MIKE LEIGH Biography - Theater, Opera and Movie personalities


Biography » theater opera and movie personalities » mike leigh


Name: Mike Leigh                                                                     
Born: 20 February 1943 Broughton, Salford, Lancashire, England                       
Mike Leigh OBE (born February 20, 1943) is an English film and theatre director,     
screenwriter, and playwright. He studied theatre at the Royal Academy of             
Dramatic Art and did his early acting with the Royal Shakespeare Company. He         
began as a theatre director and playwright in the 1960s, and then in the 1970s,       
he made the transition to television plays, many of which were characterized by       
a gritty "kitchen sink realism" style. Some of his well-known films include Life     
is Sweet (1990), the Gilbert and Sullivan biography Topsy Turvy (1999), and the       
bleak working-class drama All or Nothing (2002). His most notable work is             
arguably the BAFTA-winning (and Oscar-nominated) Secrets and Lies (1996).             
Leigh is often compared to filmmaker Ken Loach, who also makes social realism-oriented
films that focus on the banal conflicts of the "everyday life" of regular people.     
Most of Leigh's films are set amidst the blighted "urban decay of the inner city,     
or amid the soulessness of suburbia". Leigh often begins projects without a           
script; instead, he sets out a basic premise, and lets the ideas develop through     
improvisation by the actors, who explore their character. Some critics have           
argued that with this creative approach, "Leigh exploits his actors by getting       
them to do the work for them."