Peter Chelsom

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Peter Chelsom
Chelsom on set of The Space Between Us, summer 2015
Born (1956-04-20) 20 April 1956 (age 68)
Alma materRoyal Central School of Speech and Drama
Occupation(s)Film director, actor
Years active1979–present
SpouseLindsay McCracken

Peter Chelsom (born 20 April 1956) is a British film director, writer, and actor.[1] He has directed such films as Hector and the Search for Happiness, Serendipity, and Shall We Dance?[2] Peter Chelsom is a member of the British Academy, the American Academy, The Directors Guild of America, and The Writers Guild of America.

Early life[edit]

Chelsom was born in Blackpool, Lancashire, the son of antiques shop owners Kay and Reginald Chelsom.[citation needed] He was educated at Wrekin College (1969-1973) and later studied at the Central School of Drama in London. He has dual citizenship in the US and the UK, and is an Honorary Citizen of the small town Fivizzano in Tuscany.[3]


Before the age of 30, Chelsom played roles at the Royal Shakespeare Company opposite Patrick Stewart, the Royal National Theatre alongside Sir Anthony Hopkins, and the Royal Court Theatre in London. During that time he took part in numerous film and television productions, including A Woman of Substance in 1985, which also included Jenny Seagrove and Deborah Kerr.[citation needed]

While acting, Chelsom developed a growing interest in writing and directing. His directorial debut, Treacle, won a BAFTA nomination and invitations to festivals all over the world.[4]

From 1985 to 1998 he ran the film course at the Central School of Drama and later taught at both the Actors' Institute and Cornell University.[citation needed]

His first full-length feature was the 1991 romantic comedy, Hear My Song.[5] The film was inspired by the life of the Irish tenor, Josef Locke, played in the film by Ned Beatty. The Evening Standard British Film Awards named Chelsom Best Newcomer for his work on the film.[6] Roger Ebert complimented it as "the very soul of a great small film."[7]

Chelsom's second feature, Funny Bones (1995), is a film about comedy. Starring Oliver Platt, Jerry Lewis, Leslie Caron, Freddie Davies, and Lee Evans, it tells the story of two half brothers, one American and the other British, who will stop at nothing to get a laugh... even murder. Funny Bones won Best Picture at five European film festivals, and the "Peter Sellers Award for Comedy" at the Evening Standard British Film Awards.[8]

His third feature, The Mighty (1998), was based on the best-selling book Freak the Mighty. The film stars Sharon Stone, Gillian Anderson, Gena Rowlands, and Harry Dean Stanton. It received two Golden Globe Nominations.[9] He followed this with Town and Country in 2001, starring Warren Beatty, Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn, and Garry Shandling. That same year he directed Serendipity, with John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale, which grossed $50 million.[10]

His next film in 2004 was a remake of the 1996 film, Shall We Dance? The American version starred Richard Gere, Jennifer Lopez, Susan Sarandon, and Stanley Tucci. The film grossed $170 million worldwide.[11]

In 2009, Chelsom directed Hannah Montana: The Movie for Disney. The film broke box office records when it opened in the USA to a figure of $32 million on its first weekend.[12]

In 2014, Chelsom directed Hector and the Search for Happiness, starring Simon Pegg, Rosamund Pike, Christopher Plummer, Toni Collette, Stellan Skarsgard, and Jean Reno. The film had its US Premiere in a special presentation at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. It tells the story of a disillusioned psychiatrist travelling the world, researching what makes people happy. Monte Carlo Film Festival named Chelsom Best Director for this film.[13]

Chelsom directed the science fiction romance The Space Between Us (2017), starring Gary Oldman, Asa Butterfield, Britt Robertson, and Carla Gugino.[14]

Selected filmography[edit]





  1. ^ Jason Buchanan (2015). "Peter Chelsom". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Archived from the original on 29 October 2015.
  2. ^ Holden, Stephen (15 October 2004). "He's a Fool for Dancin', Despite the Briefcase". The New York Times.
  3. ^ "Ha casa a Fivizzano il regista inglese Peter Chelsom premiato a Montecarlo – La Nazione". Massa Carrara – La Nazione – Quotidiano di Firenze con le ultime notizie della Toscana e dell'Umbria (in Italian). Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  4. ^ "FILM / When every second counts: Peter Chelsom made Hear My Song and". The Independent. 8 February 1993. Retrieved 5 February 2016.
  5. ^ Hinson, Hal. "Hear My Song". The Washington Post. Retrieved 5 February 2016.
  6. ^ "FILM / When every second counts: Peter Chelsom made Hear My Song and". The Independent. 8 February 1993. Retrieved 5 February 2016.
  7. ^ Ebert, Roger. "Hear My Song Movie Review & Film Summary (1992) | Roger Ebert". Retrieved 5 February 2016.
  8. ^ Chelsom, Peter (31 March 1995), Funny Bones, retrieved 5 February 2016
  9. ^ "The Mighty | Golden Globes". Retrieved 5 February 2016.
  10. ^ "Box Office Mojo > Search". Retrieved 5 February 2016.
  11. ^ "Shall We Dance (2004) – Box Office Mojo". Retrieved 5 February 2016.
  12. ^ "Hannah Montana The Movie (2009) – Box Office Mojo". Retrieved 5 February 2016.
  13. ^ "Montecarlo Film Festival – Comedy for Spain wins Best film and Best actress awards in successful "Monte-Carlo festivalde la Comédie"". Retrieved 5 February 2016.
  14. ^ STX Entertainment (25 May 2016), The Space Between Us | Official Trailer | STX Entertainment, retrieved 1 June 2016
  15. ^ "Hear My Song | Golden Globes". Retrieved 5 February 2016.

External links[edit]