He is the man behind Flowers For Norma Dollar Baby Film.
SKSM: Could you start with telling me a bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Juan Pablo Reinoso: My name is Juan Reinoso and I am an independent film writer/producer/director. I own a small production company called Wayfinder Films. Before starting the company I worked as an Assistant Director on hundreds of national commercials and music videos. But I come from an acting background in the theater originally, having started as an actor at the age of 6 and actively through my early adulthood. I do still act a bit, though I began directing small things in the theater when I was 16 and have basically found myself truly in love with that over all else.
SKSM: When did you make Flowers for Norma? Can you tell me a little about the production? How much did it cost? How long did it take to film it?
Juan Pablo Reinoso: We shot the film for 3 days over the second weekend of November in 2009. It was filmed entirely on location throughout Brooklyn. As for what it cost, I will let that remain a mystery. Obviously to maintain the period elements of 1963 it was very difficult, but it was pulled off beautifully my fantastic production designer and art department. Overall, it was an incredibly smooth shoot with very little problems. I always insist that my sets be enjoyable atmospheres for every single person involved. I like to think that helps move things along more smoothly. I love what I do and love making sure the team around me feels that love.
SKSM: How come you picked Flowers for Norma to develop into a movie? What is it in the story that you like so much?
Juan Pablo Reinoso: I was a huge Stephen King fan growing up. The story had always stuck in the back of my mind. I hadn’t read a Stephen King story or book since high school (graduated in 1993), but that story just always lingered there. In order to continue building my reputation as a director I decided I should definitely do something a bit more ‘high profile’. And that story instantly popped back up in my mind. While it has a very violent and shocking ending, I always saw it more as a metaphor to the decay of the United States and New York City during that period in history, both morally and physically. The 60s were a massive turning point in history beginning with the shocking assassination of a beloved President and then our entry into the Vietnam conflict. And the city of New York, once a thriving and joyous melting pot of life, slowly began its descent into drugs and desperation. When I first moved to NYC I arrived just before the great ‘clean-up’ of the Mayor Giullianni. I saw first hand how the city began to change again and become a thriving and safe place to be. And I feel that by exploring tragic moments in our histories, both personal and international, are the only ways we can truly learn and grow. The Young Man of the story became a metaphor for the death of joy and love and prosperity and the descent into madness, chaos. The question is, Will we ever rise out of that chaos again? I am an optimist, but only because I like to see through the chaos into possibility.
SKSM: For what reasons did you changed the original title (The Man Who Loved Flowers) into Flowers for Norma?
Juan Pablo Reinoso: There is a romantic element to the film that we delved into more detail on from the story. We really wanted to show why this man was so in love. So we added the character of Norma (the name he whispers at the end of the story) and gave a past to this character. It became more about the loss of this great love in his life than just about him.
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?
Juan Pablo Reinoso: Well, I had heard from a friend of mine who had tried to adapt this same story that the option was offered for $1. I honestly had no idea that that was a regular thing and that there was this sort of small culture of ‘Dollar Babies’. It was all new to me. Since I’ve been in the business for a long time I knew the steps to take to get the rights to something, but I didn’t know it would only be $1.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when you made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Juan Pablo Reinoso: Bloopers are always my favorite part of the job. There was a moment when I made my cameo in the film and I unintentionally made one of our stars, Chris Mulkey, break character and start laughing. Problem is, we couldn’t STOP laughing. And he is a very well known character actor from hundreds of movies and hundreds of television shows. So I enjoyed that moment in particular.
SKSM: How does it feel that all the King fans out there can’t see your movie? Do you think that will change in the future? Maybe a internet/dvd release would be possible?
Juan Pablo Reinoso: I have to admit that it does sadden me a little that the only legitimate way for fans to see these works is to go to the film festivals where they may show. I don’t know if there is a DVD collection of these works planned or not, but I think that would be a fabulous concept. At the same time, I respect the reasoning behind the choice not to allow it for consumption on the internet. I think the honor of being able to make films out of the shorter works of Stephen King is a great opportunity for any filmmaker. It allows you to bring to life the world of one of the greatest living writers and that alone is an honor. I believe it is an important stepping stone for those who are truly dedicated to the art form. And for Stephen King and his camp to be so open and supportive of young or up-and-coming filmmakers is a blessing. It helps one hone their craft with great material and hopefully continue to grow as an artist. I very appreciative of this. So regardless of any release, I can not complain. I am very fortunate.
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)?
Juan Pablo Reinoso: We did not have direct contact with him, no. But he was actually in NYC while we were shooting. But I wouldn’t have expected him to come if he had known about it. He’s a busy man, I’m sure, to say the least. He has not seen it yet as we are now in the final stages of color-correction on the film. Once it is done we will be sending it to them.
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?
Juan Pablo Reinoso: Ahhhh, yes, I do have hopes of adapting another story. I would like to do a feature length film based on another one of his much older short stories. Another one that has stuck in my mind for a long time. But I’m not going to say which one. We will leave it a mystery for now.
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to your fans?
Juan Pablo Reinoso: I do want to thank everyone for being a part of this culture. It’s very fascinating and exciting. I just hope you can all lend your support as much as possible. Have discussions on imdb or other forums about the film. Start conversations. Any and all support would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much for letting be a part of the interview!