picture: Mark McFarlane.
I was so excited to hear about a movie version of I AM THE DOORWAY that I had to contact Mark McFarlane and get some more info. Turns out he is a huge Stephen King fan, and gave a great interview. Have fun. . .
TalkStephenKing: Hi. Thank you so much for agreeing to my interview. Constant Readers are always excited to hear about a new Stephen King project. Yours looks really unique! I really do look forward to seeing your work on screen! Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Mark McFarlane: My name is Mark G. McFarlane, I come from a small mining village called New Cumnock in Ayrshire, Scotland, and I've been a filmmaker for the past three or so years. I previously worked as a graphic designer for a fashion retailer (who have since gone bust), before realising that I wasn't doing what I needed to be doing. I quit my job and eventually got my degree from the University of Cumbria. It was at university I formed Toecutter Productions with my producer David C. Box. I also met my fiancee at uni, and thanks to her I'm now I'm in Dorset, making a Stephen King film. I have a good life!
TSK: What is the expected length of the film?
McFarlane: I'm aiming to keep the film under 45mins, anything over that would keep me from showing it at short film festivals. Plus, I can't afford to make a feature. Yet.
TSK: When do you expect to release the film?
McFarlane: At this moment in time I really couldn't guess as to when the film would be released, but I'm hoping at some point in 2011.
TSK: How far are you in the process? Is the script complete?
McFarlane: I'm currently on draft 5 of the script and it's looking good. Once it has been completed my producer and I will discuss it and decide whether it's ready to be sent out to actors. I have several high profile actors in mind for the main parts, but obviously I can't comment on that any further at this time. I'm also in negotiations with the owners of what is quite possibly the most perfect location possible for my adaptation. All in all, the project is in a very good place right now.
TSK: Why did you choose "I AM THE DOORWAY"?
McFarlane: I have to say 'I Am The Doorway' wasn't my first choice! I'd stupidly gone ahead and started work on an adaptation of 'The Jaunt', before bothering to check if it was available. It was only after I ran into some creative difficulties that I got around to checking the website. I was quite relieved when I saw it was unavailable, as at the time it was giving me quite a headache. When I saw that 'I Am The Doorway' was available, the central image - a man with eyes in his hands - immediately leaped into my mind and I knew that this was the project for me. I also got an instant gut feeling of how to tell a version of the story, on a budget that was viable.
TSK: You said in a recent interview that you wanted to give Bridport exposure. What would you like people to know about Bridport?
McFarlane: Since moving to Bridport I've been genuinely taken aback by the creative atmosphere in the town. Musicians, artists, photographers, sculptors, the place is brimming with them. To make things even better, there is a fantastic support structure in place for the arts in Bridport. It is a wonderful, beautiful place to live and be creative, and I'd like others to be able to see Bridport in that way.
TSK: Do you expect the movie to be seen in the States?
McFarlane: I fully expect 'I Am The Doorway' to be seen in America. There are numerous Dollar Baby film festivals, not to mention all the other horror film festivals that will be only to keen to have another Stephen King film.
TSK: What movies have most influenced you as a film-maker?
McFarlane: Considering that my favourite director is David Lynch, his only influence on my film-making style is his use of sound. I think his use of sound and music in films like 'Wild At Heart' and 'Blue Velvet' is absolutely stunning. Visually my biggest influence has to be John Carpenter. I think 'The Thing' is just untouchable when it comes to horror cinema. And if I could make something like 'Escape from New York' in my career, I think I'd die pretty satisfied.
TSK: Are you a Stephen King fan?
McFarlane: I'm a massive Stephen King fan, not just as an author but as a person. Every time I pick up a King book, I feel like he's talking directly to me. And I could listen to the guy talk all day if I could. I'd like to meet him some day...
TSK: Which of King’s books resonate with you?
McFarlane: I tend to have a short attention span and therefore have an annoying tendency to lose interest in novels. One day I found 'Skeleton Crew' in a charity shop, found that it was full of short stories, and bought it for something ridiculous like 50p. The first story I read was 'The Mist' and it remains my favourite King story of all time. I've re-read it every few months since that day. I love the concept of the story, and that every single person in that supermarket feels absolutely real. I was ecstatic when I found out Frank Darabont was making it, and even more so when I saw it an realised it was exactly as I'd imagined it. I've even come to terms with that ending... I also have to say that I was given the Dark Tower series as a gift a few Christmases ago. I'd never really fancied it, but gave it a go to be polite. I read the Gunslinger in a day. The rest followed after that (not quite so quickly given their size). I absolutely love the Dark Tower, and when 'I Am The Doorway' eventually makes it onto the screen, some sharp eyed Tower fans may get a little surprise or two!
TSK: Other than King, what authors have impacted you?
McFarlane: Everyone's going to think this ones too obvious, but I love H.P. Lovecraft. 'At The Mountains of Madness' is an incredible story, as is 'The Dunwich Horror'. I'm also a big fan of Charles Stross, who wrote an amazing Lovecraftian Cthulu story called 'A Colder War'. It's fantastic and really worth checking out.
TSK: Have you seen other Dollar Babies? What did you think?
McFarlane: I'm sad to say I haven't seen any of them yet, but a friend of mine James Cole, who directed 'The Last Rung on the Ladder', is sending me a copy soon...
TSK: Thank you so much for taking the time to share with us. This sounds really exciting.
McFarlane: Thank you for the interview, I very much enjoyed answering your questions and I'd be happy to do so again, any time.
IN CLOSING. . . I had a great time communicating with Mark McFarlane. He did point that Frank Darabont got start as a Dollar Baby - he made The Woman in the Room - and is regarded as the first DB. Shawshank came later.