“In your life, you get lucky in various strange ways,” Mike Nichols tells fellow director Jack O’Brien in this HBO documentary, filmed shortly before Nichols’ death in November 2014. Becoming Mike Nichols — which was unveiled at Sundance — is an apt title for a film about Mikhail Igor Peschkowsky, who was born in Germany, raised in New York and, almost by chance, launched his film directing career with Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? The Graduate, Catch-22 and Carnal Knowledge.
Made on the Broadway stage where Nichols once performed with his improv partner Elaine May, Becoming Mike Nichols is a Q&A that includes rare footage and photographs and thoughtful yet nearly always funny responses to questions from a knowing interlocutor on subjects as far-ranging as Simon & Garfunkel, Neil Simon, Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep, as well as getting an early crash course in film directing from his friend Tony Perkins. The film has its cable debut at 9 PM February 22 on HBO.