Dexter Fletcher had quite a streak going, making movies and television about real, actual people. There was Eddie the Eagle about an Olympic ski jumper. Then came Bohemian Rhapsody, where Bryan Singer is officially credited as director, but Fletcher is the one who came in and righted the ship. Then came the Elton John biopic Rocketman. Then Fletcher helmed the The Offer, about Al Ruddy’s experience producing The Godfather. His latest film, Ghosted, starring Chris Evans and Ana de Armas, contains no actual depictions of famous people. Which, when Fletcher thinks about it, yeah, it is a little liberating.
In Ghosted Chris Evans plays Cole, a man who just isn’t lucky with the ladies (Evans should probably win an Oscar for this portrayal). He meets Sadie (de Armas) and things are going well, until one day she stops replying and Cole does the thing he’s warned by everyone not to do: keep texting. He finds out she’s in London on business and decides it would be a good idea to fly there and surprise her. The surprise winds up being Sadie’s a spy and now Cole’s been also been targeted as a spy and his life is very much in danger. Ghosted is the kind of movie that in the ’90s would play in theaters and be a huge hit, but now lives on streamers. In this case, Apple+.
Speaking of The Offer, a couple of interesting things have happened since we last spoke to Fletcher. First, it turns out Al Pacino did watch The Offer and shared his opinion with Fletcher, and now Fletcher is sharing that exchange with us. And second, Al Ruddy, who produced The Godfather (played by Miles Teller in the series), went on to produce The Cannonball Run. I joked Fletcher should make a series about the making of that movie, to which he tells us that, yes, Al Ruddy wants Dexter Fletcher to make a straight-up reboot of The Cannonball Run. Honestly, this sounds like a great idea.
You finally made a movie that doesn’t involve real-life famous people.
Oh yeah, I know. It’s a departure for me. I know. It was difficult. I was like, who are these people? What on earth? What do you mean they’re not real? Very confusing.
Eddie the Eagle and then Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocket Man and The Offer … did it feel a little more freewheeling not to have to worry about a phone call from the actual people?
That’s true. I mean, yeah, you are not as restricted, I suppose. Not that I was massively restricted in those other films.
But it’s not the fact you did movies about actual people, it’s just you did so many in a row.
No, you’re right. And that wasn’t an intentional move. It was just how things were playing out. And I suppose I just, yeah, I don’t know. I didn’t even think about it like that. The Offer was 50 years ago…
Yeah, but a lot of them are still around. Those are still phone calls.
Yeah, they are still about. But in answer to your question, you’re right. But this was a lot of fun in terms of the, I suppose, you call it fantasy, but it’s not a fantasy film as such. But the element of fiction rather.
In a perfect world, would you have wanted people to come in to this thinking it was a full romantic comedy?
Yeah, I would I think, if I’m honest. Because we worked so hard at creating that meet cute kind of movie opening. And it gives the film a kind of authenticity, that relationship. I really wanted people to buy into, oh yeah, they’d be great together these two. And it’s a debate that we have with the marketing department. And they’re like, no, with streaming, the general consensus or the perceived way of thinking is you want to let people know what they’re going to get. So when they go, great, they know what they’re turning on for and the ride that they’re into. And I’m loathe to talk about many aspects of it. There are people in it as well that people get very excited about.
Okay, you brought that up. I’m not going to say who they are. But how did you get all those people? Obviously, Chris Evans has worked with a good number of them. So does he make calls? Do you make a call?
Yeah, Chris makes calls or I just say this person’s really interesting to me, I’d love to work with him, would you ask him? And they go, well, I’ll ask him. And they say, oh, he said yes. Right. Fantastic. Great.
I’m assuming Chris Evans liked playing a loser. Because in real life he’s really funny. I’ve interviewed him a couple of times before, and he was so funny I’m pretty sure I’m banned from talking to him now because it’s been over 10 years.
“He’s funny, man. He’s a funny dude.” That’s what they said to me about him. I was like, I’m interested in that. Because I agree, I think he’s really funny. But even his earlier work, if you go way back when, he’s funny.
Oh yeah. Not Another Teen Movie, even back that far, he’s hilarious in that.
He’s hilarious in it. I agree. And I even mentioned to him. And he went, “Really?” I was like, “I really fucking liked you in that movie when I saw it.”
Okay, I have an idea for you for a project. I’m going to see what you think of this.
Okay. All right.
The Offer 2 – The Cannonball Run. You can use Miles Teller again as Al Ruddy. He has to build the cast for The Cannonball Run.
Burt Reynolds! I’ve got to find the Dom DeLuise, right?
Yeah, and Roger Moore basically playing James Bond.
Roger Moore playing James Bond. Yeah, of course. There’s that. Yeah, that’s quite a cast you’d have to find there. Yeah, I’m up for it. Al Ruddy would definitely be up for it.
I have no doubt he’d like some more movies made about him.
He’s already asked me, “Hey, would you want to remake The Cannonball Run?”
Wait, he’s asked you just to remake the movie?
I’ve actually thought about this. The problem is you would need someone on a Tom Cruise level of fame like Burt Reynolds was then. But those people don’t do movies like The Cannonball Run anymore.
You’d need Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie.
Yeah, and George Clooney.
Leonardo DiCaprio, Clooney, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Christian Bale, there’s a whole raft of people that you really need.
If you got all the people you just mentioned, I think people would show up to see that movie.
If anyone got all of those people I just mentioned, they’d show up…
Yeah, but then put them behind some cool cars. Yeah, I think we’re talking now.
Were you happy with the reaction to The Offer? Because I feel like critics were mixed, but once people saw it, people really liked it. Everyone I know who has actually just sat down and watched it couldn’t stop watching it.
Yeah. Look, I mean, I get, it’s a really big thing to take on. It’s not The Offer you’re taking on, it’s The Godfather. You’re just trying to dance around the edge of something that’s so seminal for so many reasons.
When I spoke to you for The Offer, you said you hadn’t heard from anyone from the cast. So you mentioned you’ve known Al Pacino for a while. Now that it’s aired and it’s been out for a while, have you heard from anyone?
Well, I see Al Ruddy a lot. I know Al Ruddy, he’s lovely. And I spent more time with Pacino…
But did Al Pacino watch it?
Pacino did, yeah, and he likes it.
He comes off pretty well in that. He comes off as a serious actor who is hesitant to do it.
Yeah, Pacino’s good. He goes, “That’s what it was like.” He goes, “It’s like watching at home, it’s like watching my memories,” he said to me at one point. I mean, obviously, it’s 50 years ago, and we’re basing it on retold stories that have been retold a million times. But there’s something about it for him that I think captured the spirit of what was going on there for him. And each of their experience and memories of it are really personal. How Al Pacino talks about it is very different from how Al Ruddy speaks about it.
Yeah, exactly. But they love recounting the stories. And it brings up stuff in their memory and they go, oh fuck, yeah. And there was this guy and that thing happened. And then this woman came and did this. There’s all these sort of things it starts kicking off with them. So it’s a really good thing. Look, he’s really pleased with it. I don’t know about Coppola… I haven’t had a chance to speak to him. That would be the big one. But he’s rather busy in Atlanta I think by all accounts.
Yeah, he’s got his own movie he’s making.
He doesn’t need fanboying around him. But yeah. It’s the nice thing about Rocket Man, you meet certain people who were involved with Elton over his career and they go, yeah, you really found a moment there that I enjoyed. So that’s a real boost.
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