Dexter Fletcher

A child actor in such hit British dramas as "The Long Goodbye" (1979) and "The Elephant Man" (1980), Dexter Fletcher matured into a capable character player in his adult years, as well as a gifted director of music-driven films like "Rocketman" (2019). Born January 31, 1966 in the London borough of Enfield, England, he was raised, along with his brothers Graham Fletcher-Cook and Steve Fletcher - both of whom would also become actors - by the educator parents in the suburban districts of Woodford Green and Palmers Green. Dexter Fletcher attended the Anna Scher Theatre School and performed on stage before making his screen debut as the "down and out" Baby Face in Alan Parker's cult musical "Bugsy Malone" (1976). He worked steadily in his late adolescence and early teens, appearing in major film and television productions like "The Long Good Friday" (1979) with Bob Hoskins and Helen Mirren, David Lynch's "The Elephant Man" (1980) and "The Bounty (1984), with Mel Gibson and Anthony Hopkins. His breakout role came on television as an American teenager in the popular comedy series "Press Gang" (ITV, 1989-1993), about the staff of a school newspaper. The critical praise afforded to the film led to other acting opportunities for Fletcher, most notably starring roles in "The Raggedy Rawney" (1988) and the romantic comedy "The Rachel Papers" (1988) with Ione Skye. But his acting career cooled in the wake of "Press Gang's" conclusion in 1993, and a mounting struggle with drug dependency led to him declaring bankruptcy and for a period of time, living in his car. Fletcher slowly rebounded with the help of friend and actor Alan Rickman, who introduced him to Lithuanian opera director Dallia Ibelhauptaite, who not only provided him with work but emotional stability that led to their marriage in 1997. The following year, Fletcher landed his comeback role as a would-be gangster in Guy Ritchie's "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" (1998). A major hit in England and a cult favorite in the United States, the film reignited Fletcher's acting career, which would soon include Mike Leigh's "Topsy-Turvy" (1999), a starring role as a British soldier in the Steven Spielberg-produced "Band of Brothers" (HBO, 2001) and for "Smoking Barrels" producer Matthew Vaughn, roles in "Layer Cake" (2004), "Stardust" (2007) and "Kick-Ass" (2010). In 2012, Fletcher made his debut as co-writer and director with "Wild Bill," a crime comedy with Andy Serkis and Olivia Williams. The feature was a critical success and was soon followed by "Sunshine on Leith" (2013), a film version of the musical of the same name with songs by the Scottish duo the Proclaimers. It, too, was a critical hit, and paved the way for his debut as director on an American co-production: "Eddie the Eagle" (2015), with Taron Egerton as the real-life British ski jump competitor and Hugh Jackman as his coach, was the highest grossing British film released that year, and a modest hit for its Stateside distributor, 20th Century Fox. The studio then tapped Fletcher to finish "Bohemian Rhapsody" (2018), its long-gestating biopic of Queen singer Freddie Mercury, but a change in the film's focus from a gritty R-rated drama to a more audience-friendly, PG-13 release led to his departure from the project. Undaunted, he reteamed with Vaughn for "Rocketman" (2019), another biopic of a '70s rock icon - Elton John - but as the pair began pre-production, Vaughn was contacted by a Fox executive to assist in completing "Rhapsody," which had lost its director, Bryan Singer, with three weeks left in production. Vaughn referred Fletcher, who was brought in to complete the project, for which he received an executive producer credit. Fletcher then returned to "Rocketman," with Egerton as John, which opened in the summer of 2019 to positive reviews and a worldwide gross of $139 million.