He is the filmmaker of Big Wheels Dollar Baby film.
SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Andrew Simpson: Well for the past two years now I’ve been working mostly as a Film Professor at Confederation College. On top of that I’ve been back into directing for about 5 years now and it’s been a dream come true.
SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become a filmmaker?
Andrew Simpson: There was an old film channel when I was very young called First Choice. Once a year or so, they would have a free preview weekend where anyone could watch. When I was 8, I found myself alone with the TV on a Saturday and came across a film called “My Life as a Dog”. It was dubbed so I didn’t realize until later it was actually a Swedish film. I watched the entire thing in awe. I won’t go into details but its effect on me was profound. As I watched the credits and saw all those names who worked to make this moment possible for me, I knew I wanted to contribute and help make those moments happen for other lost kids.
SKSM: When did you make Big Wheels? Can you tell me a little about the production? How much did it cost? How long did it take to film it?
Andrew Simpson: Big Wheels was shot during an August weekend of 2019 over two evenings. I still find it hard to believe we were able to shoot 10 minutes worth of edited material each day but that is a testament to how good this crew was. The cost of this film really should have been much higher than it was but so many people came to support us on this difficult task from the location to the car and of course the amazing support of William F White, Urban Post and Red Lab who all really stepped up to help us.
SKSM: How come you picked Big Wheels. A Tale of the Laundry Game to develop into a movie? What is it in the story that you like so much?
Andrew Simpson: All of Stephen King’s shorts on offer are fun to read but many involve monsters or grand events and that wasn’t something I wanted to take on with this opportunity to work with his material. I wanted to play with the types of stories where he drenches us with character and how they behave and react. Big Wheels offered this opportunity and also room for nuance which our Screenwriter Devin, employed brilliantly in my opinion.
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?
Andrew Simpson: I had heard about it a few years earlier through conversation and was blown away when I looked into it but was not at a point in my understanding of this craft to justify taking on his material at the time.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when you made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Andrew Simpson: After we wrapped on Sunday morning, Mark Rival told us all it was his Mom’s birthday and asked if we could all sing to her which we all did. It was a really nice way to finish the film.
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?
Andrew Simpson: Well we are trying to get this film into as many festivals as we can and are hoping to hear of another dollar baby film festival at some point. If there was ever any opportunity for us to get more eyes on this film in a way that King would approve of, I would be thrilled to join in.
SKSM: What “good or bad” reviews have you received on your film?
Andrew Simpson: The hardest part of this film’s festival circuit is that it’s mostly online so I am unable to engage with people after the screenings like with previous films. But most of the feedback I’ve been getting is positive and that is very reassuring considering the amount of pressure you undertake when dealing with the work of such a beloved writer.
SKSM: Do you plan to screen the movie at a particular festival?
Andrew Simpson: We’ve been lucky and have had a few screenings thus far and we still have at least two more to go. We played at a Drive-In a while back and that was super fun!
SKSM: Are you a Stephen King fan? If so, which are your favorite works and adaptations?
Andrew Simpson: I am a huge fan! My first novel was Eyes of the Dragon which I read in Grade 6 along with a friend of mine. My favourite book is IT, I couldn’t stop turning the pages. My favourite adaptations would have to be Kubrick’s The Shining which I know is controversial but I love it. Also Tobe Hooper’s Salem’s Lot is the gold standard of made for TV horror films.
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)?
Andrew Simpson: I wish! Sadly no but I have sent him a copy of the film recently so here’s hoping he likes it.
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?
Andrew Simpson: I have a special place in my heart for a book called The Long Walk. I read it many times in high school and have carried the dream of one day making that into a film ever since. Every time I read it, the images I see all seem to come from the 1970’s American vision of the near future. Films with the look of Westworld and the potential for violent intensity like something from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Plus the relentless images of young people walking to the point of death by exhaustion in order to achieve their dreams could be seen as difficult to shoot interestingly but I would love nothing more than to turn a seemingly redundant set of images into something endlessly dark and terrifying.
SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?
Andrew Simpson: I’m a couple weeks away from making a short with my students which I’m very excited about. We have some very sharp students and I can’t wait to work with them. I do have a feature script that I’m really hoping to get off the ground. It’s a romantic horror comedy, super odd but very charming and we have an incredible cast willing to sign on so here’s hoping it can happen.
SKSM: What one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Andrew Simpson: I was born during a citywide evacuation. A train carrying explosives and dangerous chemicals derailed close to where my parents lived. My mom was in labour in the hospital when the entire city of Mississauga was evacuated.
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?
Andrew Simpson: Thank you for having me. To the fans, I hope I didn’t bore you! If you do get a chance to see the film, I would love to hear your thoughts!