Five Minutes with Dexter Fletcher
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When someone tells you that you have five minutes to have a conversation with someone, your mind immediately goes blank. Suddenly, those questions that you had ready at the tip of your tongue, dissolves into dead air and awkward silence. When the person sat next to you is Dexter Fletcher, this can prove slightly difficult.
This is the situation I found myself, sat next to actor turned director, Dexter Fletcher, in a quiet corner of the BFI Southbank only a few days ago. The actor who has appeared in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Kick-Ass and Layer Cake to name but a few, stared at me with his boyish blue eyes, all the while there was a smile of inquisition stretched across his rough, unshaven face.
Fletcher was there to promote his directorial debut, Wild Bill, which stars Charlie Creed-Miles as protagonist Bill Hayward, who has just been recently paroled after eight years in prison. Upon returning home, Bill finds that his 15 and 11-year-old sons, Dean (Will Poulter) and Jimmy (Sammy Williams) have been abandoned by their mother and are living alone, fending for themselves.
Dean, the older of the two boys, who has been the parent of the household in the absence of his parents, forces his immature father Bill, to stay with the boys and pretend to be a father to them, when social services threaten to separate the two boys.
Bill and Jimmy quickly develop a bond that proves to be short-lived when Jimmy gets into trouble with friends from Bill’s criminal past. To fix the situation, Bill must break his parole and risk going back to prison, forcing Bill to decide what kind of father he wants to be: a good one, or a free one.
After composing myself, I asked Fletcher the question that everyone has been dying to know; why it has taken him so long to step behind the camera.
“I don’t know”, he said, “You know, it’s about timing, finding the right story and then finding the self-confidence and the faith in yourself. You have to tell yourself, ‘I can do this.’”
“Getting a film made is not easy, you don’t just wake up one morning and say, ‘okay, I’m going to make a film.’”
Fletcher’s Wild Bill which he co-wrote with British author, Danny King, took two years to make. The new director admitted that his industry influence, helped speed up the film making process but only by a little.
“It was slightly easier for me because I’ve been in the industry, but not by much… you have to have a project that you’re going to see through till the bitter end. You have to be committed.”
The director spoke excitedly and with well-deserved confidence about his directorial debut into feature film making, making comparisons between acting and directing.
“As an actor, you turn up, read your lines and go home,” he said, as he chuckled, “but a director’s role is 24hours a day, it’s full on. You’re in the thick of it all the time, and I really enjoyed it!”
Now with the release date of Wild Bill rapidly approaching, Fletcher expressed some nerves in showcasing his hard work to the public.
He said, “between me and you, yeah I am a little bit nervous…the thing about film and the arts is that, people go and see it, and then they have an opinion about it and then they say, ‘yeah I saw that and it was rubbish!’ and you have to prepare yourself for that.”
“The thing about any creative thing is, it’s all about taste. You might not like what I do, and vice versa. You have to be prepared to take the rough and the smooth and that’s slightly nerve racking. You’re out there exposing yourself but that’s the choice you make.”
The British actor and now film maker had high praise for the quality of British cinema that is being produced.
“I think the British are good at making film, we always have been,” he said. “Americans do it in a different way from the British. English film makers are very ‘British’ about their films. We’re a bit cooler about the way we produce film… we the English don’t do the big blockbuster, because we don’t dance to the same drum beat as the Americans, we’re subtle, we’re British.”
Dexter Fletcher’s feature film debut Wild Bill will be showcased at the Future Film Festival, at the BFI Southbank on Sunday 19th February 2012. Dexter will also be present to do a Q&A about the film.
Wild Bill will be released in the UK on the 30th March 2012. Check out the trailer below.