Mike Leigh: I don't like being told what to do

Mike Leigh: I don't like being told what to do

Mike Leigh doesn't like being told what to do.

The acclaimed filmmaker has admitted he'll happily walk away from a project if he hasn't developed a healthy relationship with the people he's working with.

The 75-year-old director shared: "I'm open to people who are happy for me to do what I do.

"I'm not open to anybody who tries to tell me what to do. I have on many occasions walked away from a project where there's been even the suggestion that, 'Well, we'll back the film so long as there's an American star in it.' Walk away."

Mike feel it's important he's given the freedom to create his films in the way he initially imagined.

And if he does start to witness interference from outside influences, he has no qualms about turning his back on a movie.

The 'Vera Drake' director told the Observer newspaper: "I have [walked away] on a number of occasions. It's like a novelist being told what the novel should have in it. Or a painter being told, 'It must include a lighthouse.' And that's the polite version."

Mike's films have always tended to focus on contemporary issues, and he's admitted to being particularly inspired by the 1959 movie 'Room at the Top', which was set in a town in northern England.

He explained: "Now when I saw it, which was in a local cinema in north Salford, what was exciting about it was if you walked out of the cinema into the street, it was the same world as was in the pictures.

"I'd spent all of that time up till then sitting as a kid thinking, 'Wouldn't it be great if you could have a film where the characters in the film were like real people?'"