He is the filmmaker of 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?
Jacob Ewing: My name is Jacob Ewing, and I am a writer/director based in Tucson, Arizona. I’m a total film/pop culture obsessive and consume as much media as I reasonably can. The majority of my hobbies involve some sort of art/entertainment consumption.
SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become a filmmaker?
Jacob Ewing: When I was very young, I finally put together that all of the movies I watched were created by someone. They didn’t magically appear out of thin air. Truly, it was Jurassic Park that ignited my passion for film and filmmaking. I would watch it on repeat (and still do!) and would find myself asking “how did they do that?” From then on, I was equally obsessed with the making-of aspect of a movie’s release as I was the actual movie itself. Honestly, I don’t believe there has been one moment in my life that I can truly remember where I did not want to be a filmmaker. It’s in my DNA.
SKSM: When did you make The Man Who Loved Flowers? Can you tell me a little about the production? How much did it cost? How long did it take to film it?
Jacob Ewing: We filmed The Man Who Loved Flowers over two separate days at the beginning of November, 2020. I had previously been attached to work on another Dollar Baby that was being developed by a different filmmaker. That project fell apart, but I really felt that I could use the momentum of that production to get my own Dollar Baby started. So, I went onto the Stephen King website and submitted myself to adapt the story. As soon as I was approved, I wrote the screenplay and assembled a cast/crew of some of the best, most dedicated artists I know in Tucson. We didn’t have a budget, but I knew that every single person on that set would give 110% to the film as well as adhere to my (very strict) COVID-19 safety protocols. The two days we shot were quick and efficient, with the actual editing of the short being the lengthiest part of the process. After multiple friends/family screenings, I was finally able to find the rhythm to the story and edit it in a way that, I believe, is really satisfying.
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?
Jacob Ewing: When I was selecting a story to adapt, I was very conscious of the fact that I would be adapting a *Stephen King* short. Already, that is just a dream come true for me as a lifelong King fanatic. So, I asked myself, “if this is the only opportunity I will ever have to adapt King’s work, what do I want to get out of it?” The answer was that I wanted to know I worked on a *scary* Stephen King story. Something that felt like classic King. Of the available stories, The man who loved flowers really stuck out to me in how it told such a delightfully macabre story in such a short span of time. It was quick and efficient, which appealed to me. The genius of King’s writing here is how, for the majority of the short story, it reads like a bright and fun romance with really nice, witty dialogue. We know we’re reading Stephen King, so that vibrant atmosphere actually brings tension as we wait for something bad to happen. I just think that being able to use the tropes of a romantic comedy to build suspense and fear is incredible. That was a unique challenge to me, to see if I could make something that felt like an indie romance film for the majority and then use those genre expectations to have it become terrifying by the end.
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?
Jacob Ewing: I am a big Stephen King fan, so I was generally aware of the Dollar Baby program and the concept of it. But I didn’t really know the fine details of developing a Dollar Baby, so that was definitely a learning experience.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when you made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Jacob Ewing: Yeah, at one point we were filming outside the front door of an apartment for a sequence towards the end of the film. As we’re shooting, some random guy walked by, saw us filming, and then proceeded to film us on his phone while we were filming. It wasn’t a big deal at first, people are always interested when they see cameras and whatnot. But this guy would comment and talk while he was filming and so it started ruining takes because we could hear him in the background. Additionally, he was making us all really uncomfortable (seeing as a strange man was filming us without permission for who knows what). So, as the director, I had to take on the responsibility of getting him to leave. The dude was super weird and, even though I tried to explain the situation and be really nice, he refused to leave. So, now I’m getting angry that this random person is ruining our shoot and I started yelling at him. For a second, I thought there was going to be a fight because I had fully lost my patience and things were getting really heated. Finally, the guy stormed off, upset that I was being “so mean”, and we finished shooting. He had been recording the whole thing so, somewhere, I’d like to believe there is this hilarious footage of me cursing out some random jerk for messing with my Stephen King movie.
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 an internet/DVD release would be possible?
Jacob Ewing: It doesn’t bother me too much, I would say. Of course I want everyone to be able to see it, especially fellow Stephen King fans, but I understand the reasoning. At the end of the day, King’s rules for the Dollar Baby make sense in that he is, essentially, letting inexperienced filmmakers use his name as a means to potentially get a foot in the door of the industry. These films aren’t meant to “go viral”, they’re meant to help aspiring artists. I think that is really, really cool of King to do given that there is no incentive for him to do so outside of the kindness of his own heart. So, yes, while I would absolutely love to have this widely released in some way, shape, or form so that more people could see it, I can’t complain at all. I got to make a Stephen King movie; I’ll do whatever he tells me to do!
SKSM: What “good or bad” reviews have you received on your film?
Jacob Ewing: Thankfully, we haven’t received any bad reviews or feedback thus far. Now that it’s finished, the response has truly been amazing. I am so gratified to have people reach out and say how impressed they were with the work. It’s incredibly rewarding, as a filmmaker, to have kind things said about your work. There have been some fans who excitedly reached out to see if they caught all of the Stephen King easter eggs hidden throughout the film (there are a lot to find). My favorite reactions have been from those who are enjoying the romance/sweetness of the story up until the very end when their eyes suddenly widen, and the screams start coming. I truly have so much pride for my entire cast/crew and what we accomplished together. I couldn’t have done any of this without them.
SKSM: Do you plan to screen the movie at a particular festival?
Jacob Ewing: We just played at the Apex Film & Music Video Festival and have submitted to multiple others. Hoping that we are accepted to as many as we enter!
SKSM: Are you a Stephen King fan? If so, which are your favorite works and adaptations?
Jacob Ewing: I am a massive fan of Stephen King. He is, for my money, the great American author of our time and one of the most important voices in horror that has ever existed. Can you imagine a world without Stephen King and his works? I can’t. He is an incredible writer and has truly been one of my great inspirations throughout my life. In terms of favorite works, I am a diehard fan of Pet Sematary. I think that is the most terrifying novel I have ever read, yet it still manages to be incredibly moving and emotional. As an aspiring writer, I cannot recommend On Writting enough, either. Just filled with amazing stories and wisdom that makes it a must-read for any creative. Regarding adaptations of these stories, there are so many iconic and great movies/series, but I would say my absolute favorites are The Mist, The Green Mile, Carrie, 1408, It (both the miniseries and chapter one movie), Gerald’s Game, and Doctor Sleep.
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)?
Jacob Ewing: I have not had any personal contact at this time. The blu-ray/DVD I made is finally getting sent out for him to watch and add to the collection. I know that every once in a while he will reach out to the filmmakers if he is impressed by the short. My greatest hope with this entire Dollar Baby process is that Stephen King likes it enough to let me know he enjoyed it. That’s all I could ever ask for, so fingers crossed!
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?
Jacob Ewing: I don’t think I’ll do another Dollar Baby, but I would never say never! If I could ever do a Stephen King adaptation outside of this program that would be a total dream. I have two picks for story I would want to tackle. The first is, no surprise here, Pet Sematary. I know that the first is considered somewhat of a classic, but I think a modern adaptation, either film or limited series, could be incredible in ways that the latest version missed the mark on. My second pick would be Graveyard Shift, because I think there’s a lot of room to expand that story for a modern audience and have some terrifying fun with all of the monster/creature effects.
SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?
Jacob Ewing: I am constantly writing and challenging myself as a filmmaker. The next project I have written and will, hopefully, shoot soon is a horror short film (go figure). I see this as the end of an unofficial, unconnected horror trilogy that I’ve done. I started with a short film called Nightmare (you can find under my channel “Jacob Ewing Presents!” on YouTube) that is a ghost story. Then, of course, I just did The Man Who Loved Flowers which is a *SPOILERS* sort of serial killer story. This next project would let me do a monster story, which is one of my favorite horror subgenres and one I am hugely excited to try.
SKSM: What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Jacob Ewing: That I’m in their house watching them right now. Don’t turn around. Keep reading.
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?
Jacob Ewing: Thank you for taking the time to read my rambling responses! I attempted to be as thorough and fun as I could be, so I hope that anyone who reads this enjoyed doing so. I am proud to be a member of this fan community and would encourage everyone out there to do the thing that makes you happy. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t or get in your own head before you even begin. Just get out there and do what you’re passionate about!
SKSM: Would you like to add anything else?
Jacob Ewing: Yeah, if anyone wants to check out my other works or see the first two minutes of this adaptation please check out and subscribe to my YouTube channel: Jacob Ewing Presents! This is also my Instagram username, so feel free to follow me there as well.
Thanks for having me!