Mike Figgis

Mike Figgis Director

Mike Figgis has emerged as a visionary filmmaker who thrives on taking risks. Figgis has roots in experimental theater and music, which are just two primary influences that contribute to the creative vision evident in all of his feature films and documentaries. Although he has been at the helm of such quintessentially mainstream movies as Internal Affairs with Richard Gere, the British-born filmmaker has exhibited his more eclectic personal style in films such as Stormy Monday and Liebestraum.

Born in Carlisle, England, Figgis started playing trumpet and guitar as a teenager with various rock bands, one of which was the R&B group Gas Board, featuring future British pop star Brian Ferry. After moving to London, Figgis studied music for three years and began playing with The People Show, England's foremost avant-garde theater group (the group would later make a cameo appearance in Stormy Monday as the "Krakow Jazz Ensemble"). The People Show made one album for Transatlantic Records, which was produced by Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts.

In 1980, Figgis left The People Show to concentrate on writing and directing theater, and to break into film. He formed his own theater company, The Mike Figgis Group, and began creating multimedia productions, which included an extensive use of film. Some of his earliest projects, including Redhugh 1980, Slow Fade, and Animals of the City, won awards for their innovative blend of live action, music, and film. They caught the eye of England's Channel Four, which financed Figgis's first film, The House, starring Stephen Rea (The Crying Game). Stormy Monday soon followed and marked Figgis's emergence into full-length features. Figgis wrote, directed, and scored the film, which was set in Newcastle's steamy jazz club world and boasted an impressive cast, including Melanie Griffith, Tommy Lee Jones, and Sting. He then made the foray into American films by directing and co-scoring Internal Affairs, starring Richard Gere and Andy Garcia.

In 1996, Figgis achieved international critical acclaim for his film Leaving Las Vegas, starring Nicolas Cage and Elisabeth Shue, which he wrote, directed, and scored. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards, and garnered Nicolas Cage a Best Actor award for his portrayal of the alcoholic screenwriter Ben Sanderson.