Michael Keillor

Writer/Director

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Film, TV & Theatre

Agent: Michelle Archer
Assistant: Grace Baxter

Film, TV & Theatre

Michael’s passion for bold and ambitious projects has drawn him to work with a talented mix of writers who share his appetite for pushing boundaries while entertaining audiences. 

Most recently Michael directed David Hare’s four-part political drama ROADKILL, which captured the world-weary mood of 2020, charting the rise of a corrupt and self-serving politician played with ruthless charisma and impeccable charm by Hugh Laurie.

“Peter Laurence may be a well-meaning, if destructively narcissistic, politician with a libertarian bent; he may be a soulless monster who doesn’t care about the bodies he leaves behind, perhaps literally, as he claws his way up the government. Laurie’s guarded, superbly understated performance keeps alive to the last moment the possibility that either, or both, might be true."

 Mike Hale, New York Times

Michael first stepped onto a film set after finishing law school, learning his craft on the floor, before building on this experience directing ads, pop promos and shorts films, graduating to continuing drama and then a string of hit shows including LINE OF DUTY. Kicking off the third season of the multi award-winning anti-corruption thriller, Michael delivered a ratings record for BBC2 and helped establish the show as a new benchmark in prestige drama.

“It’s stomach-clenchingly tense, visceral, shocking – television best watched in body armour”

 Sam Wollaston, The Guardian

Launching JK Rowling’s much-loved private eye Cormoran Strike, Michael took the opportunity to create an atmospheric world filled with irreverent characters and unrequited love. STRIKE: THE CUCKOO’S CALLING confidently established the wounded investigator and his quietly talented partner as worthy additions to the canon of much-loved on-screen detectives.

"Vintage and modern, highly watchable and brilliantly cast, Strike is a sure hit"

Matt Baylis, The Express

Renting VHS cassettes at the local video store in rural Scotland first sparked Michael’s imagination and started an unconventional journey into film making which has given him the confidence to fully embrace the modern mash-up of cinema and high-end drama. Honing characters and stories that live long in the mind, while building worlds filled with style, verve and imagination.

This was best realised in CHIMERICA, an ambitious four-part adaptation of Lucy Kirkwood's Olivier award-winning play. The project challenged Michael to capture a complex narrative spanning continents, languages and recent history, in a story of friendship, love and loss set against the backdrop of the 2016 US Presidential election and the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. 

“A strikingly intelligent drama, capturing big ideas without sacrificing story or character, and making the personal political and back again – particularly in the scenes set in China.”

Lucy Mangan, The Guardian

While primarily known for directing, Michael also writes and develops his own feature films and long form projects with the same energy and drive for originality which informs all of his filmmaking.

Michael is represented in the US by Phil D'Amecourt and Ryan Draizin at WME, and Attorney Michael Schenkman.

 

Television

ProductionCompanyNotes
2020

The Forge/PBS/BBC 1

Director and Executive Producer
4-part Drama.
Writer: David Hare.
Producer: Andy Litvin
Exec Producers: George Faber, Mark Pybus, Lucy Richer, David Hare, Michael Keillor.
Starring: Hugh Laurie, Helen McCrory, Pippa Bennett Warner, Sarah Greene, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Iain De Caestecker.
Popular and charismatic politician Peter Laurence is shamelessly untroubled by guilt or remorse as his public and private life fall apart.

2018 - 2019

Playground Entertainment/Channel 4

Director
4-part Drama.
Writer: Lucy Kirkwood.
Producer: Adrian Sturges.
Executive Producers: Lucy Kirkwood, Sophie Gardiner, Colin Callender.
Starring: Alessandro Nivola and Cherry Jones
A photojournalist travels to China with the hopes of finding out who the mysterious man was who was photographed standing defiantly in front of a tank in Tiananmen Square twenty years ago. Adaptation of the Olivier award-winning play.

2017

BBC/HBO/Bronte

Lead Director.
Producer: Jackie Larkin
Executive Producers: Ruth Kenley Letts, Neil Blair, JK Rowling.
Starring: Holliday Grainger and Tom Burke
Adapted from the first novel in the Cormoran Strike series of detective novels by JK Rowling, writing under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

2015

BBC2/World Productions

Lead Director.
3 episodes.
Creator and Writer: Jed Mercurio.
Producer: Peter Norris.
Executive Producer: Simon Heath and Jed Mercurio.
Starring: Martin Compston, Vicky McClure and Stephen Graham.
*Highest-rating BBC2 drama since modern TV ratings began.
*Nominated, Best Drama Series, Royal Television Society Awards, 2017.
*Nominated, Best Writer (Drama), Royal Television Society Awards, 2017.
*Nominated, Best Drama Series, TV Choice Awards, 2016.
*Nominated, Best Director, Bafta Scotland Awards, 2016.
*Nominated, Best Drama Series, Broadcast Awards, 2017.

CRITICAL

2014

Sky One/Hat Trick

Director.
3 episodes.
Creator: Jed Mercurio.
Producer: Chris Hall.
Exec Producer: Mark Redhead / Cameron Roach.
Starring: Lennie James and Kimberley Nixon.

SILK III

2013

BBC 1

Director.
2 episodes.
Creator: Peter Moffat.
Producer: Matt Strevens.
Executive Producer: Hilary Salmon.
Starring: Maxine Peake and Rupert Penry-Jones

MR SELFRIDGE

2012

ITV Studios

Director.
3 episodes, including series finale.
Creator and Writer: Andrew Davies
Producer: Chrissy Skinns.
Exec Producer: Kate Lewis.
Starring: Jeremy Piven

YOUNG JAMES HERRIOT

2011

BBC 1/KoCo Media

3 part series about the life of the young Vet.
Producer: Alan J. Wands.
Writer: Ann McManus and Eileen Gallagher
Exec Producer: Cameron Roach.
* Nominated for Best Director at British Academy Awards Scotland, 2012.
* Nominated for Best Actor for Iain De Caestecker at British Academy Awards Scotland, 2012.

SHAMELESS VIII

2011

Company Television/C4

HOLBY CITY

2011

BBC 1

EASTENDERS: E20

2010

BBC 3

* Rose D'Or Nominee, 2010.

THE BILL

2009

ITV 1

EASTENDERS

2008

BBC 1

DOCTORS

2007

BBC 1

DREAM TEAM

2006

Sky

In Development

ProductionCompanyNotes

TIGHTROPE

2020

STV/BBC

Executive Producer: Sarah Brown
Writer: Rae Brunton
A low rent lawyer loses his loose grip on reality

TOO FAR NORTH

2020

WILD MERCURY/BBC

Executive Producer: Derek Wax
Writer: David Macpherson
Prodigal son returns home to a kick in the teeth.

Short Films

ProductionCompanyNotes
2014

Warp Films/BFI

Writer and Director. Love on the run with a girl and a gun.
Producer: Ally Gipps.
Starring Iain De Caestecker, Katarina Cas.
*Edinburgh International Film Festival 2014 Premiere.

2010

BBC, Scottish Screen & Lighthouse Arts

Writer and Director. 15'. Father and son lost in the Highlands.
Starring David Hayman, Jamie Michie.
* Encounter Short Film Festival, 2009.
* Palm Springs International Film Festival, 2010.
* Austin Film Festival, 2010.

2009

UK Film Council, Scottish Screen & Digicult

15'. Life, for a young man and an old soul.
Starring Michael Socha.
* Edinburgh International Film Festival 2010.

2006

Channel 4 'Coming Up' 2005

Writer and Director. 23'. Gang rivalry tears a friendship apart.
Starring Daniel Anthony, Josef Altin, Aml Ameen.
*Edinburgh International Film Festival, 2006.