He is the man behind In the Deathroom Dollar Baby Film.
SKSM: Could you start with telling me a bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Luke Cheney: I am 23, I graduated with a degree in film in 2009. I have been making videos since I was 16 and will be moving to Los Angeles soon to start a career in filmmaking.
SKSM: When did you make In the Deathroom? Can you tell me a little about the production? How much did it cost? How long did it take to film it?
Luke Cheney: We shot the film in November 2008 in two and a half days in a small studio. It was shot in and around Denver, Colorado with a local cast of professionals. I estimated that my budget was just under 2,000 US Dollars.
SKSM: How come you picked In the Deathroom to develop into a movie? What is it in the story that you like so much?
Luke Cheney: The story is of course brilliant and very well crafted. The way King spins the everyday interrogation room dialogue by adding in the inner thoughts of the main character makes it fascinating. To steal a quote from Hitchcock, “There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it”. While reading “In The Deathroom” you know someone is going to die, but to hear the main character go through the different scenarios in his head, really makes it a thriller. From the filmmakers viewpoint, the story was perfect because it had one location and a small cast. And for a first time director, like me, it was great because it allowed me to focus on the storytelling and getting the right performances from the actors, instead of worrying about all the little things that could wrong.
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?
Luke Cheney: The way I found out about the Dollar Deal was thanks to the movie “The Shawshank Redemption“. I decided to read the published shooting script while watching the movie. After the movie was over I read the forward written by King. And it was all about the Dollar Deal and how he did one with Darabont back in the day. So, instantly I went to the library and started reading as many shorts as I could find.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when you made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Luke Cheney: Thanks to a couple of setbacks we were lucky to complete this film. On the first day of shooting, one of the actor’s cars broke down 30 minutes from the studio. The boom-guy was battling a hernia for the entire shoot. And the assistant director was recovering from a case of pneumonia from the previous week. Besides all that, it was one of the most meaningful weekends of my life.
SKSM: If you know that there where more versions of “In the Deathroom” created would you choose another story to adapt into a Dollar Baby?
Luke Cheney: Luckily, I was the first one to adapt “In The Deathroom“, but I have great curiosity to see what others will do with the story.
SKSM: Now that your film is finished, don’t you think… I would be doing this different?
Luke Cheney: Of course, when any filmmaker goes back and looks at their own work they wish they could change things. The majority of my film came out just like I envisioned, I am very pleased with it.
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?
Luke Cheney: Although its agitating that the people who would appreciate the films the most can’t usually see them, it’s a great gift that we are even allowed to adapt the stories. My idea to get these Dollar Babies seen is to get a good handful of them on one DVD and sell them, with the proceeds going to a charity of King’s choice.
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)?
Luke Cheney: I have had no personal contact. All that is certain is that a copy of my film was received by his office.
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?
Luke Cheney: The other short story that I really enjoyed was “The Ledge“, its also a 1st person narration. The only problem is that “The Ledge” would require a fairly large budget to make into a film.
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to your fans?
Luke Cheney: I would like to say, Thank you to everyone out there that encourages and supports Dollar Babies. And hopefully in the future you will be seeing more of me, and I will be seeing more of you.