Mike Figgis

Director, Screenwriter, Composer
With his roots in experimental theater and music, it is perhaps surprising that Kenyan-born writer-director Mike Figgis started out as such a conventional filmmaker, but his dissatisfaction with the Hollywood studio ... Read more »
Born: 02/28/1948 in Kenya

Filmography

Director (25)

The Battle of Orgreave 2014 (Movie)

(Director)

The Co(te)lette Film 2014 (Movie)

(Director)

The House 2014 (Movie)

(Director)

Suspension of Disbelief 2013 (Movie)

(Director)

Canterbury's Law 2008 (Tv Show)

Director

Love Live Long 2007 (Movie)

(Director)

Coma 2006 (Movie)

(Director)

Cold Creek Manor 2003 (Movie)

(Director)

Hotel 2003 (Movie)

(Director)

The Blues 2003 (Tv Show)

Director

Ten Minutes Older: The Cello 2002 (Movie)

("About Time 2") (Director)

Timecode 2000 (Movie)

(Director)

Miss Julie 1999 (Movie)

(Director)

The Loss of Sexual Innocence 1999 (Movie)

(Director)

Flamenco Women 1998 (Movie)

(Director)

Just Dancing Around 1998 (Movie)

(Director)

One Night Stand 1997 (Movie)

(Director)

Leaving Las Vegas 1995 (Movie)

(Director)

The Browning Version 1994 (Movie)

(Director)

Mr. Jones 1993 (Movie)

(Director)

Liebestraum 1991 (Movie)

(Director)

Women & Men II 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Director

Internal Affairs 1990 (Movie)

(Director)

Stormy Monday 1988 (Movie)

(Director)
Music (15)

Love Live Long 2007 (Movie)

(Original Music)

Cold Creek Manor 2003 (Movie)

(Original Score)

Hotel 2003 (Movie)

Guitar (Music)

Hotel 2003 (Movie)

(Composer)

Timecode 2000 (Movie)

(Music)

Miss Julie 1999 (Movie)

(Music)

The Loss of Sexual Innocence 1999 (Movie)

trumpet player Trumpet (Performer)

The Loss of Sexual Innocence 1999 (Movie)

(Music Producer)

The Loss of Sexual Innocence 1999 (Movie)

(Music)

One Night Stand 1997 (Movie)

original music production (Original Music)

One Night Stand 1997 (Movie)

(Music)

Leaving Las Vegas 1995 (Movie)

(Original Score)

Leaving Las Vegas 1995 (Movie)

featured musician(trumpet/keyboards) (Music)

Liebestraum 1991 (Movie)

(Music)

Internal Affairs 1990 (Movie)

(Music)
Writer (12)

The Battle of Orgreave 2014 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Co(te)lette Film 2014 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Suspension of Disbelief 2013 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Love Live Long 2007 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Hotel 2003 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Timecode 2000 (Movie)

(From Story)

Timecode 2000 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Loss of Sexual Innocence 1999 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

One Night Stand 1997 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Leaving Las Vegas 1995 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Liebestraum 1991 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Stormy Monday 1988 (Movie)

(Screenplay)
Producer (10)

Sleep Furiously 2011 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Kimjongilia 2010 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Love Live Long 2007 (Movie)

(Producer)

Cold Creek Manor 2003 (Movie)

(Producer)

Hotel 2003 (Movie)

(Producer)

Timecode 2000 (Movie)

(Producer)

Miss Julie 1999 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Loss of Sexual Innocence 1999 (Movie)

(Producer)

One Night Stand 1997 (Movie)

(Producer)

Foxfire 1996 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)
Actor (7)

Take a Number 2001 (Movie)

(cameo appearance) (Actor)

One Night Stand 1997 (Movie)

Hotel Clerk (Actor)

Leaving Las Vegas 1995 (Movie)

Mobster No 1 (Actor)

Internal Affairs 1990 (Movie)

Hollander (Actor)
Camera, Film, & Tape (5)

Love Live Long 2007 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Hotel 2003 (Movie)

Digital Camera Rig Designer (Camera)

Hotel 2003 (Movie)

(Camera Operator)

Timecode 2000 (Movie)

(Camera Operator)

Timecode 2000 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Biography

With his roots in experimental theater and music, it is perhaps surprising that Kenyan-born writer-director Mike Figgis started out as such a conventional filmmaker, but his dissatisfaction with the Hollywood studio system eventually led to his true calling as one of the most innovative auteurs working in contemporary cinema. After studying music in London, he became a member of Gas Board, an English rhythm-and-blues band (which also featured a pre-fame Bryan Ferry), and later went on tour for nearly a decade with an experimental theater group The People Show first as a musician, then also as an actor. Undaunted by his unsuccessful application to London's National Film School, Figgis began writing and directing his own stage productions, visually striking works like "Redheugh", "Slow Fade" and "Animals of the City", which combined music with filmed segments and live performance. He developed "Slow Fade" into a one-hour piece ("The House") for Britain's Channel 4, capturing the attention of producer David Puttnam, for whom he wrote a treatment that would become his feature writing-directing debut, "Stormy Monday" (1988)".

Relationships

Saffron Burrows Actor

Companion
born c. 1973 directed by Figgis in "One Night Stand" (1997), "The Loss of Sexual Innocence" and "Miss Julie" (both 1999) and "Time Code" (2000)

Bienchen Figgis

Wife
no longer together

Louis Figgis

Son
born c 1980 also named for Armstrong mother, Bienchen Figis

Louis Figgis

Son
born c 1975 named after Louis Armstrong and Harold Arlen Figgis' oldest child mother, Bienchen Figgis

EDUCATION

studied music in London

Milestones

2000

Produced, scripted and directed "Time Code", in which four digital video cameras were employed to capture different perspectives; shot in sequence in real time entirely with hand-held cameras over the course of one day; has the distinction of being the fi

1999

Helmed two 50-minute documentaries ("Flamenco Women" and "Just Dancing Around"); screened at NYC's Anthology Film Archives as "Two Dance Videotapes by Mike Figgis"

1999

Produced, directed and wrote music for film adaptation of August Strindberg's "Miss Julie"; shot on 16mm in 16 days with two hand-held cameras on one set; used split-screen technique for the love scene, prefiguring his innovative four camera point-of-view

1999

Rejected linear narrative form to tell "The Loss of Sexual Innocence"; directed, scripted, wrote music and played trumpet

1998

Signed an exclusive two-year production deal with Columbia Pictures

1997

Produced, directed, wrote screenplay and music for "One Night Stand"; also appeared as Hotel Clerk and credited as trumpet player

1996

Executive produced Annette Haywood-Carter's "Foxfire"

1995

Received widespread acclaim and two Oscar nominations for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay for "Leaving Las Vegas"; also wrote original score and played Mobster No 1; featured as musician (trumpet and keyboards) on soundtrack

1994

Helmed remake of "The Browning Version"

1993

Clashed with producer Ray Stark over the final cut of "Mr. Jones", which reteamed him with Gere; this dark look at mental illness became a love story set in a hospital for the mentally ill, though executives at Tri-Star insisted that the movie was always

1991

Directed and wrote screenplay and composed music for the psychological erotic drama "Liebestraum"

1991

Helmed, scripted and wrote music for "Mara" segment of HBO's "Women & Men II"

1990

Helmed "Internal Affairs", starring Richard Gere; also co-wrote music, received credit as a musician and acted in film in the part of Hollander

1988

Feature writing and directing debut, the jazz-infused noir "Stormy Monday"; also wrote music

1980

Left The People Show to concentrate on writing and directing for film and the theater

1957

Moved to Newcastle, England at the age of eight

Toured with experimental theater group, The People Show, in 1970s; joined as a musician but was soon acting

Recorded with a band produced by Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stones

Performed with R&B group, Gas Board which also included Bryan Ferry

Commissioned by Channel 4 to write and direct

Toured the major European capitals; won various European theatrical awards

First TV-movie as director, "The House", adapted from the performance piece "Slow Fade"

Made 15-minute 16mm short film "Redheugh"; followed with stage productions "Slow Fade" and "Animals of the City" which combined music and film with live action

Taught film part-time at London Polytechnic

Bonus Trivia

.

"I was in pre-production on the film ["Leaving Las Vegas"] when I got a call that John [O'Brien, author of the source material] had committed suicide. Obviously, I was quite upset and considered not making the film, but eventually I decided that John wrote a great book, and the most I could do for him was to go ahead and make the film." --Mike Figgis to the Los Angeles Times, October 29, 1995

.

On the nightmare of "Mr. Jones": "I've never experienced anything so degrading, so humiliating, so completely lacking in respect. Had it been anywhere but a film studio, people would have been on the floor bleeding." --Figgis quoted in The New York Times, November 1, 1995

.

"I'm not disgusted with working with Hollywood, just realistic . . . The problem isn't Hollywood or the independent market--it's about how much money you're expecting to earn. There's the potential for a successful director to earn between $1 million and $7 million per film . . . So directors coming out of film schools or commercials or going to Hollywood having made a moderately successful British film have in their minds the mathematical possibility of becoming a very rich person very quickly. It's the oldest temptation in the book. How hard is it to say no to that? How easy is it to delude yourself you're doing good work in the studio system?"The answer is, why bother? If you want to do good work . . . as the 'Dogma' people have also proved, you can make a film for virtually nothing if you're passionately interested in film-making as opposed to passionately interested in becoming a rich film-maker . . ." --Figgis quoted in Sight and Sound, May 1999

.

About working in Hollywood: "It was something I was excited to fall into because I was suddenly in a position of such power, and I was suddenly earning such money and meeting world-famous actors on a casual basis. And it feels terribly cool. You start regarding yourself as a very special individual. But then at a certain point you suddenly feel: 'I am so frustrated and bored by this', and you see the British people who have gone there and become so homogenised. And I guess I had a fear of that."Hollywood destroys people and ages people and throws them out on a weekly basis." --Figgis quoted in The Guardian, January 8, 2000

.

"I have a theory that film has replaced religion, because it's projected in temples, basically, and seems the ultimate corruption of a pure religious ideal in that it's about excessive sensuality on a cheap level . . . My hope is that these new [technical] developments will dignify the temple and turn film into an amateur thing. The idea that anyone can make a movie is healthy. You don't have to have a mark from God." --Figgis in The Guardian, January 8, 2000

.

"I prefer small films and rarely get excited by big expensive films. I feel shut out of big films, as if I am not being asked to participate in the event. It would be true to say that I feel the same about big theatre and big music. There comes a point where you know you are being manipulated by tricks rather than connecting with emotions and ideas and truths. It is much harder to tell the truth to a lot of people than a few. Glenn Gould retreated to the recording studio rather than play the big concert halls. It is a bald fact that bigger means more expensive to produce--as soon as you cross that line, you have to make compromises."

.

" . . . the biggest problem with studio films is that they are not good enough any more. And the reason they are not good enough is because they cannot trust the individual vision of the film-maker. There is simply too much money at stake. An interesting date is the day 'Fatal Attraction' was tested in front of an invited audience. As a result of the test the ending was re-shot amd the film was a huge hit. This proved . . . whatever the studio wanted it to prove. The theory now is that any film can be fixed by spending money on it. And very few execs will have the courage to back a film that is not right in the middle of the taste-buds of an average audience. It is far simpler to say no to an idea than to say yes to an idea." --Figgis quoted in The Guardian, February 25, 2000

.

"I never wanted to be an epic filmmaker. I never get jealous when I see hugely extravagant vistas and all that. It's like a different world to me. I like it very, very simple--where all the focus goes into the psychology of the acting." --Figgis to the Chicago Sun-Times, March 6, 2000

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