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20 April 1947|
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England, UK
David Leland (born 20 April 1947) is a director, screenwriter and actor who came to international fame with his directorial debut Wish You Were Here in 1987.
He initially trained as an actor at Central School of Speech and Drama. In 1963 he was part of the breakaway group of Central staff and students who formed Drama Centre London, where he graduated in 1965. After several small parts as actor he began his collaboration with British television director Alan Clarke in 1981. Their film Made in Britain was critically acclaimed and marked the beginning of the career of actor Tim Roth. Made in Britain won the Prix Italia (an international Television award) in 1984. In 1986 he wrote the screenplay for the thriller-drama Mona Lisa, featuring Bob Hoskins. This film was critically acclaimed and Leland earned nominations for the Golden Globe and the Writers Guild of America.
He then wrote Personal Services in 1986. It was directed by Terry Jones and was about Cynthia Payne, a real-life British madam who ran a private brothel. Julie Walters took the leading role. While Personal Services dealt with the adult life of Cynthia Payne, Leland's next film, Wish You Were Here, concerned her teenage years. This film was a success at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival and it made the young British actress Emily Lloyd a star. It was awarded the FIPRESCI-Award at Cannes and the BAFTA for best screenplay.
Leland's next two films, Checking Out (with Jeff Daniels) and The Big Man (with Liam Neeson), failed at the Box Office and with the critics but have since been successful in the private market. In 1997, Leland co-wrote and directed The Land Girls starring Rachel Weisz and Anna Friel and, in 2000, wrote and directed Episode 6 of the enormously successful HBO Miniseries Band of Brothers.
In 2012, Leland joined the Showtime series The Borgias as co-showrunner and executive producer (alongside Neil Jordan, whom he had worked with on 1986's Mona Lisa), writing the last five episodes of its second season and directing its last two episodes. He described his stint as co-showrunner and executive producer as a "hands-on" experience and having to commit to extensive research on the Renaissance.
After the death of his friend George Harrison, Leland was closely involved in the former Beatle's memorial, Concert for George, and directed a cinematic documentary of the night to be put on general release, the DVD of which went platinum. The documentary also won a Grammy Award. His latest project is the Dino De Laurentiis produced Virgin Territory, which is scheduled for a theatrical release in September 2007.
David Leland is married to Sabrina (whom he met in Italy during the shooting of "Decameron") and has five children from his previous marraiage: Chloë (seen in Wish You Were Here and a producer by herself), Abigail (seen in Wish You Were Here), Rosie, Jacob (seen in The Land Girls), and Grace (seen in The Land Girls).
- Big Breadwinner Hog (television series) (1969) as Grange
- Scars of Dracula (1970) as 1st Policeman
- One Brief Summer (1970) as Peter
- The Pied Piper (1972) as Officer
- Gawain and the Green Knight (1973) as Humphrey
- Time Bandits (1981) as Puppeteer
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1981) (television series; episode #4) as Majikthise
- The Missionary (1982) as Long Haired Man at Gin Palace
- The Jewel in the Crown (1984) (television series; season 1, episode #10: An Evening at the Maharanee's) as Captain Purvis
- Personal Services (1987) as Mr. Pilkington
- When Saturday Comes (1996) as Priest
- Made in Britain (Director: Alan Clarke)
- R.H.I.N.O.; Really Here in Name Only (Director: Jane Howell)
- Mona Lisa (Director: Neil Jordan)
- Personal Services (Director: Terry Jones)
- The White River Kid (Director: Arne Glimcher)
- The Borgias (TV series, also executive producer and episode director; creator: Neil Jordan)
- Wish You Were Here (1987)
- Checking Out (1989)
- The Big Man (1990)
- The Land Girls (1998)
- Concert for George (2003)
- Virgin Territory aka Mediaeval Pie (2008)
- Band of Brothers (part No. 6 "Bastogne") (2001)
- The Borgias (episode 9; also writer and executive producer of the series; 2012)
Awards and nominations
- 2005 Grammy Award for best long form music video (Concert for George)
- 2002 Emmy Award for best miniseries (Band of Brothers)
- 2002 Christopher Award for best miniseries (Band of Brothers)
- 1988 BAFTA Award for best screenplay (Wish You Were Here)
- 1987 FIPRESCI Award International Cannes Film Festival (Wish You Were Here)
- 1987 Peter Sellers Award for Comedy (Evening Standard British Film Awards) (Wish You Were Here and Personal Services)
- 1986 Writers Guild of America Nomination (Mona Lisa)
- 1986 Golden Globe Nomination (Mona Lisa)
- Hilary Whitney (2 July 2011). "theartsdesk Q&A: Writer/Director David Leland: The leading film-maker on a career made in Eighties Britain". Retrieved 16 June 2012.
- David Leland at the Internet Movie Database
- David Leland at the British Film Institute's Screenonline
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