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Movie Fact #189 - April 20th, 2021


The 2014 film Mr. Turner, based on the last 25 years of the life of artist J. M. W. Turner, was a labor of love for writer/director Mike Leigh. Known more for his contemporary work, the film was a rare foray into costume drama as, over his then-50-plus years in the business, he had previously only done two other period films (1999's Topsy-Turvy and 2004's Vera Drake). Ultimately, Leigh decided to make the film because he felt "there was scope for a film examining the tension between this very mortal, flawed individual, and the epic work, the spiritual way he had of distilling the world". To make sure the film was historically accurate, he wrote the script with research done by historian Jacqueline Riding. He also demanded this from his cast, particularly Timothy Spall who played the titular character. This is why, at Leigh's request, Spall spent almost two years learning how to paint in preparation for his role. Detail that was well-rewarded as the film was one of the most highly regarded films of 2014 and the 2010's in general. Stay tuned!

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