SKSM: May you introduce yourself to our readers?
SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become a producer?
Robert Slane: Well, strangely enough, I never aspired to become a producer. I moved to Hollywood to pursue screenwriting. And in order to get projects produced, often times you have to produce them yourself! “Autopsy Room Four” was one of those projects.
SKSM: How did you become involved in the ‘Autopsy Room Four‘ Dollar Baby film?
Robert Slane: The year before, Steve and I produced a short film that I had written and directed called “The Fine Line Between Cute & Creepy.” It was a lot of fun to work on together, and the film had a lot of success. It aired on national television and won a bunch of film festivals. We actually traveled to a few of the festivals, such as Seattle, Denver and Montreal (“Just for Laughs”) and had an absolute blast. We had to do an encore!
SKSM: Can you tell us about your work in the film?
Robert Slane: Mostly it was just helping to fulfill Steve’s vision for the film. We scouted the location together and hired the cast and crew, who were mostly actors we had worked with before. Steve had existing relationships with vendors and suppliers such as Kodak (film). Most of the camera crew had worked on “Cute & Creepy.”
I tried to keep everything moving along so Steve could focus on directing. He had done the same for me when I directed.
SKSM: What was it like to work with Stephen Zakman on this film?
Robert Slane: It was fun! He’s known as a talented producer. He calls it “five phone calls,” meaning once he makes those calls, the movie has full momentum. We both grew up in the same town near Pittsburgh – he’s a bit older – and he got me my first job in Hollywood. We’ve had some classic times together at Sundance and in New York and LA.
Steve has long been a huge fan of Stephen King, and he knew about the Dollar Baby short films, so this was his chance to direct a film that would get some notice. He was passionate about this project, and that was infectious. I knew when he called me and first told me about it, this would be something we’d work on together.
Steve and I actually went on to produce a feature film entitled, “Come Away Home,” which starred Paul Dooley, Lea Thompson, Martin Mull, Thomas Gibson and Jordan-Claire Green, and was directed by Doug McKeon. “Come Away Home” played in theaters in 12 cities and aired on national television.
SKSM: Were there any funny things that happened while filming (Bloopers, etc)?
Robert Slane: Pretty much any time Eddie Ifft or Sal Catalano were on set it was a blooper! But everyone in the cast had a rich sense of humor. Stephen Furst was practically nude for the film, so that made for good comedy. He was such a great sport about it. Michael Bergen has a terrific self-deprecating way about him. And Torri Higginson, who was the consummate pro, had to put up with all us knuckleheads. There were a lot of laughs.
I will say, that while it wasn’t a blooper, one of favorite memories was sitting with Stephen Furst at lunch and hearing his stories about when he worked on “Animal House” with John Belushi and so many other legends.
SKSM: Are you a fan of Stephen King’s work?
Robert Slane: Yes – he’s written so many great stories. My favorites are “Misery,” “Shawshank Redemption” and “Stand By Me.” And I remember “Cujo” really freaked me out as a kid!
SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?
Robert Slane: I still write, but I’m not in the moviemaking business anymore. But Steve and I, and a lot of the old gang still keep in touch. So you never know – one day we might have to make another movie!
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Something you’d like to tell our readers?
Robert Slane: Thank you for giving me the chance to share these memories with you!