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?
Mike Roberts: Well my name is Mike Roberts, professionally known as Michael J Roberts. I am a former national hip hop artist turned Writer/Director/Producer. After doing music nationally for nearly 13 years, I have now been a filmmaker for 11 years.
SKSM: Could you tell our readers the status of The doctor’s case or some updates?
Mike Roberts: The script has been adapted, and we have started putting together a fantastic crew. We have wonderful wardrobe designer Colleen Morris, who has quite a bit of big name films and tv shows under her belt, as well as Lynn Hull who just recently was in the camera department for the Marvel Movie Black Panther and the Netflix series Ozark. Both are huge Stephen King fans, and we’re excited to have them on board. We’re going to be looking at casting before summer, but we already have some great talent in mind.
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?
Mike Roberts: I grew up a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes. My father was probably one of the biggest Sherlock Holmes fans I ever knew. Sadly he passed away on my birthday in 2016, but the last book he read was The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. I chose this movie out of the love for the character, but also as a tribute to my father. Something I know he would have been proud of.
SKSM: It is The doctor’s case your debut as a director?
Mike Roberts: Actually, no. I have completed and released 11 projects prior. All of which can be found on IMDB. I recently just finished directing Season 1 of the sitcom “Vaughan” which is now available on Amazon Prime and other streaming services. The Doctor’s Case will be my 12th project, and I am super excited.
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?
Mike Roberts: I heard about the Dollar Babies program a few years ago. I had applied for a short story several years back and never got a reply. I was very excited when they emailed me back with the rights for The Doctor’s Case.
SKSM: How does it feel that all the King fans out there won’t see your movie? Do you think that will change in the future? Maybe a internet/dvd release would be possible?
Mike Roberts: For people that understand how the project works, I think it’s pretty understood that without King’s permission, the movie cannot be made available commercially, however we are hoping that most will be able to see via film festival showings. There is always the hope that while they might not be able to see this one, that future projects King may select us for could get theatrical releases. We will be shooting a behind the scenes documentary titled “Seeking Sherlock”, which will give people a chance to see the process of making the project and joining us on the journey to find the perfect Sherlock Holmes.
SKSM: I guess it’s very soon to asking this question but… where the premiere will be? Do you plan to screen the movie at a particular festival?
Mike Roberts: As of right now, we have a ton of festivals in mind. I have a personal relationship with many major film festivals, so the possibilities are wide open.
SKSM: Are you a Stephen King fan? If so, which are your favorite works and adaptations?
Mike Roberts: I am a pretty big King fan. I was born and raised in a town that is known for being the “Hollywood East” of the film industry. Screen Gems studios in Wilmington, NC has King to thank for there being a film industry here at all. He shot the movie Firestarter here which was the first big film to be shot in the area. He then returned to make The Cat’s Eye, Silver Bullet, Maximum Overdrive, and more recently, the entire series of Under the Dome shoots right here. I felt it would be a good thing to bring a King adaptation to the town that got it’s film start with King.
SKSM: Do you have any plans for making more movies based on Stephen King’s stories in the future? If you could pick -at least- one story to shoot, which one would it be and why?
Mike Roberts: As of right now, there are many stories I would love to shoot based on King’s work. I have heard the rumors of Pet Sematary 2 and The Stand, and would love to be a part of those. If I had to choose one, I think I would like to do The Regulators. I think it has a unique story that could be very fun.
SKSM: Are you working on another project besides this one?
Mike Roberts: I am currently working on 2 short films, and planning another TV series that will allbe produced by my production company D-Mentd Entertainment.
SKSM: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Mike Roberts: I think the most surprising thing would be that I got into film on accident. 12 years ago I wanted to do a music video for one of my songs. I wanted an epic video, similar to Thriller by Michael Jackson. I wanted it to be long and have a story to tell. After writing the script, some investors thought it would make a good film. So instead of shooting the music video, I shot my first feature film. It was a low budget horror film called “The Artifact“. After that I went on to do other films, and it just kind of grew from there. During the filming of The Artifact, I was definitely a rookie. I learned a lot from mistakes. Even though I never went to film school, I feel that being thrown into the fire and learning from real life on set situations, helped me become a better filmmaker than if I had attended any film school.
SKSM: What advice would you give to those people who want to be filmmakers?
Mike Roberts: The best advice is to just do it. Don’t let things hold you back. Once you get past the initial fear, throw your caution to the wind and get out there and make something. Ech project you do will give you practice and let you know what you have to improve on your next project. Don’t let things like budgets hold you back. Use your creativity to find a way to get it done. The most important thing is, no matter how good or bad, make sure you see your project to the end. A bad completed project is still better than the greatest project that never got shot.
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to your fans?
Mike Roberts: Wow I have fans? To anyone who would be reading this, I appreciate you taking the time and interest in my story. I am very excited to be working on this project with iconic characters and written by a very prestigious author. I hope it makes it to a festival near where ever you may be, and that you guys enjoy! Thank you for the opportunity to do this interview!
SKSM: Would you like to add something?
Mike Roberts: For more information on my projects you can check out my IMDB page. New projects get added all the time. I try to stay busy.