He is the man behind Cain Rose Up Dollar Baby Film.
SKSM: Could you start with telling me a bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Jake Kaufman: My name is Jake Kaufman, I’m 26. I’m from a small town in Southeast Kansas. Currently I’m working in IT but I’m trying to go back to school to obtain a MFA.
SKSM: Your Dollar Baby Cain rose up was cancelled back in 2013 because a controversial nature of the script by changing the ending. Is it fixed? Could we the fans finally see it in the future?
Jake Kaufman: The ending is still the same. I was attending a private religious university so they were pretty restricting on what they considered appropriate. I decided not to change the ending to the script because I think what I had was a stronger ending. It’s still there. I put it on the backburner because you’ve got to shoot it on a college campus or it won’t work. I’m hoping to get back to it soon-ish. I’ve got some other things I’m working on first. One day though, I’ll get around to it.
SKSM: Who are involved into this project? Tell us about the cast and crew a little bit more.
Jake Kaufman: I was the writer/director (though I didn’t write the brilliant ending). I was probably going to shoot it and do sound on it as well. It was obviously a very indie, no-budget sort of thing. I like shooting stuff with as minimal of cast/crew as possible. It really happens me direct the actors. I’ve never been a stickler for super technical filmmaking either. My friend Spencer Bergman was originally slated to play the main character. I’m sure once I get back around to making it that the cast/crew will be completely different. I’ll probably cast a local actor at whatever college I try to shoot it at.
SKSM: How come you picked Cain rose up to develop into a movie? What is it in the story that you like so much?
Jake Kaufman: The piece is a about a school shooting and at the time I could see the rise of right wing fanaticism in the country and that’s what drew me to the story. The main character was, to me, the prototype for every edgy 20 year old who voted or sympathized with Trump. I wanted to make a film about a school shooting that didn’t try to sympathize or empathize with the shooter. That idea of someone just being capable of such an evil act is a thematic element in a lot of Stephen King stories. It’s what I’ve always identified with. Garrish, to me, wasn’t a sympathetic character. He selfish and ego driven. He has an inferiority complex based on his false intelligence. He’s the libertarian nightmare made real. Probably reads a lot of Ayn Rand. It’s pretty timely if you ask me, especially now.
SKSM: Did you know that this story has already been filmed as Dollar Baby? Have you seen any of these adaptations? If so, what do you think about it?
Jake Kaufman: Yeah, I was aware that this one has been made a couple of different times. I’ve seen some of them but I think for the most part they all were hitting the material in the wrong way. They were either too sympathetic towards Garrish as a character or trying to be some sort of Tarantino knock-off. With that being said, I’m always appreciative of films being made and obviously I didn’t finish mine, so I’m not sure that I would have been successful in accomplishing what I wanted to in my film.
SKSM: Are you a Stephen King fan? If so, which are your favorite works and adaptations.
Jake Kaufman: I love Stephen King. My grandma introduced me to him from a very young age. Her death definitely played a part in why I didn’t finish the film, but it’s also playing a part in why I haven’t fully given up on it yet. Book wise my favorite is Night Shift and The Long Walk. They’re perfect. King is the master of the short story. Film wise my favorites are The Shining (the Kubrick version, not the TV movie), Silver Bullet, Creepshow, Cujo, Shawshank. Pretty much the hits. I really think someone could do something really cool with a Cujo or Silver Bullet remake. Silver Bullet especially is an underlooked gem.
SKSM: How did you find out that King sold the movie rights to some of his stories for just $1?
Jake Kaufman: I saw an interview with Frank Darabont. He’s obviously the king of the dollar babies.
SKSM: What are you working nowadays?
Jake Kaufman: I raised $500 last February to make a short film called OUT THERE. It’s based on the horror short story Le Horla by Guy de Maupassant. Almost had a hickup on that production as well. I tried to rush into too fast. Now we’re about a week away from starting full production. My cameraman, J Berry, and I shot some footage of the eclipse for the film. It’s going to be really spooky and weird. It’s sorta my tribute to David Lynch.
SKSM: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Jake Kaufman: I’m terrified of the dark but horror is my favorite genre. Go figure how that works out.
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to our readers?
Jake Kaufman: I’d just like to say for anyone reading this to find solace in my failure to complete this film. At the time, when I couldn’t complete this film I was really salty about it. I still am kinda salty about it. But I can also recognize that I wasn’t ready to make this film back then. Sometimes things don’t work out but don’t give up. Keep pushing forward. Remember it took Lynch 4 years to finish Eraserhead. If you’re supposed to make it, it’ll happen. Forward always.
PS. Sorry about the double Lynch plugs. I’ve been watching a lot of Twin Peaks. 🙂