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Friday, 17 August, 2001, 09:47 GMT 10:47 UK
Peter Cattaneo's lucky breaks
Peter Cattaneo
Cattaneo's new film carries a heavy weight of expectation
Film director Peter Cattaneo hit the jackpot while he was still in his early 30s, after British movie The Full Monty became a huge box office success.

He is hoping to repeat the feat with his latest film Lucky Break, a comedy about a several prisoners plotting to escape jail by distracting the warders with an amateur musical.

Born in England in 1964, Cattaneo became involved with directing while studying at the Royal College of Art in London.

I remember reading it at about 6.30 in the morning, and loving it immediately

Peter Cattaneo on The Full Monty
After graduating in 1989, he made a video musical which won a Sony Promo Award and directed an advertisement for Miller Lite.

His 1990 short film, Dear Rosie, for Thames TV was nominated for an Academy Award for the best live action short.

Cattaneo moved on to directing television series such as Diary of a Teenage Health Freak and The Bill.


He also worked regularly for the company Paul Weiland's Film making advertisements.

He ventured into feature film in 1995 with Loved Up, a film for BBC Screen Two which was warmly received at the 1996 Sundance Film Festival.

Starring Lena Headey and Ian Hart, it was a drama about an 18-year-old waitress who becomes involved with a young raver who introduces her to ecstasy and drug dealing.

The Full Monty
The Full Monty earned $200m worldwide
But it was to be the next project which would make Cattaneo's name.

His attention was drawn to the script of rising author, Simon Beaufoy, about a group of unemployed Sheffield steelworkers who decide to become strippers to make some money.


He later said: "I remember reading it very early, at about 6:30 in the morning, and loving it immediately."

Cattaneo was struck by the story's humour and also by its serious undertones: "It's a very contemporary story about the long-term effects of unemployment."

Released in 1997, The Full Monty went on to earn some $200m (£140m) worldwide - having been made in 40 days for around $3.5m (£2.4m) - and receive four Oscar nominations, including best director and best picture.

In October 2000 a musical based on the film opened on Broadway to strong reviews and a rapturous reception from the opening night audience.

And in April 2001 The Full Monty was voted the favourite English movie of all time by the readers of the Empire Online website.


It has taken Cattaneo four years to release a follow-up.

In an interview with BBC Films Online he talked about the inspiration for the film, saying: "A friend of mine told me about a production of Guys & Dolls she'd seen at Wormwood Scrubs.

"There's a company of actors that go around doing this, and she told me it was the most fantastic thing and that the prisoners were great.

"The idea just kind of sat there until I thought of combining it with an escape attempt."

Lucky Break has a strong cast and boasts the writing talents of Ronan Bennett, who penned 1997's Face starring Robert Carlyle and Ray Winstone, and comic and author Stephen Fry.

But such is the affection in which The Full Monty is held, that Cattaneo has set himself a tough task to equal or even come close to its huge success.

See also:

22 Apr 01 | Film
Full Monty tops online poll
27 Oct 00 | Entertainment
The Full Monty wows Broadway
19 Feb 99 | Entertainment
Queen honours Full Monty star
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