British film directors Christopher Nolan, Mike Leigh and Ken Loach reveal how art inspires their work in our new video series Film meets Art. Meet the filmmakers with Tate’s Creative Director, Jane Burton

Christopher Nolan, Mike Leigh, Ken Loach Tate Britian

Three great British directors, Christopher Nolan, Mike Leigh and Ken Loach explore the relationship between filmmaking and painting for our new video series. Find out which artist inspired the Joker’s smeared make-up in The Dark Knight, how Turner’s sketches are being brought to the big screen, and what the camera can learn from Hogarth. 

How the Joker got his smile

The Joker, played by Heath Ledger in the film The Dark Knight, has to be one of the most chilling villains to have emerged from comic books onto the screen. When I interviewed Christopher Nolan in Los Angeles, he showed me how he’d used paintings by Francis Bacon as the source reference for the Joker’s make-up, and told me why, when words can’t adequately convey an idea, he often turns to art to help shape his creative vision.

Bringing Turner to life

For Mike Leigh, JMW Turner has always been an art hero. Taking time out from shooting his new feature about Turner’s life and work, he visited Tate Britain to look at some of Turner’s sketches in detail, and explained how he is painstakingly recreating some of the scenes in them for the cinema.

What Hogarth knew about people

Ken Loach is known for his social realist directing style, so it’s no surprise that he’s an admirer of William Hogarth’s down-to-earth portraits and satires. Loach is currently completing what may be his last feature film, Jimmy’s Hall, a period drama set in 1930’s Ireland. Walking around the gallery at Tate Britain, he talks about what he’s learnt from Hogarth, and why, as an artist or filmmaker, you need to be an outsider.

These films are part of a series in which leading creatives choose artworks from Tate Britain’s collection that have inspired them. Watch them all on our website, and let us know how the collection has inspired you.