"Just once, that's all. Just tonight." Back in 1997, Tom Wilkinson's unemployed foreman Gerald reluctantly consented to joining fellow jobseekers Dave (Mark Addy), Horse (Paul Barber), Guy (Hugo Speer), Lomper (Steve Huison) and ringleader Gaz (Robert Carlyle) in an unlikely venture: a one-off, money-spinning strip show at a working men's club in front of an audience of local women. They would, as the eponymous film's unforgettable freeze-frame climax confirmed, be going The Full Monty.
Made for £3m and reaping over £200m worldwide, The Full Monty wasn't just the highest-grossing film ever at the British box office (albeit for just a few months, before a little film called Titanic left harbour), but a genuine cultural phenomenon that transformed the careers of all concerned, spawned a thousand unofficial spin-offs, and even saw the then-Prince Charles joining star Hugo Speer to recreate the famous Hot Stuff dole-queue dance.
Now, it's returning as a Disney Plus show, and we've got an exclusive image above of Carlyle back in action as Gaz.
For a long time, screenwriter Simon Beaufoy agreed with Gerald: just once, that's all. "I'd put a big full stop on it," he tells Total Film magazine in the new issue, which is out on newsstands this May 25 (interviews for this feature were completed prior to the WGA strike). "Lots of money was dangled in front of me [for a sequel] and I said no many times, not out of any kind of principle so much as not having a good story to tell. I always knew I could never better the end of the film."
Addy concurs: "All they've achieved is taking their clothes off in front of a lot of people that live in the same town. They haven't magically found employment, so I don't know where a sequel could have taken the story."
A 2013 stage adaptation helped Beaufoy mellow towards an onscreen reunion, and he signed up Alice Nutter, his collaborator on Gettys series Trust, as co-writer. "It allowed me to understand that these characters live beyond that movie," he says. "If I can look at different bits of their life in the play, why not really open it up? But I couldn't do anything until television had this great rebirth where not everything had to lead up to a big finish. This isn't a sequel, it's a completely different approach, a return to their lives where they've got children and grandchildren and new friends and acquaintances."
The Full Monty is out on Disney Plus on June 14. This is just a snippet of our interview in the new issue of Total Film magazine, which features Christopher Nolan's epic Oppenheimer on the cover. The magazine hits shelves this Thursday, May 25. Check out the covers below:
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