He is the man behind The Things They Left Behind Dollar Baby Film.
SKSM: Can you introduce yourself to our readers?
Guillaume Heulard: My name is Guillaume Heulard, I’m 26 years old and I am a young French director. Before becoming a director, I worked in the special effects industry.
SKSM: How did the project of filming The Things they left behind started?
Guillaume Heulard: Even though I wrote the script for The Things They Left behind, I wouldn’t really consider myself a screenwriter. I truly enjoy adaptation, proposing my own vision of a story, so for this short film I was looking to be inspired by an auteur that I value. I quickly drifted towards Stephen King, as a fan of his books and cinematic adaptations. Unfortunately, there was not a lot of time or money to shoot the film so I quickly called Stephane to the rescue to help me manage this difficult task. Without him, this film would have had a great deal of trouble leaving paper.
SKSM: Why did you choose that particular story to adapt. Did you had another story in mind?
Guillaume Heulard: My first choice was actually a different story. I wanted to adapt the novel N, already adapted as a web series and a cartoon by Marc Guggenheim and Alex Maleec. I fell in love with their visual universe, and I was looking to translate it into a short film. Unfortunately I didn’t have the rights to this story so I looked into the Dollar Babies project. I read (or reread) all of the stories on the list and immediately chose The Things They Left Behind.
SKSM: Are you a Stephen King fan? If so, which are your favorite works and adaptations?
Guillaume Heulard: I’m a big fan of Stephen King, but admit to being far from having read all of his books. I have devoured quite a few of his stories and am particularly partial to The Shining and Carrie. In cinema, I enjoy Frank Darabont’s adaptations, starting with The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. I also like what he did with The Mist, even if he didn’t respect the original ending from the book, what he chose to do for the film was breathtaking. As pessimistic as it may be, it’s one of the best endings I’ve ever seen in a movie.
SKSM: What are you working at nowadays?
Guillaume Heulard: I am currently finishing up a short film, adapted from the novel (and video game) Metro 2033 written by Dmitri Glukhovsky. It’s a post-apoctalyptic horror movie, you can watch the film’s teaser here. It will be very different from The Things They Left Behind, much more action oriented. It’s an opportunity for me to try new things. Aside from that, I am also writing my first feature film but I can’t tell you about that quite yet.
SKSM: Can you tell us about the filming steps. How long is it planned to take? How many people are involved in it? Funny things that happened so far? (Bloopers, etc).
Guillaume Heulard: Shooting the film didn’t take much time. We didn’t have the actors for very long so filming lasted three and half days over two weekends with three cameras (Canon 7D). There were a dozen or so people on the set and we had to move quickly to finish in time. Postproduction on the other hand was a longer process. As the movie was shot almost entirely in France, views of New York had to be placed in all of the onscreen windows. Editing was also quite complicated, some scenes were removed to improve the film’s rhythm. The first version of the film was 24 minutes long and today it is only 16.
SKSM: Do you plan to screen the movie at a particular festival?
Guillaume Heulard: We are just starting the process. The premier of the film was at the Festival Européen du Film Fantastique in Strasbourg last September. We hope to be at Sitges, and will also send it to Sundance and Tribeca. We’re crossing our fingers.
SKSM: Once the production is finished, are you planning to adapt another Stephen King story? Which one?
Guillaume Heulard: I don’t currently have plans to adapt another Stephen Kind novel. I am concentrating on the end of Metro 2033, and I hope to continue on to feature films afterwards.
SKSM: Something you’d like to tell our readers?
Guillaume Heulard: I hope that you will enjoy the film; we put a lot of ourselves into it.