David Leland Estate


Represented By

Jenne Casarotto — Film & TV


Executive Assistant - Nigel Fullerton


Assistant - Amhara Chamberlayne


Mel Kenyon — Theatre

Head of Department


Executive Assistant - Zephy Losey


Leland initially trained as an actor at the Central Speech of School and Drama and appeared in multiple credits before moving into stage management and direction at the Crucible Theatre. Here, Leland collaborated with and helped inspire emerging talent such as Michael Palin and Terry Jones, directing the world premiere of ‘Their Finest Hours’. He recognised the writing and performing genius of an as-of-yet undiscovered Victoria Wood, who wrote her first play, ‘Talent’ for Leland to direct.

He also gave Pierce Brosnan his first opportunity to act on stage in the British premiere of Tennessee Williams’ ‘The Red Devil Battery Sign’ at The Round House, which Leland directed.

A long screenwriting career followed in both television and film, including the cult classic ‘Made in Britain’ (1982) directed by Alan Clarke and starring Tim Roth, which won the Prix Italia, ‘Birth of a Nation’ (1983) directed by Mike Newell, and Neil Jordan’s ‘Mona Lisa’ (1986), starring a BAFTA-winning performance by Bob Hoskins. The film also received Academy, Golden Globe, and Writers Guild of America Award nominations.

Leland wrote two films about the British suburban madam Cynthia Payne: the BAFTA-nominated ‘Personal Services’ (1987) directed by Terry Jones and starring Julie Walters, and ‘Wish You Were Here’ (1987), which marked Leland’s directorial debut and starred Emily Lloyd as a younger Cynthia. Leland won the BAFTA for Best Original Screenplay, and the film also won the FIPRESCI prize at the Cannes Film Festival. His later films as a director include ‘The Big Man’ (1990) starring Liam Neeson, and ‘Land Girls’ (1998) starring Rachel Weisz, which Leland also co-wrote. A passionate and life-long music-lover, particularly blues and jazz, Leland returned to the theatre in 1991 to direct the successful stage musical ‘A Tribute to the Blues Brothers’, which played in the West End of London and then toured for ten years across the UK and Australia.

Since his early days, Leland has worked extensively for television. He directed the episode Bastogne for HBO’s landmark miniseries, ‘Band of Brothers’ (2001), receiving an Emmy Award for his direction, and contributed as both a director and writer to Showtime’s ‘The Borgias’, starring Jeremy Irons. Leland returned as joint showrunner for the second series.

Leland was a close friend of George Harrison, with whom he worked on several occasions, chiefly as director on ‘Checking Out’ (1988) starring Jeff Daniels (which Harrison produced through HandMade Films) and as director for several Traveling Wilburys music videos including ‘Handle With Care’. Leland also directed the music video to Tom Petty’s ‘I Won’t Back Down’ (which also featured George Harrison and Ringo Starr), and Sir Paul McCartney’s ‘Brown Eyed Handsome Man’.

Following George Harrison’s untimely passing, Leland directed the cinematic documentary ‘Concert For George’ (2003), a memorial concert event which took place at the Royal Albert Hall, featuring the remaining Beatles: Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, as well as Eric Clapton, Tom Petty, and many others. Leland won a GRAMMY® Award for the cinematic documentary, and the DVD subsequently went platinum eight times over.

BBC radio interview: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programm...