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The son of an English diplomat, Roger Michell was born in South Africa and as a child lived in Beirut, Damascus, and Prague. He started directing plays at school before going on to Cambridge. In 1977, he won the Royal Shakespeare Company Buzz Goodbody Award at the National Student Drama Festival as well as a Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh Festival.
He has subsequently directed plays at the National Theatre, the Old Vic, the Lyric Hammersmith, Donmar Warehouse, Hampstead, the Royal Court, the Almeida, in the West End, and on Broadway and elsewhere. For six years, Mr. Michell was resident director at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford and London.
In the early 1990s, he began directing in additional mediums. His work for television includes the award-winning miniseries The Buddha of Suburbia, starring Naveen Andrews, Brenda Blethyn, and Roshan Seth, and marking the first of his many collaborations with writer Hanif Kureishi; documentaries for the BBC; and a number of commercials.
His features as director have included Persuasion, which starred Amanda Root and Ciarán Hinds, for which he shared a BAFTA Award with the creative team; My Night with Reg, adapted by Kevin Elyot from the latter’s play; Titanic Town, for which Julie Walters received an IFTA Award nomination; the smash Notting Hill, starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant, which received the Evening Standard British Film Awards’ Peter Sellers Award for Comedy and for which Mr. Michell won an Empire Award; Changing Lanes, starring Ben Affleck and Prism Award nominee Samuel L. Jackson; The Mother, for which Anne Reid was honored by the London Critics’ Circle Film Awards; Enduring Love, for which Mr. Michell received Directors Guild of Great Britain Award, European Film Award, and British Independent Film Award (BIFA) nominations as Best Director; Venus, for which Leslie Phillips won the BIFA as Best Supporting Actor staring opposite Peter O’Toole; and Morning Glory, starring Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford, and Diane Keaton.
Mr. Michell has directed several productions of plays by Hyde Park on Hudson writer Richard Nelson, including the spring 2012 world premiere staging of Farewell to the Theatre, starring Ben Chaplin, Jemma Redgrave, and William French.