Robert Carlyle and Talitha Wing can be seen in “The Full Monty” sequel series. Photo courtesy of FX on Hulu
NEW YORK, July 6 (UPI) — Trainspotting and Once Upon a Time actor Robert Carlyle says Gaz, the scheming ne’er-do-well he played in the 1997 movie, The Full Monty, is trying to be a better father, grandfather and friend in the new FX on Hulu sequel series that bears the film’s name.
Written and produced by the original’s scribe, Simon Beaufoy, the eight-episode dramedy is now streaming.
It checks back with Gaz and several of his awkward, middle-age mates in the depressed former industrial town of Sheffield, England, 25 years after they earned a moment of triumph, trying to pay the bills by staging an unlikely, but successful striptease show for the entertainment of the local women.
Also returning from the movie for the follow-up are Mark Addy, Lesley Sharp, Steve Huison, Paul Barber and Tom Wilkinson, reprising their roles of Dave, Jean, Lomper, Horse and Gerald, respectively.
Most of the characters — now in their late 50s and 60s — are still struggling financially and emotionally.
Talitha Wing plays Gaz’s rebellious teen daughter, Destiny, and Wim Snape plays his straight-laced copper son, Nathan. Snape previously played Nathan as a child in the movie.
“He’s not been the best father in the world,” Carlyle told UPI about Gaz in a recent Zoom interview. “He’s trying his best.
“He undoubtedly loves his son, but he’s not good at expressing that. He’s trying to make up for lost time. He’s trying to put things right and be a better father. He’s a better grandfather than a father. It’s a second chance.”
Carlyle noted Gaz makes an extraordinary sacrifice for disabled grandson Ben (Lewis Whele).
“There’s a lot of things that he does during the course of the show to get an electric wheelchair for his grandkid. Of course, electric wheelchairs cost a lot of money, and, of course, he doesn’t have a lot of money,” the actor said.
It hasn’t been easy for Nathan to be Gaz’s son, but there is affection between the two men, according to Snape.
“Nathan could have gone down one of two roads. He could have turned out like Gaz or not,” Snape said.
“Even in the original film, Nathan [as a boy] was the parent to all of those guys,” he added. “He was the guy going, ‘You can’t do this. You can’t do that. What you’re doing here is wrong or stupid.'”
Gaz has been trying to get Nathan to participate in various shady schemes through the years, but Nathan always had a better moral compass than his father.
“Nathan’s just not built that way, so he builds that wall between himself and his father,” Snape said. “He says: ‘We’re not doing this anymore. We’re not partners. I am a police officer.'”
The men’s differences strain their relationship.
“But, at the end of the day, Gaz is his dad and there is a love there,” Snape said. “Nathan has known him a long time and knows his heart is in the right place, but his delivery is terrible.”
Gaz’s actions also cause friction in his bond with his lifelong best friend, Dave, who is financially secure now, but childless, and thinks the constantly broke Gaz doesn’t do enough to take care of his kids.
“Dave puts up with Gaz and accepts all of his stuff — up to a point,” Carlyle said. “Gaz gets angry and says, ‘What do you know? You don’t have any kids.'”
His words are insensitive given the fact that Dave and his wife Jean lost their desperately loved infant son many years earlier.
“That is the worst thing he could have said,” Carlyle said of Gaz’s remarks. “He’s trying to mend that all the way through the eight episodes.”
Wing said she was excited to join the “mad adventure” that is now the Full Monty franchise.
“I was, obviously, very nervous at first,” Wing said. “But, from the moment we were all in a room together, I felt like it was such a warm environment, and I felt like the younger generation was really welcomed into the family straight away.”
The actress learned a lot from the older members of the cast.
“Getting to play with Bobby [Carlyle] and Wim and all these other really talented actors who have been working for a really long time was a privilege for me,” she said. “I’m just soaking in the knowledge and watching them work.”
Wing described her character, Destiny, as “feisty and fierce.”
“She’s got a lot of anger toward the world and her situation,” she said.
“She’s got a lot on her shoulders. She has to look out for her younger sisters and her dad’s kind of in and out, and the one thing that she loves, which is music, gets cut in school, so she doesn’t have that to seek comfort anymore.”
Like all the other characters in the show, she is doing her best with the hand that life dealt her.
“She wants things to be right and good and she doesn’t always go about getting them to be right and good in a right or good way,” she said with a laugh. “Yet, she does have a heart of gold.”
Carlyle experienced a fluttering of apprehension when he was approached to return as Gaz in the sequel series years after the original premiered.
A phone call from Beaufoy explaining how he wanted to authentically reflect problems in the United Kingdom today convinced Carlyle to jump onboard, however.
“The original film was so loved by so many people around the world. You don’t want to mess with that in any way,” Carlyle said.
“The notion of picking this [franchise] up 25 years later and telling the stories of today seemed to be a very good thing to do.”
“It was just one of those things that were way in the past and I never thought we would revisit again,” he said.
His reactions to the scripts Beaufoy presented him ranged from, “Amazing!” to “This is exciting!”
“We’re not here making the Full Monty 2. It’s 25 year later and looking at the United Kingdom from a sociopolitical perspective.”