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Michell at the premiere of Hyde Park on Hudson, Toronto Film Festival 2012
|Born||5 June 1956|
Pretoria, South Africa
(m. 19; div. 2002)
Anna Maxwell Martin
Roger Michell (born 5 June 1956) is a British theatre, television and film director.
Although Michell was born in Pretoria, South Africa, he is British. His father was an English diplomat. He spent significant parts of his childhood in Beirut, Damascus and Prague. He was educated at Clifton College in Bristol, where he began directing and writing short plays. He then studied at Queens' College, Cambridge and in 1977, won both the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company Buzz Goodbody Award (named after the acclaimed British female director Buzz Goodbody, who committed suicide at the age of 29) and a Fringe First at the Edinburgh Festival for his production of Private Dick, a play about Raymond Chandler which he co-write with Richard Maher.
Michell graduated from Cambridge in 1977.
Michell was married to the actress Kate Buffery, but they are now divorced. They have two children, Rosie and son Harry. His wife is now Anna Maxwell Martin, with whom he has two daughters named Maggie and Sparrow.
After graduating from Cambridge in 1977, Michell moved to London and began an apprenticeship at the Royal Court Theatre and where he worked as assistant director to noted British playwright John Osborne and Irish playwright Samuel Beckett. During this period, he also worked with Max Stafford Clark, Simon Curtis, Hanif Kureishi and, as a stage-manager, Danny Boyle.
In 1979 he left the Royal Court Theatre and began writing and directing projects on his own. The most successful of these ventures was 1982's Private Dick a comedy which won the Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh Festival. The play later debuted in London's West End and featured Robert Powell as Philip Marlowe.
In 1985, Michell joined the Royal Shakespeare Company where, over six years, as a resident director, he directed plays by Shakespeare, Havel, Nelson, Bond, Farquhar, Darke, and others. He also directed Some Americans Abroad, which transferred to Broadway in 1990.
In 1993, he directed the acclaimed BBC miniseries adaptation of Hanif Kureishi's autobiographical novel The Buddha of Suburbia, starring Naveen Andrews. He followed that with the BBC film Persuasion in 1995 which won the 1995 BAFTA for Best Single Drama.,The film was released in theatres in America to great success. Michell then directed My Night with Reg (1997) and Titanic Town (1998).
Michell was chosen by Richard Curtis to direct his script Notting Hill, which ended up becoming one of the highest grossing British movies of all time on its release in 1999. At the end of that film, Julia Roberts's character is seen relaxing on a park bench and sitting next to her Hugh Grant is reading the novel Captain Corelli's Mandolin. This is a little in-joke, as it was to be Michell's next film for the same company, Working Title Films. However he had a health scare, which required him to pull out and be replaced by John Madden.
He then directed the 2002 box office hit Changing Lanes starring Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson. In 2003, he directed The Mother, written by Hanif Kureishi and starring Daniel Craig. Craig also starred in Michell's next film, Enduring Love (2004), an adaptation of Ian McEwan's novel. Michell then directed Peter O'Toole to an Oscar nomination in 2006's Venus, again written by Kureishi.
Michell was in negotiations to work with Craig yet again in 2006 and direct the James Bond film Quantum of Solace, but these talks fell through due to "creative differences". Michell later expanded that he reached "tipping point" with producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson who were "desperate" to release the film in 2007, despite the lack of a script, which "freaked" Michell out causing him to leave the project. The producers eventually put the film back a year with Marc Forster at the helm.
He continues to work in theatre, with some of his more recent productions including Patrick Hamilton's Rope at the Almeida in 2009, Nina Raine's Tribes at the Royal Court in 2010, and Richard Nelson's Farewell to the Theatre at Hampstead Theatre in 2012.