Roger Michell: Julia Roberts and Sam Neill lead tributes to ‘gentle genius’ Notting Hill director

Michell in 2019  (Getty Images for ZFF)
Michell in 2019 (Getty Images for ZFF)

Julia Roberts, Sam Neill and Barry Jenkins have led tributes to director Roger Michell, who has died aged 65.

The filmmaker, best known for creating Notting Hill and My Cousin Rachel, died in his sleep on Wednesday (22 September), his family announced on Thursday (23 September).

In a statement given to E! News , Roberts – who starred opposite Hugh Grant in Michell’s 1999 classic Notting Hill – described the late director as “such a kind and gentle man”.

“He always had a sweet grin on his face and a perfect piece of direction to share. I feel so fortunate to have had such a fantastic opportunity to work with him,” said the Oscar winner.

Actor Samuel West, who worked with Michell on three films and a play, wrote that he was “numbed by the news” of the director’s death.

“He was a beautiful man and a consummate director: generous, authoritative, tasteful and so, so kind,” wrote West. “I loved him, a lot.”

Unforgotten star Sanjeev Bhaskar added: “Shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of Roger Michell. Terrific director & always such great company.

“He was as generous with his time and attention towards me as the main stars on Notting Hill. A kindness I’ve never forgotten. Thoughts with his son Harry & Roger’s family.”

The Underground Railroad director Barry Jenkins posted: “Oh no now Roger Michell he was JUST in Telluride [Colorado] I never got to pull him aside for a laugh I was too damn busy, damnit.”

“My beautiful friend #RogerMichell has gone,” tweeted Jason Watkins. “How can you leave us now? I’m devastated. My mate and collaborator - I owe him so much. A kind strong gentle genius and a magnificent friend. We are all lost without you. Too soon, too soon.”

Samantha Morton shared her own memories of Michell, writing: “So incredibly sad to hear about the passing of Roger Michell, a wonderful director with huge integrity and compassion, in this world his kindness mattered so much to me.

“My thoughts and prayers are with his family. Thank you Roger for being so wonderful to us all. Enduring love…”

Sam Neill added: “#RogerMichell. That lovely man. Died in his sleep last night . We the cast, with our director Roger, all tattooed a bird after shooting Blackbird - friends for life. Roger was only 65. We are all gutted. I grieve with his family. Great man. Vale Roger. Xx.”

Michell is survived by his four children, Harry, Rosie, Maggie and Sparrow.

Read More

Film fans ‘thank the gods’ that James Corden is not in the new Mario film

Harry Potter fans send Tom Felton well wishes after collapsing at golf tournament

Frances McDormand denies witnessing Scott Rudin ‘laying into’ female assistant

Ryan Reynolds has the best response to Gerard Butler’s diss about Free Guy

Daniel Craig appointed by the Navy to the same rank as James Bond

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in court battle over £120m French vineyard