Andrew Fleming

Active - 1975 - 2020  |   Born - Mar 14, 1963   |   Genres - Comedy, Horror

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Biography by Nathan Southern

A onetime childhood actor and the scion of moviemaking parents, director Andrew Fleming graduated from NYU's exclusive Tisch film school and began his Hollywood career like many upstarts, by helming exploitation material, in this case, under the aegis of Terminator and Aliens progenitor Gale Ann Hurd, with the gruesome and dour 1988 shocker Bad Dreams. This gorefest -- a thinly-disguised derivation of Wes Craven's Nightmare on Elm Street series (with the lead actress from the third installment in that franchise) concerns Cynthia (Jennifer Rubin), an unfortunate young woman who falls into the clutches of a demented cult leader, narrowly escapes being burned to death by him, and wakes up in a hospital ward only to be pursued and psychologically tortured by the psycho's evil spirit. The film did only a fraction of the business of, say, the previous year's Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, but it did earn a few favorable reviews even as it repulsed critics such as Roger Ebert.

Thereafter, Fleming's career waxed extremely uneven from a critical standpoint, though his grosses remained generally favorable throughout and the projects kept rolling in. For the most part, in the projects that he scripted or co-scripted, he unveiled a propensity for a lightly satirical take on American life.

From a qualitative standpoint, Fleming did much to cement his reputation with his much different follow up to Bad Dreams, the 1994 Threesome, a critically favored Gen-X romantic comedy (which the director also scripted) about a ménage-a-trois that "accidentally" transpires in an all-male dorm when a sexy young woman named Alex (Lara Flynn Boyle) is mistaken for a young man. Fleming returned to supernatural horror -- albeit in a somewhat lighter and more satirical vein -- with the popular teen witchcraft tale The Craft (1996). Unfortunately, the satirical comedy Dick (1999) (which Fleming also co-scripted) arguably demonstrated the director's most intuitive and mature filmmaking skills and drew critical raves as one of the sleepers of the year, but failed to connect with a sizeable audience; it told a droll revisionist version of the Watergate events by reimagining the "Deep Throat" news source as two spunky teenage girls (Kirsten Dunst and Michelle Williams).

In the years that followed, studios tapped Fleming as a director-for-hire on two very different projects, both reasonably successful: the comedy remake The In-Laws (2003), starring Michael Douglas and Albert Brooks as relatives-to-be who get whisked off on a global espionage adventure, and the popular Nancy Drew (2007), one of the first big-screen cinematizations of Carolyn Keene's famous female detective. Fleming then co-wrote and directed the comedy Hamlet 2 (2008), with Steve Coogan as a high school drama professor who attempts to save his flagging theater department by mounting an onstage sequel to Shakespeare's famous tragedy.

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