He is the man behind Popsy Dollar Baby Film.
SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Jon Mann: I grew up in Fredericton, New Brunswick, which is about 200 miles from King’ childhood home. I was always obsessed with movies and started to take them more seriously during my undergraduate degree. After my undergrad I studied screenwriting at the New York Film Academy New York Film Academy and have been writing and making movies ever since.
SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become a filmmaker?
Jon Mann: Pretty young, but without realizing. I can remember begging my parents for a video camera at a young age, and editing movies in middle school, but not knowing that my obsession was about filmmaking. I watched movies and television constantly growing up, but it was not until university that I realized I had a constant whisper in my ear that wasn’t going to go away if I just ignored it.
SKSM: How come you picked Popsy to develop into a movie? What is it in the story that you like so much?
Jon Mann: My mom introduced me to Stephen King, and I can remember her always talking about a short story with a twist ending, and a kid yelling “Popsy!” She got a huge kick out of the ending. That always stuck with me. When I saw that Popsy was available, I knew it would translate well into a short film. It was a no-brainer.
SKSM: How did you find out that King sold the movie rights to some of his stories for just $1? Was it just a wild guess or did you know it before you sent him the check?
Jon Mann: Honestly, I thought it was an urban legend. I had heard about them before but never took it seriously. It seemed too good to be true. On a whim, I applied with the script for Popsy, and fortunately they liked what I offered, and we were accepted.
SKSM: What “good or bad” reviews have you received on your film?
Jon Mann: So far, so good! Someone recently called it a a “terrifying fairytale,” which is a huge compliment. I think it speaks to all the hard work that was put into the film – especially the crew. I had a vision, but without them I would not have been able to execute. Fortunately we have had nothing but positive feedback for the film.
SKSM: Are you a Stephen King fan? If so, which are your favorite works and adaptations?
Jon Mann: He’s my literary idol. I feel like I’m cheating by saying this, but The Shining is a masterpiece of a movie. Arguably, it is the greatest director of all-time’s greatest movie. I say that knowing the animosity between Mr. King and Mr. Kubrick. Stand By Me is my sister’s favourite movie, and my family had a huge influence on my movie appreciation. Shawshank cuts me up, too. “Hope is a good thing. Maybe the best thing.” So good.
SKSM: Did you have any personal contact with King during the making of the movie? Has he seen it (and if so, what did he think about it)?
Jon Mann: I received a very nice letter from Mr. King early on in the process. I hope he gets to see the film. It means a lot to receive the author’s good graces for an adaptation.
SKSM: Do you have any plans for making more movies based on Stephen King’s stories? If you could pick -at least- one story to shoot, which one would it be and why?
Jon Mann: I’d love to. I always wanted to make ‘Salem’s Lot, but sounds like I am too late. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon would make for an amazing movie if it were done correctly. Actually, wait. Fair Extension. There is something about that story that stuck with me. It’s themes could translate well to film — especially in 2019.
SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?
Jon Mann: I have a television show that was optioned, and I am always working on new material. I have a short film Missy that was purchased for distribution through the Canadian Broadcast Company, and I’d love to develop that into a feature. I have a new idea for a short that I am particularly excited about that I am going to try and shoot this summer.
SKSM: What one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Jon Mann: Ahh. I think I’m a pretty open book? It’s not overly-interesting, but I was born on Halloween. Some people like to make the connection between horror and me being born on October 31st. I don’t even love Halloween, per se. More of a Christmas guy, myself.
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?
Jon Mann: Trump lost the popular vote in 2016.