Interview with D. Fletcher, the director of “Eddie The Eagle”

March 24, 2016  22:34  |  Let’s talk

Eddie The Eagle

Photos: © SwO magazine

Eddie The Eagle is an inspiring movie that will make you laugh and cry at the same time. With the premiere in the UK next week, it was already presented in Lithuania yesterday night. Today SwO is sharing SwO street editor’s talk with the director – Dexter Fletcher.

Akvile“Eddie The Eagle” is a very British story line about the goal line surrounded by support and discouragement of the others. It’s a global and universal topic, but what caught your attention in the story specifically?

Dexter Fletcher: I think that the man himself, Eddie. I’ve seen him on the TV in the UK 30 years ago when he jumped at the Olympics, and I remember I thought he was a bit of a clown, a bit of a joke and even a little embarrassing. And then I saw him 25 years later on TV in the UK doing a reality show where he was diving to see if he could learn to be a high-diver. I suddenly realized that he was a man who was very dedicated and passionate about the sport, and also about the way that he approached it. In fact, he’s an Olympian. To be an Olympian, whether you win or lose, takes an incredible amount of dedication, spirit and heart thus I found that I’ve been wrong about him. Then the script came to my desk and I felt that the more I know about this man, the more I find him interesting. So I wanted the chance to create a film that was about someone who is inspiring, positive and funny. It wasn’t about violence or sex or – you know, there’re plenty of films about that, they’re great and I’d love to make one of those films, but I also wanted to make a film that the family could go and see. That was very important to me and that was where I started with that idea.

Akvile: Could you name the biggest challenge that you faced while creating this movie?

Dexter Fletcher: The man who the film is about is still alive, and he has the family, people who love him and care about him. So certainly, the challenge was to not create a film that would make him feel bad or that would embarrass him, but that would pay respect to him and that he could also feel proud of.

Akvile: Did he already see the movie?

Dexter Fletcher: He’s seen the movie three times and every time he sees the movie he cries. He’s very proud which is very exciting for me because I wanted to make a film that he would be proud of as well as me.

Akvile: So you’ve already presented it in the USA, Lithuania is today, London is 28th. What are the next plans for the movie?

Dexter Fletcher: To go around the world I think! And show it to as many people as possible. I’ve done a lot of the traveling already and I don’t know if I’ll do it anymore, maybe just to Russia and China, Korea – I’ll go wherever they ask me to go. It’s always good to travel around the world and show people the film, that’s always fun.

Dexter Fletcher and Akvile Lesauskaite

Akvile: You’ve got experience in the movies, the TV and the theater. Which sides of each are the most valuable to you? What positive experiences did each of them bring?

Dexter Fletcher: The thing about acting is that I’ve not directed any theater or television. I’ve directed only movies but I think that acting can be quite a wide umbrella – there’s a lot of things you can do and I’ve been even in operas as well. The important thing is that you learn how to be part of an ensemble, which is what’s really important for me. Certainly, with filmmaking you need to understand how to work with other people. How they work, how they contribute, what you contribute, what part they play and how that all comes together to create one piece. The thing about acting is that every, every project or creative endeavor you get involved with, – you have to be able to adapt as an actor. Or as a director too. So it’s about being, listening, understanding, seeing who people are and not being sort of closed off, insular in the world.

Akvile: You became an actor in early childhood. What are your first memories of being in the industry? 

Dexter Fletcher: It was always a lot of fun when I was a child. Cause, you know, you’re being asked to just play. That’s the great thing and that’s what you love as a child more than anything. And then acting as a child is just like playing. Playing at being something. It can come quite naturally if you have a big imagination and like to play, so there’s something very magical about being indulged and being allowed to just enjoy yourself. When I was 9 years old I made six films (series) with the monkey. That was very exciting for a nine year old because I’d go to work every day on the summer holidays from school and I would be playing with the monkey. In a film, which was very exciting. When I was 9 years old, I was in a musical called “Bugsy Malone”, where we were all gangsters in 1930s Chicago, so we got to dress up.

Akvile: What about “The Elephant Man”?

Dexter Fletcher: That’s from when I was 14. That was a different kind of play because “Elephant Man” was quite a dark and sad story about someone going through something very serious. But somehow that film manages to have a very uplifting, positive feel about that as well, even though it’s quite sad. I think that was a great experience because I worked with the great director David Lynch and he’s an incredible man. I’ve seen him over the years in sets and can count myself really lucky to have been there, watching the films. There is sort of things that you just absorb as a child – you don’t think about it too much, but just absorb.

Akvile: You’ve got a close relation with Lithuania. What do you love most about this country?

Dexter Fletcher: I love the creativity, the culture and the fact that people are so determined, driven and clear-cut about what they want to say or what they want to do. There’s a really strong background of creativity and culture. Because the Lithuanians live there, they may be taken for granted, but take them outside of their environment and put them in the West, you find what I find – that those people are very productive, very creative, very successful because they really know how to work hard and appreciate everything that they have. And they appreciate people who are creative, the arts, people who contribute to the arts. They value those things as much as everything else.

Akvile: How long did it take for the movie to be fully developed?

Dexter Fletcher: Well, the first script was written 17 years ago but obviously, I wasn’t involved in that. When it came to me, 19-20 months ago this was just an idea in my head. And now here we are at the Lithuanian premiere. It’s not that long – we worked hard and fast.

Akvile: Could you recommend something for our readers? Your discoveries of a place, book, movie during this year so far?

Hail, Caesar! from the Coen brothers is a great movie that I really enjoyed. That would be one of my movie discoveries. Anything that’s shown on the National Theater is great – you’ll see it, you’ll have a good time. And there’s a book called “I Am Pilgrim” which is a fantastic adventure and a really great read. It’s more than 700 pages, you can’t stop. There would be the discoveries that I recommend. Either that or just go to London eye to have a look.


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