Jack Sawyers, the Director of Gotham Cafe Dollar Baby Film.
SKSM: Could you start with telling me a bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do or have done?
Jack Sawyers: I was born and raised in New Jersey. I moved to California when I was 18. My goal is to make horror movies. I want to be the Frank Capra of horror movies. My background is in production. I have produced everything from commercials to music videos to independent films for the last ten years. I own a post production facility as well as a production company. I have never had the opportunity to just direct until now. In the past I have always produced and directed. It was an awesome, awesome, awesome experience just to show up and direct and I’d like to thank Julie Sands for making that possible.
SKSM: When did you shoot Gotham Cafe?
Jack Sawyers: We started shooting October 6th at which time we shot some exteriors and Mick Garris’ cameo. We did that to accommodate his schedule. We took a week off and came back the following week to finish on October 19th.
SKSM: Can you tell me a little about the production?
Jack Sawyers: We had a great cast and crew. All the elements were already in place for me. It was great, no stress.
SKSM: How much did it cost?
Jack Sawyers: I have no idea. The film looks like it cost 20 million though.
SKSM: How long did it take to film it?
Jack Sawyers: Six days.
SKSM: How come you picked Gotham Cafe to develop into a movie? What is it in the story that you like so much?
Jack Sawyers: I did not develop Gotham Cafe. Julie Sands picked the story, formed a production company called Turtle Bay Entertainment, got the rights and developed the film putting in place all the casting, financing, locations, crew, FX, stunt people and everything needed to make this a hit many months before I came into the picture. She brought me on as the director a few weeks before the shoot. We had worked together on a film I directed and produced and she liked my work.
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?
Jack Sawyers: This question does not apply to me.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when directing the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Jack Sawyers: Yes. There were many fun times. My favorite moment came when Cullen Douglas, who plays Guy, and I developed a plan to trick Julie to get a major reaction to a scene. Cullen would throw a fit and quit in the middle of his performance. We kept the secret all day and when he told Julie he quit she let us think she believed it, but then got us back with an ear splitting scream I am sure the sound guys are still having nightmares about. She said to really scare her we should have had Lauri our line producer come out and tell her she was over budget! Funny thing was in dailies she had already got the reaction I wanted on the first take before Cullen played the joke on her. We had a lot of fun like that on set.
SKSM: How does it feel that all the King fans out there can’t see the film?
Jack Sawyers: I wish everybody could see Gotham Cafe. It’s a great film.
SKSM: Do you think that will change in the future? Maybe a video/dvd release would be possible?
Jack Sawyers: I don’t know, that is up to King. Maybe if there is enough interest, who knows?
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)?
Jack Sawyers: I have never had any contact with Stephen King. I have no idea if he has seen it.
SKSM: Do you have any plans for making more movies based on Stephen King’s stories?
Jack Sawyers: Not currently.
SKSM: If you could pick – at least – one story to shoot, which one would it be and why?
Jack Sawyers: The Talisman because I’m Jack Sawyers of course.
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything else you want to say to the fans that read this interview?
Jack Sawyers: Stephen King rocks, Julie Sands rocks and I am in awe of this production.