Mike Figgis is getting good reviews for his latest movie, Timecode. Two other British writer-directors with confusingly similar names–Mike Leigh and Michael Apted–have also made movie headlines recently. Which one’s which?
Mike Figgis, who’s 52, is best known for writing and directing Leaving Las Vegas (1995), which earned him Oscar nominations for Best Director and Best Screenplay (he didn’t win). Among his other credits are One Night Stand (1997), starring Wesley Snipes and Nastassja Kinski, and Internal Affairs (1990), with Richard Gere and Andy Garcia. Figgis was once in a rhythm and blues band called Gas Board, along with the singer Bryan Ferry.
Mike Leigh, who’s 57, is a favorite with the art house crowd. In 1996 he wrote and directed Secrets and Lies, which earned him Oscar nominations for Best Director and Best Screenplay (he didn’t win either). His other films include Naked (1993), 1990’s Life Is Sweet (not to be confused with Robert Benigni’s Life Is Beautiful), and last year’s Topsy Turvy, about the songwriting team Gilbert and Sullivan.
Michael Apted, who’s 59, is best-known for directing the 7 Up series of documentaries, which follow a group of Brits from the time they were 7 years old. The latest entry is 42 Up. He has also directed several Hollywood pictures, such as last year’s James Bond movie, The World Is Not Enough; Gorillas in the Mist (1988), with Sigourney Weaver; and Nell (1994), starring Jodie Foster. Apted has never been nominated for an Oscar, and to Explainer’s knowledge, he has never played in a band with Bryan Ferry.