actor, composer, writer, producer and cinematographer
The Browning Version
One Night Stand
Cold Creek Manor
Loss of Sexual Innocence
Figgis welcomes a new century of bold, experimental filmmaking with
Time Code, a digital video feature film production featuring four
stories running simultaneously in real time, with no editing.
Figgis has emerged as a visionary filmmaker who thrives on taking
risks. Figgis has roots in experimental theatre and music, which are
just two primary influences that contribute to the creative vision
in all of his feature films and documentaries. Although he has been
at the helm of such mainstream movies as Internal Affairs with Richard
Gere , the British born filmmaker has exhibited his more eclectic
personal style in such films as Stormy Monday and Liebestraum.
Born in Carlisle, England, Figgis moved to Nairobi, Kenya as a baby.
He lived there until his family relocated to Newcastle in the north
of England when he was eight. As a teenager, he started playing trumpet
and guitar with various rock and roll bands, one of which was the
R&B group Gas Board , featuring British pop star Brian Ferry.
Moving to London, Figgis studied music for three years and began playing
with The People Show (the group would later make a cameo appearance
in Stormy Monday as the Krakow Jazz Ensemble). The People Band made
one album for Transatlantic Records, this being produced by Rolling
Stone drummer Charlie Watts.
In 1980, Figgis left The People Show to concentrate on writing and
directing theatre, as well as to break into film. He formed his own
theatre company, The Mike Figgis Group , and began creating multi-media
productions, which included 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 with music and
film. This first caught the eye of England's Channel Four, which then
financed Figgis' first film, The House, which starred Steven Rea (The
Stormy Monday was Figgis' next film that marked his emergence into
full-length features. Figgis wrote, directed and scored the movie
that 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 an impressive entrance into American films by directing
and co-scoring Internal Affairs, starring Richard Gere and Andy Garcia
Kim Novak came out of early retirement to star in Figgis's next film,
Liebestraum, a dark thriller written, directed and scored by Figgis.
He then went on to direct Mr. Jones, pairing Richard Gere and Lena
Olin , and The Browning Version starring Albert Finney and Greta Scacchi
. In addition, Figgis wrote and directed the HBO film Mara, based
on Henry Miller's short story, starring Juliet Binoche and Scott Glenn
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 Nicolas Cage won Best Actor for his portrayal of the alcoholic
screenwriter Ben Sanderson.
In the same year Figgis wrote, directed and scored another film, One
Night Stand, that has been released internationally. The film, starring
Wesley Snipes ,Nastassja Kinski and Robert Downey Jr. has received
a great deal of international attention and won Wesley Snipes Best
Actor at the Venice Film Festival.
Figgis has also directed documentaries on English fashion designer
Vivienne Westwood and on avant-garde ballet choreographer William
Forsythe for Channel 4 in England. Figgis's last documentary Flamenco
Women, shot in Madrid, was broadcast on Channel 4 last April and Dutch
broadcaster VPRO in December 1997.
His next film, The Loss of Sexual Innocence, premiered at the Sundance
Film Festival and stars Julian Sands ,Saffron Burrows ,Stefano Dionisi
and Kelly MacDonald . The film was also selected for the Berlin Film
Festival. His most recent film, Miss Julie, is a spare, minimalist,
emotionally provocative adaptation of August Strindberg's classic
play of social and sexual tensions. Starring Saffron Burrowns and
Peter Mullan , the film features hand-held 16mm photography and the
split-screen technique that inspired the creation of Time Code.
Figgis has also recently turned his talents to the publishing world
with Projections 10 – Hollywood Filmmakers on Filmmaking, a
series of real conversations with actors, directors, writers, managers
and agents that probe the workings and mores of the Hollywood system
and its driving monetary forces. The rare collection includes Figgis's
interviews with Mel Gibson ,Jodie Foster , Michael de Luca, Mickey
Rourke ,Salma Hayek ,Paul Thomas Anderson and many others.
Those interviews and others are also featured in Figgis's Hollywood
Conversations , a 20-part television series for England's Channel
Four, independently financed by Figgis.