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

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Fleabag Series 2 Episode 1 – There Will Be No Better TV Show in 2019 (No Spoiler Review)

Fleabag

Fleabag was one of the best television series in years. Based on the one-woman play by Phoebe Waller-Bridge I was lucky to see years ago in the Soho Theatre, it married comedy and tragedy better than anything since the heights of Alan Bleasdale, Dennis Potter, Mike Leigh or Victoria Wood. But those guys were just messing around at the edges compared to the first episode of the second series of Fleabag that has just hit the BBC iPlayer and will be playing tonight on BBC1. 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”

‘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