Hard to believe but it's officially been two decades since movie-going audiences were introduced to a group of unemployed misfits from Sheffield, England desperate to make a few quid. So bad are their prospects, in fact, that the impulsive idea to form a local Chippendale-esque troupe morphs into reasonable money making idea. In case you don't recognize it, this is the premise for British underdog comedy, The Full Monty.
The Full Monty was a major critical and commercial success. In 1997, it was the highest-grossing British-made film and second overall in the UK after Titanic. It was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Original Music Score, winning the last. It won four BAFTAs including Best Film. In 2013, it was even adapted into a Broadway musical, which went on to garner ten Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical.
So in honor of the 20th anniversary of the movie's release, I thought it might be fun to see what has happened in the careers of a sampling of its cast members.
Who did he play? Gary Schofield (Gaz), the instigator behind the plan to form a working man’s version of the famous male exotic dancing act. To his credit, Gaz has his heart in the right place as this unusual scheme is all in aid of earning money to pay his child support arrears and gaining his young son’s respect in the process.
What has he been doing since? Before the release of The Full Monty, the Scottish actor was best known as TV’s Hamish Macbeth and for his performance in the film Trainspotting. Since his BAFTA winning turn as Gaz, Carlyle has made a name playing what might be called troubled souls. For example, he played a Bond villain in The World Is Not Enough, an alcoholic father in Angela’s Ashes, an infected, raging monster in 28 Weeks Later and a pre-WWII Hilter in a TV mini-series.
He has starred as Mr. Gold/Rumplestiltskin in ABC’s fantasy drama Once Upon a Time for the past six seasons and recently revisited his role as Begbie in 2017’s T2 Trainspotting sequel.
Who did he play? Dave Horsefall, Gaz’s best friend and a man struggling with feelings of inadequacy due to his unemployed status and embarrassment with his weight. It’s all had a detrimental effect on his marriage.
What has he been doing since? Immediately afterThe Full Monty, Addy answered Hollywood's call. He racked up a number of appearances in films such as Jack Frost, Down to Earth, A Knight’s Tale and took on the starring role as Fred Flintstone in The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas. This was followed by four seasons as Bill Miller on the CBS sitcom Still Standing.
Since the 2010’s Mark has mainly featured in British television series, with roles in a variety of programs such as the BBC’s Great Expectations, The Syndicate, Trollied, Remember Me and Atlantis. He also had a short but memorable run as Robert Baratheon on HBO's Game of Thrones.
Who did he play? Gerald Cooper, the former foreman at the steel mill who is lying to wife about having found a new job. His former co-workers rope him into teaching them the finer points of dancing and end up becoming true friends in the end.
What has he been doing since? Before earning a Supporting Actor BAFTA for The Full Monty, Wilkinson worked on several British television series, most notably the mini-series First Among Equals and gained critical acclaim with his appearance as Mr Pecksniff, in the BBC's 1994 adaptation of Martin Chuzzlewit. Since then he has been an actor in constant demand, appearing in films such as Shakespeare in Love, The Patriot, Rush Hour, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Batman Begins, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Selma and Denial. He also starred as a man transitioning into a woman in the 2003 TV movie, Normal.
Wilkinson has been honored with Oscar nominations for his performances in Michael Clayton and In the Bedroom and he won a Golden Globe and Emmy Award for playing Benjamin Franklin in the HBO mini-series John Adams.
Who did he play? Guy, the bloke at the audition with no dance experience but other tangible visual assets that Gaz reckoned would round out the group.
What has he been doing since? Speer has made regular guest starring appearances over the years on TV dramas such as Midsomer Murders, Death in Paradise, Vera, Miss Marple, Haven and The Last Detective. He has been a regular cast member in Five Days, Bleak House and Bedlam. Most recently, he popped up as Inspector Valentine in the reboot of the Father Brown mystery series and as Minister Treville in The Musketeers.
Who did she play? Jean Horsehill, Dave’s fun-loving, frustrated but ultimately supportive wife.
What has she been doing since? The reason I included Sharp over some of the other men in the film is that this actress made an impact with a limited role, earning a Supporting Actress BAFTA nomination in the process. And she continues to get noticed twenty years later. Lesley has gone on to appear in Clocking Off, Bob & Rose, Vera Drake, Cranford, Starlings, Capital, Paranoid and starred as Janet Scott in the popular ITV police drama Scott and Bailey. She also played Sky Silvestry in that creepy Doctor Who episode, "Midnight".
I re-watched this hilarious and surprisingly touching comedy a few days ago and it still holds up wonderfully, no doubt due to the caliber of the cast, crew and writers.
If you’re a fan of The Full Monty please share your thoughts and memories of the film. If you’ve never seen it, I can’t recommend it heartily enough. Amazon Video, iTunes, Google Play and YouTube all have the film available to stream for a small fee. And as always, your local library is a good place to check as well.