José Ramón González Huertas
He is the man behind One For The Road Dollar Baby Film.
SKSM: Could you start with telling me a bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
José Ramón González Huertas: The truth is that like so many other independent filmmakers I work in something completely different. I am an economist in this moment although my dream is to dedicate myself to the world of cinema completely.
A few years ago I started with some friends of mine the Producciones Cinematográficas Entropía project to gradually gain experience and shoot short films of quality that allow us to approach our dreams of acting and working as technicians or directing a film.
SKSM: When did you make One for the road? Can you tell me a little about the production? How much did it cost? How long did it take to film it?
José Ramón González Huertas: Shooting took place last winter (January 2013) in Guadalajara, mainly. We only shoot one of the scenes in Madrid. In this city is where we live the most of the team.
Although the period of rehearsal and pre-production lasted several months. Shooting was very fast. It took place in a just one weekend. As I mentioned before, the team members have their respective jobs and we always have to find a moment in which we gather to carry out our projects.
In this case, for the first time we had a location – although, of course, not for long – where to shoot without having to resort to visual tricks… and we enjoyed it a lot. In this point, I have to mention the generosity of Pepe. He is the owner of the Cantalojas Camping and he allowed us to make his bar into Tookey’s Bar to enjoy the advantages of its location for shooting. It’s a village with an incredible landscapes.
As for the cost, in addition to the investment in equipment (cameras, lights, computer equipment) that we have done over several years, the truth is that everything we did was done with no costs. We always talk to friends and family to give us a help or boorw us clothing, a place to shoot… and food, lodging, etc. It is filming of guerrilla pure and hard but people are very kind with us. We can’t say anything against it.
SKSM: How come you picked One for the road to develop into a movie? What is it in the story that you like so much?
José Ramón González Huertas: The truth is that I have always been an avid reader. From an early age I began to read all the books in my mother’s library. Very soon I discovered a great passion in the horror genre and Stephen King became one of my great references.
I have seen all his adaptations and read all his books that fell into my hands. In this way I found this short story. For me, “One For The Road” is a fundamental piece in his bibliography, both for the quality of the story as for what it represents. In my opinion, it reflects in a few pages the spirit of King’s writing: characters easily recognizable to the viewer, so well described that it is easy to love of them. Characters that are put into fantastic and terrifying situations within a world created by the author, in which real places are combined with fictional ones. And Jerusalem’s Lot is undoubtedly one of the great mythical places of Stephen King. It is a tremendously simple and emotional story, almost like a fairy tale, which includes one of the most poetic and terrifying endings I have read.
SKSM: Did you know that you are the second Spanish director who has filmed a Dollar Baby?
José Ramón González Huertas: I honestly did not know. And considering the importance of an initiative like that of the Dollar Babies, I find it strange 1) that it is so difficult to find the adaptations filmed so far, even simply information about them and 2), that there is not a greater number of them filmed . Being the second in this country seems incredible.
SKSM: How did you find out that King sold the movie rights to some of his stories for just $1? Was it just a wikd guess or did you know it before you sent him the check?
José Ramón González Huertas: I knew about the Dollar Babies casually, I was looking for information about S. King on the Internet and immediately wanted to film “One For The Road“. I thought it was an opportunity I could not pass up.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when you made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
José Ramón González Huertas: I think the most special moment was when it began to snow.
Undoubtedly, if you have readed the short story you will agree that this adaptation requires the snow because is one more character of the story. For this reason is what we decided to shoot in a mountain location like Cantalojas. However, it was the third year we were going to stop the filming and this time the only reason was that it had been one of the least rainy years we can remember but we decided to take risks and we prepared everything. I remember that we began to shoot the interior scenes and while we are watching the sky we were already planning to include the snow in post-production… until the night fell. We were preparing to shoot the first outer takes when the magic came: The snow was falling! And it was not disappear but it allowed us to film throughout the weekend. We were celebrating that moment (despite the complications of shooting so cold) until the day we left.
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?
José Ramón González Huertas: In my opinion, there are too many Stephen King’s fans interested in knowing these adaptations. It would be nice to having updates about the latest Dollar Babies. Remember that Frank Darabont was one of the first and most famous Dollar Babies -almost 30 years ago was filmed – and today has an awesome career in Hollywood.
In any case, if the Dollar Babies are made for love of cinema and literature, I think we would all be happy that a website gather all of them with non-profit works.
SKSM: What “good or bad” reviews have you received on your film?
José Ramón González Huertas: For now it has only been seen by friends, family and a few colleagues in the short film world, but we are very proud of our film because everyone agrees that it is very professional.
Now comes the time to present it to festivals… Let’s hope that the good reviews continues… and the prizes because we could work in future projects. “One For The Road” was the most important for us.
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)?
José Ramón González Huertas: The truth is that we haven’t had contact with him, only with his collaborators who manage the Dollar Babies permissions.
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?
José Ramón González Huertas: I would love to do all of them. Perhaps the one that strikes me most at this moment would be “All that you love will be carried away“. I find it tremendously original, but very complicated to adapt because of the complexity of transmitting on screen everything King describes masterfully with his prose.
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to your fans?
José Ramón González Huertas: Above all, I would like to encourage you, if you are interested in trying your luck in the world of cinema you make a Dollar Baby. I think it’s a great opportunity for a larger audience to see your work, and it’s an opportunity to capture our enthusiasm for this great writer.
SKSM: Would you like to add something?
José Ramón González Huertas: I wanted to thank Insomnia and especially you, Oscar, for the opportunity you have given us to share with you our work. A hug.
This interview was originally published on INSOMNIA digital magazine.