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Peter Chelsom

Peter Chelsom

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: April 20, 1956 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: LancashireGB Profession: director, screenwriter, actor, producer, photographer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Although he played leads at the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal Court and the National Theatre before reaching the age of 30, Peter Chelsom cut short his decade-long acting career to concentrate on writing and directing films. His first effort, the short "Treacle" (1988), received considerable international acclaim, but several years would pass before he directed a feature film. Gaining experience at the helm of TV commercials, Chelsom finally realized his ambition with "Hear My Song" (1991), a sentimental, amusing whimsy loosely based on the real-life story of the beloved Irish tenor Josef Locke, co-written by Chelsom's leading man, Adrian Dunbar. He completed his trilogy of "hometown movies" with "Funny Bones" (1995), a show business fairy tale featuring performances by Jerry Lewis and Leslie Caron that blur the boundaries of their real and screen personae. Set primarily in his boyhood home of Blackpool, England (considered the entertainment Mecca of the North), "Funny Bones" endearingly resurrects show business nuggets from the past while depicting a decidedly twisted Oedipal drama involving Lewis and his two comedian sons, one (Lee Evans) which he had conceived and abandoned and the other...

Although he played leads at the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal Court and the National Theatre before reaching the age of 30, Peter Chelsom cut short his decade-long acting career to concentrate on writing and directing films. His first effort, the short "Treacle" (1988), received considerable international acclaim, but several years would pass before he directed a feature film. Gaining experience at the helm of TV commercials, Chelsom finally realized his ambition with "Hear My Song" (1991), a sentimental, amusing whimsy loosely based on the real-life story of the beloved Irish tenor Josef Locke, co-written by Chelsom's leading man, Adrian Dunbar. He completed his trilogy of "hometown movies" with "Funny Bones" (1995), a show business fairy tale featuring performances by Jerry Lewis and Leslie Caron that blur the boundaries of their real and screen personae. Set primarily in his boyhood home of Blackpool, England (considered the entertainment Mecca of the North), "Funny Bones" endearingly resurrects show business nuggets from the past while depicting a decidedly twisted Oedipal drama involving Lewis and his two comedian sons, one (Lee Evans) which he had conceived and abandoned and the other (Oliver Platt), in whom he fostered then squelched ambition.

The kid from the north of England then tackled a blue-collar tale set in Cincinnati, Ohio, remarking to his editor after viewing the rough cut, "My God! This could have been directed by an American." "The Mighty" (1998), based on a popular 1993 novel for teenagers by Rodman Philbrick, focused on the friendship between two 13-year old boys: Kevin, a tiny, physically handicapped genius and his learning-disabled, extra-large size neighbor. Chelsom brought Sharon Stone aboard to flex some movie-star muscle in the role of Kevin's mother (as well as to co-executive produce through her Chaos Productions) and separated "The Mighty" from comparable material with the magic of its Camelot analogies. In an early scene, the pair find themselves suddenly flanked by Arthurian knights on head-tossing steeds while later retrieving a lost purse rescues a damsel in distress, and making a bully back down slays a modern-day dragon. "The Mighty" solidified the promise of Chelsom's earlier films, inventively visualizing the aspirations of its two adolescent misfits with an honesty that proved draining, cathartic and satisfying. He weighed in with his first big-budget Hollywood affair, "Town & Country" (2000), a mid-life crisis comedy starring Warren Beatty, Diane Keaton and Goldie Hawn.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

4.
  Shall We Dance (2004) Director
5.
  Town & Country (2001) Director
6.
  Serendipity (2001) Director
7.
  Mighty, The (1998) Director
8.
  Funny Bones (1995) Director
9.
  Hear My Song (1991) Director
10.
  Treacle (1987) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Indian Summer (1987) Oliver Sutherland
2.
 Christmas Present (1985) Nigel Playfayre
3.
 Miser, The (1988) Cleante
4.
 Star Quality (1987) Bryan Snow
5.
 Cream in My Coffee (1990) Bernard Wilsher--As A Young Adult
6.
 Woman of Substance, A (1984) Edwin Fairley
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Milestones close milestones

:
Spent first six years of life in Blackpool, England
:
Initially trained as a photographer before going to drama school
:
Had supporting roles in such made-for-TV productions as "A Woman of Substance" (syndicated, 1984) and "Cream in My Coffee" (PBS, 1990)
1985:
Met Adrian Dunbar while both were members of the Royal Court Theater Company in liverpool
1985:
Directed at the Central School of Drama where he ran a film and television course
1987:
Taught a course for New York actors at Cornell University under the auspices of the Royal National Theatre
1987:
Played a leading role in the British-made feature film, "Indian Summer"
1988:
Made film directing debut with the 11-minute Channel Four short, "Treacle"
:
Made 16 commercials, including advertisements for Molson Canadian Lager, Tetley Beer and the <i>Express</i> newspaper
1991:
Made feature directorial debut with "Hear My Song"; co-wrote script with Dunbar, who also co-starred
1995:
Directed, produced and co-wrote with Peter Flannery, "Funny Bones"
1998:
Directed a film centered on the relationship between two youths, "The Mighty"; co-starring and produced by Sharon Stone
2001:
Helmed the big-budget feature, "Town & Country" starring Warren Beatty, Diane Keaton and Goldie Hawn
2001:
Directed John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale in the romanic comedy, "Serendipity"
2004:
Directed Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon in "Shall We Dance," a remake of the classic Japanese ballroom dance film
2009:
Directed the film adaptation of the popular Disney series, "Hannah Montana: The Movie"
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Education

Wrekin College: -
Central School of Speech and Drama: London , England -

Notes

"Treacle" received a BAFTA nomination for Best Cinema Short of 1988 and was also shown at the New York Film Festival.

About his graduation to a big-budget Hollywood production: "There is so much time dedicated to the catering, and assistants running around, and the faxing of maps, and the calling of agents because someone is not supposed to work that day ... I yearn to do something that's uncomplicated." --Peter Chelsom to The New York Times, September 13, 1998.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Reginald Chelsom. Antiques shop owner.
mother:
Kay Chelsom. Antiques shop owner.

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