She 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?
Tracey Hague: I am a local filmmaker here in Nashville. I have experience as a producer, director, assistant director, writer and editor. I have made a few short films, including the Stephen King short. I have just finished writing my first screenplay, and I’m working on producing that now.
SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become a filmmaker?
Tracey Hague: I was an educator for twenty years in Rhode Island. I got the producing and directing bug when I ran our high school theater. It is an indescribable feeling to see projects go from my imagination onto the stage and then to experience the reaction of the audience.
Teaching my folklore and film studies class made me realize I wanted to tell my own stories. I had been writing for years and I realized that I didn’t want to wait until the age of 65 for a retirement check “to get started.” So I quit education, jumped ship and sailed to Nashville, Tennessee, to work on my writing and film career.
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?
Tracey Hague: The Man Who Loved Flowers was shot on a shoestring budget using crowdfunding on GoFundMe.We shot it in two days. The production process took a little bit longer as it actually began before Covid and of course stalled over that summer and we resumed as soon as soon as Nashville opened back up.
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?
Tracey Hague: The main character in The Man Who Loved Flowers appealed to me. He had something behind his eyes that nobody could read, and I love complicated and mysterious characters. The story gives you just enough detail to make your imagination run riot, and all I could think of was The Great Gatsby gone dark. The young man does not see the world as it is, and I loved the idea of following the romance to its inevitable dark conclusion in my script.
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?
Tracey Hague: A friend knew how much I love Stephen King and knew about the program. When he told me about it, I thought he was kidding until I looked it up! So I got started reading every story on the list as soon as I could.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when you made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Tracey Hague: The most special moment for me was the very first shot on set. Covid had stalled us for so long, and I had been working on the project and my production notebook for months. This movie had been in my head for so long, so when David, our DP, put me in front of the monitor on that first day, I saw exactly what I had been in my head for so long. I knew this was going to be something I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
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?
Tracey Hague: I’m okay with the idea that big audiences won’t see this movie. I think it would change the way the program has to run if it becomes something else. I am able to give anyone who wants the password a chance to watch it. This is an avenue for film students to have an opportunity to learn how to adapt a story, and it allows Stephen King to help students without them worrying about the big price tag that normally comes with copyrights.
I learned so much being able to take this story from adaptation to the final edit. I was even able to get into a film festival and learn how that process works. I have made valuable friendships and contacts that will last me a lifetime, and I think this is the intent of the Dollar Baby Program.
I’m okay with not trying to make something more out of it.
SKSM: What “good or bad” reviews have you received on your film?
Tracey Hague: I have received many critiques from former teachers and other filmmakers who have done this job longer than I, and I value the ideas they have brought to me. People agree that Seth Dunlap was PERFECT casting, (and he was!) and they understood my intent in the reveal of his dream world versus reality. Critiques have mostly been about editing and pacing choices, which I’m sure will always be that case in this business. Mostly, people want more of the main character’s journey, which I consider a positive review because it tells me I have succeeded in creating someone folks want to explore further.
SKSM: Do you plan to screen the movie at a particular festival?
Tracey Hague: I was able to show this movie at the Macabre Film Festival in Lebanon, Tennessee, and we received honorable mention at the Things2Fear film festival in West Virginia. I have submitted to a few others that have not made decisions yet. So who knows where else it might screen!
SKSM: Are you a Stephen King fan? If so, which are your favorite works and adaptations?
Tracey Hague: I have been a Stephen King fan most of my life, even back when I was little and my mother watched Carrie and scared me to death! I couldn’t turn away – all that blood!! I have been reading his books all of my life, and as a teacher I hosted Stephen King month in my classroom. Mike Flanagan’s Doctor Sleep is amazing, but I think Secret Window is probably still my favorite. I also love Shawshank Redemption, Pet Sematary and Stand By Me.
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)?
Tracey Hague: At this point I’ve had no personal contact with Mr. King and I do not know if he has seen it or not. I’m just really thankful to his office for all of their work in keeping this program alive. They are very quick to respond if you have a question.
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?
Tracey Hague: It would be a dream to adapt more Stephen King stories! If I ever had a chance to choose another one, it would be Joyland. Hands down. Those characters have never left me.
SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?
Tracey Hague: I am working on my first feature right now; my script has just gone through its second draft and its first table read. I want to film a teaser and produce and direct it myself through crowdfunding. I’m really excited about it and the folks who are on board to help me, many of whom were part of this Stephen King project.
Without giving away too many details, I will tell you it’s about a group of kids who wander into a place they don’t belong. It explores what happens when children feel they don’t have a safe place to land.
It’s partly based on true events! Can’t wait to share more!
SKSM: What one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Tracey Hague: People are always surprised to find out that I served in the United States Air Force.
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?
Tracey Hague: It has been a dream come true to adapt a Stephen King short story to film. No matter what happens with the rest of my career, I will always have this experience, the friends I have made and be able to say that I directed and adapted a Stephen King story, and that is no small thing to me.