbeat ending, they are behaving in a traditional Hollywood, Louis B Mayer-way and it is totally unacceptable,” he said. Continue reading

Happy 76th Birthday Mike Leigh

Life is Sweet (1990)

Interview Jane Horrocks, Alison Steadman and Mike Leigh “Life Is Sweet”
“Life Is Sweet” 1990

High Hopes (1988)

“High Hopes” 1988

Career Girls (1997)

“Career Girls” 1997

Another Year (2010)

“Another Year” 2010
Interview Mike Leigh and Lesley Manville

Happy Go Lucky (2008)

“Happy Go Lucky” 2008
Q&A New York with Sally Hawkins and Mike Leigh

Secrets and Lies (2008)

Mike Leigh Interview “Secrets and Lies”

Naked (1993)

“Naked” with the late Katrin Cartledge
Kermode commentary on “Naked”

Mike Leigh on Albert Finney: had he not backed me, my career might never have happened

The award-winning director remembers Finney’s unique bonhomie, from his shining legacy at Salford grammar school to his support of Leigh’s film debut Bleak Moments

By Mike Leigh | THE GUARDIAN February 15,2019

When I arrived at Salford grammar school in 1954, Albert Finney had just left for Rada, the glittering star of the school’s dramatic society. My school friend and future colleague Les Blair, a year my senior, witnessed his legendary performance as Sweeney Todd. Albert’s legacy shone its light on all of our productions and we tracked his meteoric progress in awe. My final-year production of a very forgettable play won the brand new Albert Finney cup, donated by his parents.

By the time I followed him to Rada in 1960, Albert had become an RSC star, understudying and going on for Laurence Olivier as Coriolanus; he had toured with Charles Laughton, had just completed Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, and was appearing in the West End as Billy Liar. There, my Rada classmate and fellow Mancunian Ian McShane and I sheepishly visited him in his dressing room after a performance, to be greeted by his characteristically convivial generosity. Continue reading

‘Silly question!’ Mike Leigh interviewed by readers and famous fans


The acclaimed director answers a wide range of your questions about creative freedom, James Bond, and everything Rada didn’t teach him

Courtesy of THE GUARDIAN

Mike Leigh sits before me, in his Soho office, a man without regrets – certainly with regard to his work, but probably in most aspects of his life, one suspects. If this doesn’t make him unique in the film industry, then he’s certainly in a tiny minority. The 75-year-old British director has made 20-odd films – from his TV work in the 1970s up to his latest release, Peterloo, perhaps his most ambitious and certainly his most expensive project yet – and he has never once had his arm twisted to compromise on his creative vision. He chooses the subject, handpicks the actors and the version we see on the screen is exactly the one that Leigh intended.

“I’m open to people who are happy for me to do what I do,” he explains. “I’m not open to anybody who tries to tell me what to do. I have on many occasions walked away from a project where there’s been even the suggestion that, ‘Well, we’ll back the film so long as there’s an American star in it.’ Walk away.”

Really, he’d walk away? “Of course,” Leigh replies, clearly considering the question either idiotic or mad. “And I have done on a number of occasions. It’s like a novelist being told what the novel should have in it. Or a painter being told, ‘It must include a lighthouse.’ And that’s the polite version.”

So Leigh is no people-pleaser, and yet, of course, at the same time he has become one of our best loved film-makers. He was raised in Salford and when he started making plays, and then films, he always imagined he would focus on contemporary issues. A particular inspiration was Jack Clayton’s 1959 film Room at the Top, a story of love and class set in a Yorkshire mill town, which came out when Leigh was 16 [ . . . ]

Read full story at: ‘Silly question!’ Mike Leigh interviewed by our readers and famous fans