He is the man behind Maxwell Edison. The Man Who Loved Flowers Dollar Baby Film.
SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Warren Ray: My name is Warren Ray. I’m a singer-songwriter musician /recording artist. I was a professional child actor. In my late twenties I got involved in doing film work and started acting again I have since been in about 15 Independent films.
SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become a filmmaker?
Warren Ray: When I was a boy my father was a stage actor he also was a technical director and set designer for theater. At a young age I knew I wanted to be involved in making movies. initially I wanted to do special effects I was fascinated with miniature models, spaceship design and robotics. My parents were both theater folks and that’s how I got involved in acting.
SKSM: When did you make Maxwell Edison? Can you tell me a little about the production? How much did it cost? How long did it take to film it?
Warren Ray: Maxwell Edison was filmed in 2011 I believe, although I had done some small Parts in film work previously, I had just finished starring in my first feature film called “Nothing in the flowers.” That film was directed by David Brewer in 2010. After that film was completed, I asked David to became the cinematographer on “Maxwell Edison” because we had just completed a feature film together and had developed a sort of shorthand understanding for each other and I knew we worked well together. I had a few months preparation before filming, I believe it took us 4 days of shooting then another few weeks to edit. I think the film ended up costing about $500 to shoot.
SKSM: How come you picked The man who loved flowers to develop into a movie? What is it in the story that you like so much?
Warren Ray: When I read The Man Who loved flowers it didn’t contain much dialogue and presented a visual challenge. Because I didn’t want to do a film with a bunch of voice over narration. Someone I respected had said a bunch of narration is the easy way out in filmmaking, So I thought a 60s mod style film might be interesting to try and pull off.
SKSM: Maxwell Edison it’s not only based on Stephen King’s story, but also on the Beatles song ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer. Can you tell me how the idea came about?
Warren Ray: When I read The Man Who Loved flowers it reminded me of the Beatles song Maxwell’s Silver Hammer. It made me wonder if mr. King had not been inspired by The Beatles tune when he wrote the short story, so I thought it may be interesting to do a mash-up version of the two. Because The Man Who Loved flowers had already been shot by a few other Dollar Baby film and I wanted mine to be different and unique.
SKSM: Music is a very important part in Maxwell Edison film. I read that you had a good experience in music before making the movie.
Warren Ray: I had been a singer-songwriter recording artist and had enjoyed some very limited success in trying to be a rockstar for several years, so music played a big part in my life and all my favorite films always had the best music in them. My favorite films seem to be the ones that the music had a very intricate part in their success. Films like 2001, Saturday Night Fever, Rocky, Star Wars, anything Quentin Tarantino ever did.
SKSM: Your short film was the first Dollar Baby to be shot in 3D. Can you tell me about it?
Warren Ray: Actually Maxwell Edison was shot in a regular form then it was transferred inside a computer program that transferred the film into the old school 3D format the kind that you wear the red and blue glasses in order to see it in 3 dimension, Not the modern type of 3D we now enjoy in movie theaters. This appealed to me because of the Retro vibe that I had chosen to give this particular Film Production. And the thought of everyone wearing paper glasses in order to enjoy my film you made me grin. Unfortunately when projected on big screen it doesn’t work as well in 3D as it does on a small screen like a computer or a television. So therefore we have a regular and a 3D version of maxwell Edison.
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?
Warren Ray: I had seen a version of “In the Death Room” that was screening at a film festival in which another one of my films called “Super Rocket V8” was also playing. Of course I was curious how they procured the rights to a Stephen King story, I did some research and the rest is history.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when you made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Warren Ray: I don’t know if it would considered funny or not but in the opening sequence where Maxwell is walking under the Skyway along the River Bank. That is kind of a sketchy area for crime also with homeless folks living in tent Camps… so me walking around in a suit and tie carrying a flower box with a big red bow on it and David with his expensive camera gear made for an interesting spectacle for sure. It was just the two of us down there under the Skyway shooting that footage so we had to watch our backs in fear of losing the camera gear or someone assuming I had money because I was wearing a suit. A few fellows did come out of the bushes and watch us from a distance, I think they thought we were doing some type of wedding photography or something, then the scenes that I’m walking around downtown in the city some people were congratulating me, I think they thought it was my wedding day, that was kind of funny it was easier not to explain what we were really doing.
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?
Warren Ray: Today at Maxwell Edison has screened in 14 different countries including Russia two times at various Dollar Baby film festivals. Of course I would love to see it released on DVD with other dollar babies as an anthology. At the time of this interview we are in the midst of the Corona virus pandemic and there is talk of trying to organize and online Dollar Baby Film Festival. I hope to be involved in that Festival but as I understand they are still trying to get permission from mr. King’s office to do so.
SKSM: What “good or bad” reviews have you received on your film?
Warren Ray: For the most part reviews have been favorable. My favorite review however was one that said that the film looked beautiful and was stylish and had a great music score but it contained a gratuitous Gore scene at the end that went on for too long. That review struck me is pretty hilarious. Considering we had already edited out at least a minute of bloody Gore the film had contained before the Final Cut.
SKSM: Do you plan to screen the movie at a particular festival?
Warren Ray: As I have mentioned before Maxwell Edison has screened several Dollar Baby festivals All Over America, in Spain, the Netherlands, Canada and Russia. At this point I’m hoping that the online film festival becomes a reality and that they are able to obtain permission from mr. King’s office in order to do so.
SKSM: Are you a Stephen King fan? If so, which are your favorite works and adaptations?
Warren Ray: I like The Shining although Stanley Kubrick took some liberties with the original story. I have no right to complain about that because I have done the same thing myself with The Man Who Loved flowers. The Cycle of the werewolf novella I believe it’s my favorite text, I don’t care for the adaptation called “Silver Bullet” I thought it gave away the Whodunnit Style plot much too early in the story line. How many times written text doesn’t transfer to film very well and it poses a challenge for the filmmaker. I would like to have a crack at filming cycle of the werewolf and staying more true to the original text. When I first started reviewing the various short stories available for the Dollar Baby program I had hopes that Cycle of the werewolf was among them sadly it was not, but actually deserves a feature film presentation anyway.
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)?
Warren Ray: No, I have only communicated with mr. King’s office staff but I hope someday he will see Maxwell Edison of course.
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?
Warren Ray: As I said before Cycle of the werewolf would be my choice if I had the opportunity to film another Stephen King story.
SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?
Warren Ray: I had a lead role in a new horror Anthology called “Cryptids” I hope that will be released this year. I am currently working on mastering a music recording project I finnished recently, it is a 6 song EP entitled “Alberta” it was done on Antiquated 70s 2-inch tape gear, so that posed some technical challenges and difficulties but it has a warm sound and I look forward two people hearing it.
I also have a starring role in “Nathan Thomas Milner’s” next feature film called “On a Dark and Bloody ground” but that production is on hold because of the covid-19 pandemic for now.
SKSM: What one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Warren Ray: One interesting thing that most people don’t know about me was I lived in a haunted house when I was a child. We only stayed there for 4 months at one point my parents came into my room and the bed was levitating off of the floor and vibrating violently, I was screaming and crying at the top of my lungs. It stopped when my parents came into the room but they witnessed it, I was maybe 7 years old. When I asked them what had happened? they covered up the truth and told me they had just been playing a joke on me, I told them” it wasn’t very funny”. After we moved away my parents told me the truth about the house and all the haunting that they had experienced because they had hidden it from me but I was afraid of the dark for those four months i do recall that. This life experience involving my entire family also being witness to it, changed my view of the world and my spiritual belief system forever. True story.
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?
Warren Ray: Hey Oscar, thanks for the continued help and support. Keep you beautiful family safe and healthy my friend.
SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?