Mark Addy: ‘Full Monty’ cast has lived with these characters for 25 years


Mark Addy stars in "The Full Monty" series, premiering Wednesday. Photo courtesy of FX

Mark Addy stars in “The Full Monty” series, premiering Wednesday. Photo courtesy of FX

NEW YORK, June 14 (UPI) — Game of Thrones alum Mark Addy says The Full Monty has been an important part of his life from the time he made the 1997 film until he recently returned for its new sequel series on FX.

“There’s a lot of affection out there for these characters,” Addy told UPI in a recent Zoom interview.

“People will let you know that as you meet them going through life. We have lived with them, but it’s a treat to learn where they are now and what’s befallen them over the years.”

Written and produced by the movie’s scribe, Simon Beaufoy, the eight-episode dramedy premieres Wednesday on FX and will be available for streaming on Hulu Thursday.

“If it were any other writer, I have a feeling that none of us would be set in,” Addy said, referring to the cast signing up for the TV show because they trusted where Beaufoy would take the story.

The follow-up to the 1997 film of the same name checks back with Addy’s character, Dave, and several of his mates in the depressed former industrial town of Sheffield, England, 25 years after they tried to pay the bills by staging a striptease show.

Also returning for the follow-up from the movie are Lesley Sharp, Robert Carlyle, William Snape, Steve Huison, Paul Barber and Tom Wilkinson, reprising their roles of Jean, Gaz, Nathan, Lomper, Horse and Gerald, respectively, who now are in their late 50s and 60s and still struggling.

“Before we all got on set, we had a read-through and, actually, it was quite an emotional day, everybody turning up. It was almost like a wedding or something,” Sharp said.

“People were coming through the doors and we were like: ‘Oh, my God! Is Steve coming? Yes, Steve’s coming! Oh, God, there he is!’ Everybody got quite excited about seeing one another again.”

Adding to the fun were new co-stars such as Aiden Cook, who plays Dean, a fatherless boy Dave mentors, and Talitha Wing, who plays Destiny, Gaz’s mischievous teen daughter.

“There are some really fantastic younger members of the cast,” Sharp said.

“So, when the read-through started and all of those voices started to come in, and there was a mixture of all of the old and the silliness and the sadness, and then the energy of the new folk, it was just like, ‘Oh, my goodness! This is beautiful!'”

The actors were grateful to have eight hours of television, instead of the typical two-hour run time for a film, so that they could really dig into their characters and circumstances.

“Regarding Dave and Jean, you’ve got a very complex portrayal of a relationship that has landed itself in trouble because they haven’t done the work that they needed to do when they needed to do it,” Sharp said.

“They lost this baby. They don’t have a family, and that has caused both of them a lot of pain, and they’ve dealt with it in different ways.”

Jean has thrown herself into her job as the principal of a dilapidated school, while Dave has grown complacent as the building’s custodian.

Sharp said that he is in her shadow.

‘Whereas in the film, she was validating him and was his cheerleader, saying: ‘You’re amazing! You’re fantastic!'” Sharp said.

“All of that still holds true, but what I think was really lovely to engage with in the series was that all of that youthful hope and love and energy of a young couple, when it doesn’t go right, is what then happens as you grow older.”

The actors return to the franchise with 25 more years of life experience of their own.

“You’re bringing a weight of having been on the planet to these characters,” Sharp said. “There is something really remarkable and very beautiful about that. It’s a gift, an opportunity.”

Dave and Jean are more fiscally well-off than most of the others in their lives, yet total happiness still escapes their grasp.

“Money can’t buy you happiness, can it?” Addy asked rhetorically.

“There is more to life than cash. Love is what they have and what they had. Will that love be able to see them through the rough seas that they are in the midst of?” he added.

“Financially, that concern is swept away for them, but there are other more pressing things that they need to address.”

Sharp agreed.

“There’s no point having a lovely house if you haven’t got the people in it you really care about in it,” she said.

The stars said they didn’t expect The Full Monty to still be so relatable decades after the film about working-class friends having laughs while navigating tough times was released.

It was Beaufoy’s anger that things have only gotten worse for “these people, for that level of society” that made him revisit the story, according to Addy.

“Nothing has improved in their world. How has that been allowed to happen?” the actor asked.

“Why are working National Healthcare System nurses having to use food banks to feed their children in 2023? It’s a scandal. That was what drove him to write the series and examine these really difficult societal questions through the eyes of characters we are familiar with from a quarter of a century ago.”

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