Every year for the past three decades, Michael Winterbottom has made a movie. Britain’s most mercurial director may have hopped between genres like a frog on a bouncy castle, but he has stuck to a strict schedule – inspired, apparently, by the subject of his first film, Ingmar Bergman. (Bergman only agreed to the documentary because he was so tickled by the then 25-year-old’s surname. “It’s the one time it’s been a help,” says Winterbottom. “As a child, it wasn’t the easiest.”)
Now, abruptly, that routine has changed. Winterbottom is on sabbatical. To recover, it turns out, from the past six months, spent unsuccessfully haggling over the final cut of his latest film.