No matter the era, Mike Leigh’s films are always about "talking, fighting and f**king"


Academy Award-nominated writer and director Mike Leigh opened up on “Salon Talks” about adapting Britain’s infamous 1819 Peterloo massacre into his new feature film, “Peterloo,” in theaters now.

“You could read all the books in the world, everything you like, but that does not make it happen in front of the camera. You've still got to breathe life into it. You've still got to do work that makes the character three-dimensional and believable and real. And part of that, even for the contemporary films, always involve not only just improvising, but character work, discussion, and a great deal of research,” Leigh said.

And while it’s not the first time Leigh has done a historical film, he insists that his main focus remains on the characters and their communication. “What I do is I make films about people doing what they do. And what they do in this film, a substantial part of the time, is express ideas to each other, and that's what it's about,” Leigh said. “For me, people talking is as interesting as people doing things, fighting, f**king, you name it, it's all interesting, basically.”

Watch the full “Salon Talks” episode to hear Leigh’s take on Brexit, which he puts simply “is without question, one of the most unnecessary, stupid, time-wasting, negative, counter-productive, and ridiculous things that has ever happened anywhere.”


About “Salon Talks”

Hosted by Salon journalists, “Salon Talks” episodes offer a fresh take on the long-form interview format, and a much-needed break from the partisan political talking heads that have come to dominate the genre. “Salon Talks” is a destination for information through conversation. Viewers can expect discussions with A-list actors, artists, authors, thinkers, and newsmakers as we explore the full range of the human condition. The show streams live on Facebook and Twitter and each episode is published in full on Salon.com.


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