Peter Chelsom

Peter Chelsom

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.