Mike Leigh: Mr Turner 'wouldn't have been half so good' if Johnny Depp had starred

30 October 2014, 15:17 | Updated: 30 October 2014, 15:21

Award-winning director Mike Leigh has cautioned budding film makers they should 'never compromise' in order to get bigger film budgets.

Mike Leigh, director of the new British film Mr. Turner, said that, as Chairman of the London Film School, he's very interested in young filmmakers and that it’s important to stick to your principles.  

“I've been offered far bigger budgets… provided I have an American star in [the film],” he says. “I mean no disrespect to Johnny Depp - or whoever it is - but I don't think Mr. Turner would be half so good if he'd played Mr. Turner.”

The director is talking about his new film and his career on Charlotte Green’s Culture Club on Classic FM, Sunday 2 November at 3pm.

Mr. Turner tells the story of the final 25 years of the life of the great British painter, J.M.W. Turner. Timothy Spall, a regular in Leigh’s repertory company who has appeared in six of the director’s films, took the Best Actor award at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.

Timothy Spall on his love of artistic 'nonsense', Baroque music - and playing Mr. Turner >

Leigh – best-known for such dramas as Abigail’s Party, Life is SweetTopsy-Turvy and Vera Drake – also tells Charlotte Green that new technology has made a profound difference to young people’s ability to create films.

“It's out there,” says Leigh. “People can get hold of a camera and get out there and do it. So the other advice is: get out there and do it!”

He adds: “The cinema of the future is going to be very exciting.”