Mike Nichols, legendary director of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Graduate and, lest we forget, The Birdcage, passed away little more than a year ago, but a documentary exploring his life is already coming down the pipeline. Becoming Mike Nichols, which features in-depth interviews of Nichols as conducted by friend and theater director Jack O’Brien, will air on HBO on February 22. (It will subsequently be added to HBO Go and HBO Now.) It’ll have its proper premiere in January at Sundance, though.
In the film, Nichols talks about his entire life, from the time his family escaped from Nazi Germany to his time at the University of Chicago. Nichols spoke of his time performing improv with longtime collaborator Elaine May as part of the duo Nichols and May, and how his ability to be spontaneous later informed his style of directing.
“Not naming something, not deciding what to do, being brave and going out empty is the only way. And it’s both terrifying and thrilling. And what I didn’t know is that it applies to directing, too.”
The interviews took place at the Golden Theater over two days in the summer of 2014. It’s being executive-produced by Frank Rich of New York magazine, among others.