He is the man behind The Doctor’s Case Dollar Baby Film.
SKSM: Could you start with telling me a bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Matt Matlovich: I currently live in Toronto, Ontario, but I grew up in a small town called Port Lambton. I attended the University of Western Ontario after high school, earning a double major in English and Film Studies and followed that up with a year at Sheridan College in an Advanced Film and Television Program, specializing in Screenwriting and Directing. After school, I started work at Bling Digital, a division of Sim Digital, which is a rental house for production gear. This is where I work today, operating as a post-engineering technician, which involves taking care of data management gear and coordinating rentals for commercials. However, I am foremost a screenwriter, and work on original scripts after my working hours. I am currently writing my fourth feature, and aim to submit to an agency within the year.
SKSM: When did you make The doctor’s case? Can you tell me a little about the production? How much did it cost? How long did it take to film it?
Matt Matlovich: The Doctor’s Case was a project I started back in 2011, as my first short film after film school. I had heard about Stephen King’s Dollar Baby program and promptly read every story available to option. I chose The Doctor’s Case because I enjoy a good mystery and found it out of the realm of a traditional Stephen King story. I then spent about 6 months adapting it, creating a teaser trailer and starting a Kickstarter campaign to raise funding. Principal photography started in October 2012 and spanned three weekends (5 days of shooting in total). Post-Production stretched into July 2013, with a total budget around $10,000.
SKSM: How come you picked The doctor’s case to develop into a movie? What is it in the story that you like so much?
Matt Matlovich: As I mentioned above, I read all of the Dollar Babies available and found The Doctor’s Case offered the most versatility for an adaptation. I was intrigued by the fact that it was Sherlock Holmes story, which would open it up to fans of both Holmes and King. However, I was most interested in the way it subverted a Holmes mystery, in that it’s really Watson’s case.
SKSM: Are you Stephen King fan? If so, which are your favorite works and adaptations?
Matt Matlovich: I am a huge fan of Stephen King, having read most of his books growing up and continue to grow my collection to this day (both his books and films). I have a special section in my movie collection dedicated to King adaptations. In line with my desire to make The Doctor’s Case because it is less of a traditional Stephen King story, my favourite film adaptations have to be The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption. These are two works that are often overlooked because they are not what you expect from Stephen King – they’re not horror movies. To pick a horror movie, it would have to be Carrie (the Sissy Spacek version).
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?
Matt Matlovich: I had found out about the program back in high school but did not have the resources to make a movie. I forgot about it until a friend mentioned it. I then did some more research into the program and decided I would take a crack at it.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when you made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Matt Matlovich: While it’s not a particular moment per se, I am most proud of how the ‘twinning’ turned out during Watson’s explanation of the crime. One issue with a dialogue heavy script was to keep things visual as Watson unravelled the clues. To do this, I thought it best to ‘see’ the crime happen as Watson explains it. I had completed a lot of tests up to this point and was very pleased with the end result. A huge kudos to my editor who also completed all of the VFX in order to make this stylistic idea become reality.
SKSM: Do you plan to screen the movie at a particular festival?
Matt Matlovich: The film has already screened at the Young Cuts Film Festival in Montreal and the Hamilton Film and Music Festival in Hamilton (both in Canada). It’s been difficult finding the right fit for the film, as it’s a fairly long short and very much a genre film. I am happy to have it considered for the Dollar Baby Festival, as it will provide the perfect audience for it.
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?
Matt Matlovich: I’m glad that there’s a festival such as this that would allow King fans to watch the movie. It is unfortunate that not everyone could watch it, and I would love to upload it to the Internet, but I understand the issues with the rights for the script and the legal issues that could exist if that were to happen.
SKSM: What “good or bad” reference have you received on your film?
Matt Matlovich: A lot of people have enjoyed the visual style of the film, in particular Holmes deduction methods. Overall people enjoy it, although sometimes the twist doesn’t come through entirely. This was a point of great debate during the editing process and, while I am happy with the finished product, it does require a few logic leaps to understand.
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)?
Matt Matlovich: I did not have any personal contact with King during the making of the movie. I’m also not sure if he saw it, but I did send him a DVD, so I hope so!
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?
Matt Matlovich: I do not have any current plans to make another movie based on Stephen King’s stories. But if I were to do another Dollar Baby, it would probably be Harvey’s Dream, because it’s a simple story and would be easy to shoot. I would also like to try The Last Rung on the Ladder or Willa, but those would take a lot of effort. If it were to be one of his novels, I would choose Bag of Bones. I haven’t seen the Pierce Brosnan adaptation, but it was one of the first books from King I read and it turned me onto his writing!
SKSM: What are you working at nowadays?
Matt Matlovich: I’m working on creating original spec screenplays at the moment. I currently have 4 in development. Two of them are near completion, while the other two require a few more drafts. My plan is to submit to a few literary agencies within the year and hopefully get representation. Writing scripts is my passion and I want to be able to do it full-time!
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to your fans?
Matt Matlovich: Haha, I do hope people enjoy The Doctor’s Case, and the only thing I can say is that it’s best to test out any visual effects shots before principal production. There were a number of different shots that I tested beforehand, which gave me a much better idea of how to get them on the day. It helped speed up production and made me extremely pleased with the final result.
SKSM: Do you have anything you’d like to add?
Matt Matlovich: I just want to thank you for taking the time to watch The Doctor’s Case and put a Dollar Baby Film Festival together. It was an honour to work with and adapt Mr. King’s work. While my adaptation may not be completely faithful (opting for the present day over a period piece), I feel it captures the inherent theme of King’s work, emphasizing Watson’s ability to solve a crime once he gains the self-confidence to do so.