Your upcoming movie I Am the Doorway - in a few words, what
is it about?
I Am The Doorway is an adaptation of the original Stephen King story,
taken from his 1978 shorts collection Night Shift. It follows
a former astronaut Arthur, who returns a broken man from a deep space
mission gone wrong, and discovers that he may have brought something back
with him - something that makes him the doorway to an alien invasion...
How did the project fall together in the
Stephen King makes a selection of his short
stories available every year through his Dollar Baby scheme, and
successful applicants can have the rights to adapt them for just $1,
provided they make the film within 12 months. I was contacted in 2015 by
Jeffrey Stackhouse, one of our three writers, who told me he had acquired
the rights to Doorway and asked if I'd be interested to direct. We first
met at Shriekfest film festival in LA when I was screening my horror
feature Judas Ghost. Jeffrey really liked the film and thought I'd be a
good choice for this. I loved his take on it and the original so agreed
With I Am the Doorway being an
officially sanctioned Stephen King adaptation - is the man himself at all
involved with the making of the movie? And how close are you sticking to
your source material?
He isn't, no - but I know he is given
a copy of the finished film when we're done, so knowing he might
eventually see this one is pretty exciting, albeit nerve-wracking too!
We've stuck pretty closely to the story, but also added some of our own
layers (some of which might surprise you!) and expanded on some of its
themes. So I think it's something fans of the book will appreciate, but
gives you something a little different too that hopefully will provoke
some discussion too...
What can you tell us about your
screenwriters Jeffrey Stackhouse, Richard A. Becker and Wendy Lashbrook,
and what's your collaboration with them like?
only met Jeffrey in person - but I know their past work. I've read a
couple of their feature screenplays, both of which I really liked, and we
liaised closely on a detailed treatment for this before they went ahead
and wrote the script. It's been a very enjoyable collaboration - they are
not only great writers, but very smart and have an encyclopedic knowledge
of the genre too, which is useful when you're trying to craft something
that will stand out and resonate with the horror community!
words about your movie's approach to horror (as in suspense vs sudden
shocks, atmosphere vs all-out gore and the like)?
say it's certainly more about atmosphere - I think there's a real
preference amongst what I guess I would call "Hollywood horror"
for shock or jump scares - to the point where a lot of people I think
define how scary a movie is by how much they jumped! It's not often I see
something now which genuinely creeps me out and stays with me long after
I've watched it. That's really what we want to try and do with this - as
with Arthur in the story, we want to get under your skin, not just with
the horror, but some of the other themes we're exploring too.
There is some gore in there as well for good measure of course! But it's
all in service to the story, there's nothing gratuitous about it. One of
our main focuses as well is in constantly framing the horror, no matter
how dark it gets, against beauty - be that in the framing of the camera,
location or the action on screen.
the looks of it, I Am the Doorway seems to demand quite a bit of
effects work - so do talk about that aspect of your movie!
certainly does - and it's FX work I really wanted to do practically. I
think audiences today are very savvy to the use of CGI, and sometimes
there can be a too polished/digital feel to it. I use the latest
Independence Day Resurgence trailer as a reference - admittedly I haven't
seen the movie, but it feels off to me because of all the CG in the
trailer vs. the model work in the original - it almost looks too 'clean'
if that makes sense. Classic body horror movies like The Thing or The Fly
say, capture a feeling I just don't think you can achieve with computer
animation - we are using some of that too, but only small amounts to
supplement the practical. I'm thrilled to say we have a great FX company
on board - Illusion Industries, and they've done some amazing work for the
likes of Blade, Pirates of the Caribbean and The Mask! It's a pretty
impressive CV and I have a lot of confidence we can achieve what we want
with this film with their team behind us.
can you tell us about your movie's intended overall look and feel?
I said, the contrast of horror and beauty is a real recurring motif for
us, so as much as some of the events in this film are pretty horrific we
want to frame that within gorgeous wide-screen set-pieces and use a lot of
vivid colours - as opposed to the oft-seen cool or saturated look you get
with a lot of horrors.
you can tell us about your cast yet, and why exactly these people?
will say watch this space - we have someone for Arthur but I can't
announce it just yet! Check out our IndieGoGo - www.igg.me/at/doorway2016
- page for all the latest, and
follow us on Twitter and Facebook - @doorway2016 and www.facebook.com/Iamthedoorway2016. It's someone I've worked with before and
he's the first one I pictured when I read the script, so I'll be thrilled
if we get him.
far as I know, I Am the Doorway is still in its fundraising stages
- so what can you tell us about your campaign?
slightly tricky thing with these Dollar Babies is that they are strictly
non-profit, so fund-raising becomes a little harder as you can't offer
potential investors any sort of return, though admittedly on a short that
is limited anyway. It's something you do because you're passionate about
it and believe in the final film - it's not a business decision. So the
key thing is to hopefully relay that to other movie and horror fans to
invite them on-board with you. Having the King name attached to this helps
of course, but equally a lot of these films have been made over the years
- so why is yours any more or less deserving? I would love for readers to
take the time just to watch our 3 minute campaign video and I hope that
that will convince them of what I already believe. We have a great team
already and a fantastic script to work from and I know have a chance to
make something here that is truly special. Check our campaign out at www.igg.me/at/doorway2016
funds are raised, what's the schedule - and even if it's probably waaay
too early to ask, any idea when I Am the Doorway will be released
onto the general public?
We're planning to shoot in late
May/early June for 5 or 6 days. Post-production I imagine will take us
toward the end of the year, so you're looking at a festival run most
probably starting in early 2017. That said, it would be great to debut
around Halloween this year so hopefully we'll be able to submit a work in
progress to a few different horror festivals ahead of that. Watch this
space! We will also have a private UK and US premiere, and one of our
perks on the crowd-fund can get you tickets to that so do check that out
if you're interested!
Any future projects beyond I
Am the Doorway?
I'm currently working closely with a
good friend of mine here in the UK, Chris Marshfield, on a feature script
for a British action thriller. It's a genre I love but haven't really had
the chance to play with yet, so I'm looking forward to that. I also
produced and wrote a 10 part science fiction web series last year called Horizon, which is available online now, and we plan to shoot our second
and final series this summer.
What got you into filmmaking in the
first place, and did you receive any formal education on the subject?
had a natural interest from a young age as both my parents are in the
industry - my mum is a make-up artist and my dad is a camera-man. Then
when I was 10 or 11 I started shooting shorts with the family video
camera, purely as a way to stem boredom initially! I would just make up
stories on the spot with my friends, but I loved the process right away -
just something about planning each shot, positioning actors and camera
angles... I knew then it's what I wanted to do for a living and slowly the
things I made became more and more advanced as I learnt to edit and use
things like light and sound equipment.
My only formal training was at a weekly Production Skills workshop here in
my hometown that ran for 10 week terms, just two hours on a Monday night
at the local TV studio. The tutor, Paul Dudbridge, and I are now great
friends - and he taught me a lot of practical film-making techniques early
on. I didn't go to university or film school no, I just started taking any
job I could, once I was old enough, to get me on a film set - be that as a
runner, sound, camera or video assistant - and just worked my way up from
there. I think learning by doing is the best way.
can you tell us about your filmwork prior to I Am the Doorway?
guess I'd say it's been varied! It's funny how you plan for one thing or
assume your career will take a certain path and then something totally
different happens. My first feature was in 2008, I got to that through a
24 fan film I was making at the time, of all things, when one of the
actors put me in touch with his two friends who had written it and needed
a director. That feature was Shank, a gritty coming of age drama about a
young boy in a gang struggling with his sexuality. This was certainly not
a subject I'd ever thought I'd be tackling but the writers responded
really well to the shorts I'd made beforehand, and stylistically and
tonally my work was a good match for their script. That then led to Judas
Ghost, my first horror feature, another surprise in many ways as I'd never
been a big fan or follower of the horror genre. Of course now I've watched
a lot of them as research for that film and am much more into it. I'd love
to do another and I Am the Doorway is the perfect opportunity.
would you describe yourself as a director?
That's quite a
tough one - I feel you'd be better off asking other people! I would say I
come from quite a technical background, having worked previously as a
camera operator and editor, so I approach the things I make very much from
that point of view. My preference is to shoot and edit fast and I am a fan
of the handheld/documentary style - which I'm sure will have a few readers
rolling their eyes as I know it gets over-used these days! We're taking a
much more traditional approach for I Am the Doorway though.
who inspire you?
I love quite gritty and dark movies - Paul
Greengrass, Michael Mann (Collateral is one of my favourites), Joe
Carnahan (Narc, The Grey), Christopher Nolan, recently Denis Villeneuve
after Sicario and Prisoners. Christopher McQuarrie I like too, and Gareth
Evans (The Raid).
Your favourite movies?
The Bourne Supremacy/Ultimatum, Narc, Die Hard, Batman
Begins, The Usual
Suspects - I must admit I'm also a big sucker for the Fast and Furious
and of course, films you really deplore?
I don't know if I
have any films I actually deplore! I think it's rare for me to truly hate
a movie - although saying that the trailer for Grimsby starring Mark
Strong and Sacha Baron Cohen makes me want to gouge my eyes out at the
moment if that counts??
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
You can find me
on Twitter @cbaproductions, my website is
Am The Doorway our social media links are: @doorway2016,
and our IndieGoGo is www.igg.me/at/doorway2016.
you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
plug alert - my first horror feature Judas Ghost is available now on DVD
and Digital. You can find it on Amazon. Also, my web series Horizon which
I mentioned earlier is available at
If you're a horror or sci-fi fan check them out!
for the interview!
Thanks Michael, I really appreciate it!