Over his 21-film career, writer/director Mike Leigh has been celebrated with seven Oscar nominations, and four BAFTA award wins. His films include Vera Drake, Secrets and Lies, and Happy-Go-Lucky. His movies uniquely focus on working class characters, their struggles and tensions with the upper class. Leigh’s latest film Peterloo is no different.
Based on a historical event, Peterloo takes us back to Manchester, England, in 1819. The Industrial Revolution is sweeping the country, but the working poor don’t have the right to vote, meaning they get zero representation in government. Those who do make the laws are landowners and the laws serve their interests. But, as disenfranchised people often do, they stage a peaceful protest that leads to a real-life bloodbath called the Peterloo Massacre.
I sat down with Leigh not only to talk about Peterloo, but also his distinctive writing process that doesn’t begin with a script. Take a listen as he details his unusual writing process, shares what it’s like working with Amazon Studios (who produced the film), and gives his thoughts on Brexit.
Listen to the podcast below.
Shanee Edwards graduated from UCLA Film School with an MFA in Screenwriting and is currently the film critic for SheKnows.com. She recently won the Next MacGyver television writing competition to create a TV show about a female engineer. Her pilot, Ada and the Machine, is currently in development with America Ferrera’s Take Fountain Productions. You can follow her on Twitter: @ShaneeEdwards
Photo credit: AWAKENING/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK