A few weeks back I reviewed the movie Sunshine on Leith. It got a big thumbs up from me due to the fact that I’d had a rubbish week at work and sitting down and watching it gave me the biggest smile. Everyone knows at least one or two Proclaimers songs, but I didn’t realise how many I knew until I started watching the film. Every musical number made me smile more and more, until I forgot all my worries and just had a lot of fun. And this is someone who doesn’t usually like musicals (well, apart from Grease, but who doesn’t like that)! Anyway, I went in pursuit of the man responsible for bringing it to the stage musical to the big screen, actor and director Dexter Fletcher. Dexter will be known to most people as Soap in Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Ssgt. John Martin in Band of Brothers. As a child actor he starred in Bugsy Malone, The Long Good Friday and The Elephant Man, and has since gone on to direct both Wild Bill and Sunshine on Leith.
Q. What attracted you to this project? Have you always been a fan of The Proclaimers?
A. I was approached by the producers and after reading the script, felt passionate about the project and got involved. I knew of the Proclaimers and the more I found out and listened to them the better it all got for me.
Q. Sunshine on Leith is, of course, based on the stage musical. Was it hard to adapt it from stage to screen?
A. The adaptation was fairly straight forward as I worked closely with Stephen Greenhorn the writer of the musical and the screenplay. He’s a great writer and was also passionate about the film.
Q. And The Proclaimers themselves were happy with the end result?
A. Charlie and Craig have always given their blessing and I believe them when they say they are very proud and happy.
Q. Were the actors singing live, or were the vocals dubbed on afterwards?
A. The actors sang to their own studio recordings just like all musicals of old. Only ‘Les Mis’ sang live on set cos they had loads of time and cash….
Q. Despite the films sunny exterior, it actually deals with some pretty weighty subject matters. Was it hard to balance the light and dark?
A. It’s always a balancing act with such material but without the dark it’s much harder to earn the lighter moments so I’m pleased with the results.
Q. Are you a fan of musicals in general?
A. Singin’ in the Rain and Cabaret are two of my favourite films, but they are exceptions not the rule.
Q. This is the second movie you’ve directed in the last three or four years. Is the acting career on the back burner for now?
A. For now yes. Directing is very time consuming.
Q. Acting wise, what has been your favourite role to date?
A. Directing is my new favourite role to date. That and Band of Brothers’ Ssgt Johnny Martin.
Q. Do you have any further films lined up to direct, or act in?
A. Yes but all very secret at the moment.
Q. Lastly, if you had to pick three films, and told you could only watch those three for ever, what would they be?
A. Singing’ in the Rain, Colour of Money, Black Cat White Cat.