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Topsy-Turvy (1999)

Mike Leigh

Born in Salford, Manchester, in 1943, Mike Leigh has developed a unique method of creating films through controlled improvisations. After his debut Bleak Moments (1971) he made a succession of admired TV plays, including Abigail's Party and Nuts in May. He then returned to feature films: High Hopes (1988), Life is Sweet (1990), Naked (1993). Secrets and Lies won the Palme d'Or at Cannes in 1996. Topsy-Turvy (1999) won two Oscars. All or Nothing followed in 2002. Since then he has made the Oscar-nominated Vera Drake (2004), which won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, Happy-Go-Lucky (2008) and Another Year (2010). He also did Two Thousand Years for the National Theatre in 2005. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

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Amy Raphael

Amy Raphael was born in London in 1967. She has worked on The Face, NME, Elle and Esquire and now freelances for the Guardian, the Observer and The Times. Her first book, Never Mind the Bollocks: Women Rewrite Rock, was published by Virago in 1995. She conducted the conversations and edited Mike Leigh on Mike Leigh, which was published by Faber in 2008. She has also contributed to the The Rolling Stone Book of Women in Rock and Perfect Pitch, a series of books about football. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

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Mike Leigh on Mike Leigh

Faber and Faber, 2008

Book chapter

...London, January 1884. Writer W. S. Gilbert ( Jim Broadbent) and composer Sir Arthur Sullivan ( Allan Corduner) have enjoyed ten hit operas in a row. Their comic operas, produced by impresario Richard D’Oyly Carte (Ron Cook),...

Embodiment (the actor’s work)

Sally Potter

Sally Potter is the award-winning writer/director of The Goldiggers, Orlando, The Tango Lesson, The Man Who Cried, Yes, Rage, and Ginger and Rosa. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

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Naked Cinema : Working with Actors

Faber & Faber, 2014

Book chapter

...Actors are what most people ‘see’ in a film. Audiences don’t look at the camera-work, the sets, the lighting, the design, the structure of the story – any of the multiple cinematic choices that the writer, the director and his or her team...

Rehearsals (why, not how)

Sally Potter

Sally Potter is the award-winning writer/director of The Goldiggers, Orlando, The Tango Lesson, The Man Who Cried, Yes, Rage, and Ginger and Rosa. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

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Naked Cinema : Working with Actors

Faber & Faber, 2014

Book chapter

...In film-making a formal rehearsal period is a luxury (unlike theatre, where it is thought of as an absolute necessity). In some cases the first time you work with an actor may be on the set. And some directors may favour this way...

Performing being a director (your work goes public)

Sally Potter

Sally Potter is the award-winning writer/director of The Goldiggers, Orlando, The Tango Lesson, The Man Who Cried, Yes, Rage, and Ginger and Rosa. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

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Naked Cinema : Working with Actors

Faber & Faber, 2014

Book chapter

...A lot of directors – even quite experienced ones – are secretly afraid of how they will appear to the crew and to the actors. They walk onto the set anxious that their own performance – that of being a director – is not going to be up...

Afterword

Sally Potter

Sally Potter is the award-winning writer/director of The Goldiggers, Orlando, The Tango Lesson, The Man Who Cried, Yes, Rage, and Ginger and Rosa. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

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Naked Cinema : Working with Actors

Faber & Faber, 2014

Book chapter

...Talking with the actors I have worked with on such different films felt like bringing them together into one space, a space flooded with the strong working memories that lead to a very particular form of mutual affection. I relished...

What to do with a diva (what it means when an actor ‘acts out’)

Sally Potter

Sally Potter is the award-winning writer/director of The Goldiggers, Orlando, The Tango Lesson, The Man Who Cried, Yes, Rage, and Ginger and Rosa. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

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Naked Cinema : Working with Actors

Faber & Faber, 2014

Book chapter

...I have learned over the years to recognise signs of apparent ‘breakdown’ in actors (i.e. tears, rage, etc.) as the necessary consequence of an attempt to move beyond personal limits. By shedding the defence mechanisms that contribute...

Finding the ‘look’ (hair, make-up and costume)

Sally Potter

Sally Potter is the award-winning writer/director of The Goldiggers, Orlando, The Tango Lesson, The Man Who Cried, Yes, Rage, and Ginger and Rosa. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

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Naked Cinema : Working with Actors

Faber & Faber, 2014

Book chapter

...Appearance is mysterious. In the surface of things we can find both truth and lies; appearance can reveal or it can camouflage. The way someone looks, including what they wear, contains a wealth of detailed information that cannot...

Looking for happiness on set (an unreliable goal?)

Sally Potter

Sally Potter is the award-winning writer/director of The Goldiggers, Orlando, The Tango Lesson, The Man Who Cried, Yes, Rage, and Ginger and Rosa. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

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Naked Cinema : Working with Actors

Faber & Faber, 2014

Book chapter

...A film shoot, however exhilarating it may be, is often also a stressful, exhausting process for everyone concerned. The constant pressure of time – as time costs money – means little sleep and no rest. What I’ve come to realise...

Money (and other exchanges)

Sally Potter

Sally Potter is the award-winning writer/director of The Goldiggers, Orlando, The Tango Lesson, The Man Who Cried, Yes, Rage, and Ginger and Rosa. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

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Naked Cinema : Working with Actors

Faber & Faber, 2014

Book chapter

...Once the casting choices have been made in principle, the producers start to work on the deals with the actors’ agents. At this point, the distorting demon of money starts to come into play, too. Money is a live issue at every stage...

Casting (crossing the magic line)

Sally Potter

Sally Potter is the award-winning writer/director of The Goldiggers, Orlando, The Tango Lesson, The Man Who Cried, Yes, Rage, and Ginger and Rosa. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

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Naked Cinema : Working with Actors

Faber & Faber, 2014

Book chapter

...Here, and throughout this book, I am assuming that the choice of cast (and all other ‘creative’ decisions) ultimately rests with the director. This assumption is based on the largely European tradition of director-driven film-making...