British director Mike Leigh’s films evolve from a unique and remarkable collaborative process. The actors spend months on rehearsal, story development, dialogue, and discovering the emotional truth underlying the drama. Although often described as documentary-like and naturalistic, Leigh’s films are highly crafted, precisely detailed, and deeply stylized. All or Nothing, starring Leigh’s frequent collaborators Timothy Spall and Lesley Manville, was a return to the contemporary working-class milieu of Leigh’s earlier films following the success of the period costume drama Topsy-Turvy. In this discussion just before the film’s New York premiere, Leigh, Spall, and Manville elaborate on their creative process.
Discussions with creative figures in film, television, and digital media—formerly the Pinewood Dialogues—made possible with a generous grant from the Pannonia Foundation.