Mr Turner director Mike Leigh says Hollywood actors like Tom Cruise 'play themselves'

He said films should depict 'real people out there in the real world'

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Mike Leigh has said that Hollywood stars such as Tom Cruise simply “play themselves” in films.

The director, whose latest offering sees Timothy Spall take on the role of great British painter JMW Turner, said that high-profile actors are not relatable.

“You cannot fault Tom Cruise as a regular professional – no disrespect to him – but it is a) not remotely interesting, and b) it is not as interesting as anybody you can find walking up and down Berwick Street,” Leigh told the Huffington Post.

He added that for him, movies should be about “real people out there in the real world” because that is what “turns audiences on”.

Leigh said: “If you get off on watching Tom Cruise, it’s a kind of fantasy thing, whereas if you get off on watching my stuff, it’s because you can relate to it in some way.”


Leigh who is renowned for directing without a script, has previously taken the helm of films including Secrets and Lies, Topsy-Turvy and Life is Sweet.

He said he decided to make a biopic about Turner because “it just seemed like a really good character, and the tension between the sublime art and grubby bloke seemed to invite a film”.

Spall spent years learning to paint for his role in Mr Turner and his depiction of the eccentric artist won him the Best Actor Award at the Cannes Film Festival.

The film focuses of the last 25 years of the painter’s life and The Independent’s critic found the character to be "a grunting, walrus-like figure with a hint of Charles Dickens' Sam Weller about him".

Mr Turner is now showing in UK cinemas.