Dexter back behind the lens ; INTERVIEW Dexter FletcherActor and director Dexter Fletcher, best known for his roles in Press Gang, Lock Stock and Band of Brothers, has gone behind the camera for a second time and he'll be talking about his latest film, Sunshine on Leith, at Broadway this weekend. Adam Everett spoke to him
Tell us about Sunshine On Leith.
It stars Jane Horrocks and Peter Mullen. It's a musical based on a play that was done at Dundee Rep a few years ago and it has all the music of The Proclaimers in it. It's about a family in Scotland, a couple of squaddies, coming home from the war trying to fit back into their world. My mate Jason Flemyng, who was in Lock Stock with me, is in it and he's got a big song and dance number. It's hysterical; one of the funniest moments in the film.
Sunshine On Leith was a originally a musical.
What attracted you to it? The material is really good and the story's wrapped around these songs. So it was exciting being able to tell a story in this way. These Proclaimers songs are really good and the lyrics read like poems.
Were you a big Proclaimers fan before you started working on the project? I'd be a liar if I said I had all their albums. The fans are fanatic; I'm not a fanatic.
Obviously I like their music but I'm open to new things and I discovered a lot more of their music. I've been to a couple of gigs now.
They're brilliant live; amazing vocalists.
There's a free screening of the film at the Broadway this weekend and you'll be popping down to talk about it beforehand.
Have you been to Nottingham much before for work or play? I went to Nottingham when I was 11; my brother was in a play there. I've been back a couple of times in my 47 years for work and stuff. I'm looking forward to it. If there are people who want to come and have a good time and see a good, fun, heart-warming film, which is what we've tried to make, then obviously I'd love them to come out and see the film and do a Q&A after. Any Press Gang fans, or Lock Stock fans, or Bugsy Malone fans who want to come, I'd love to see them there.
Do you prefer acting or directing? They're both great things to be involved in. It's interesting for me because it's a new part of my career.
That's not to say that I'm bored of acting. It's like having two children and asking which one is your favourite.
Was directing something that you'd always wanted to try your hand at? Yeah, it was. The older I got, the more experienced I got, the more confident I got that I could do it. It's a really big undertaking and you have to be brave and confident. When I was a kid my brother and I used to make little silly films together.
I suppose directing was something I always dreamed I could do and now here I am, it's really exciting.
Which directors that you have worked under have influenced you the most? They've all played their part. I've worked with a lot of really good directors: Alan Parker, Steven Frears, David Lynch, and a guy called Franklin Schaffner, who directed the original Planet Of The Apes film and Papillon. But equally there are directors who've been not so great that you learn as much from because you see their mistakes. I think working with David Lynch was a defining moment; he did things that I still think about today. Alan Parker is a great hero of mine.
That's another reason why I did a musical, because Alan Parker's done some great musicals. The first film I did was Bugsy Malone. At the back of the mind I was trying to impress him.
A lot of people might remember you from your days in Press Gang; does it bother you if people recognise you for that rather than some of your other work? No, it doesn't bother me. Being recognised is always kind of nice. People come up and they say, 'Hey, I really like this thing you did', and that can be anything from Lock Stock to Bugsy Malone to Press Gang. I'm very lucky that I get grannies come up to me and say 'I love Hotel Babylon' and I get young guys coming up to me saying 'I love Lock Stock'. It's always nice when people take a moment to go 'Hey, I like what you do'. Who doesn't like that? It's not like my day is constantly interrupted by that so I don't mind what it is. Unless it's Games Master, then I'm really upset.
The free screening at Broadway is tomorrow at 6.15pm. Spaces are limited. To book tickets go to broadway.org.uk. The film goes on general release on October 4.
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