Mike LeighMike Leigh (born 20 February 1943) is an English writer and director of film and theatre. He studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) before honing his directing skills at East 15 Acting School and further at the Camberwell School of Art, the Central School of Art and Design and London Film School. He began as a theatre director and playwright in the mid-1960s.
In the 1970s and '80s his career moved between theatre work and making films for BBC Television. His well-known films include the comedy-dramas ''Life is Sweet'' (1990) and ''Career Girls'' (1997), the Gilbert and Sullivan biographical film ''Topsy-Turvy'' (1999) and the bleak working-class drama ''All or Nothing'' (2002). His most notable works are the black comedy-drama ''Naked'' (1993), for which he won the Best Director Award at Cannes, the Oscar-nominated, BAFTA and Palme d'Or-winning drama ''Secrets & Lies'' (1996), the Golden Lion winning working-class drama ''Vera Drake'' (2004), and the Palme d'Or nominated biopic ''Mr. Turner'' (2014). His stage plays include ''Smelling A Rat'', ''It's A Great Big Shame'', ''Greek Tragedy'', ''Goose-Pimples'', ''Ecstasy'' and ''Abigail's Party''.
Leigh is known for his lengthy rehearsal and improvisation techniques with actors to build characters and narrative for his films. His purpose is to capture reality and present "emotional, subjective, intuitive, instinctive, vulnerable films." His films and stage plays, according to 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."
Leigh, Coveney said, has helped 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 Paul Jesson, Phil Daniels, Lindsay Duncan, Lesley Sharp, Kathy Burke, Stephen Rea, Julie Walters – "comprises an impressive, almost representative, nucleus of outstanding British acting talent." His aesthetic has been compared to the sensibility of the Japanese director Yasujirō Ozu and the Italian Federico Fellini. Ian Buruma, writing in ''The New York Review of Books'' in January 1994, commented: "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." Provided by Wikipedia