The Doctor's Case
by Chris Dias. photos by Christos Sagirogis
“I believe there was only one occasion upon which I actually solved a crime before my slightly fabulous friend, Mr. Sherlock Holmes.”
The Doctor’s Case
The first time I met James Douglas, I immediately became ashamed at my own failures. You know that feeling as the ugly kid on the beach (if you were ever an ugly kid on a beach) and the more attractive, fitter version of yourself strides past—this is the literary version of that. There’s always a bigger fish, and I hope to be there when David Fincher walks by us both. Appropriately, I will flatter and prattle here in the hope of some deflected glory.
It would take a picture’s worth of words (or if you take his online Bio on histrionicstheatre.co, about 900) extoling the achievements of James Douglas. From his early days in the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York to his Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from the University in Victoria to his current position as Manager of Visitor Experiences and Public relations for Barkerville Historic Town & Park, James lives the arts. To list his many achievements would be equally protracted—short films, stage productions, murder mystery nights—but it’s his latest project that has garnered so much interest, which is where Dollar Babies comes into this story.
Thankfully, I will explain that last statement.
Unlike some mainstream and/or commercial artists, there exists a small number allowing the exploration of their work by aspiring filmmakers with little to no financial compensation for themselves. The hoops can be minimal or convoluted, but the rewards are obvious—the ability to adapt a work from a major talent without the fear of legal repercussions. Some artists like George Lucas have opened the floodgates, while companies like Paramount try desperately to close them. With Stephen King, he founded the Dollar Babies project.
“Over the objections of my accountant, who saw all sorts of possible legal problems, I established a policy which still holds today. I will grant any student filmmaker the right to make a movie out of any short story I have written (not the novels, that would be ridiculous), so long as the film rights are still mine to assign.” [King, 1996]
…and for only one dollar. Not only that, but King personally screens the film, adding it to his growing collection of adapted work. The resulting films have a wide range of quality, from micro-budget home video fair, to professional work shot on 35mm worthy of inclusion at film festivals. They have started the careers of filmmakers like Frank Darabont. There are 34 stories left for adaptation on Dollar Babies, and for James Douglas, he appropriately acquired King’s solitary Sherlock Homes story, The Doctor’s Case. Outside of the opening quote, the first line for those worried about spoilers, the plot will not be revealed here. You’ll just have to find the book or wait for James’s adaptation. Given his background and access to period-accurate props and costumes, it will surely surpass many of the other films in King’s collection.
Filming is expected to roll in Victoria, Cottonwood House, and of course, Barkerville. Michael Coleman (a Northern FanCon alumni and “Happy” on ABC's Once Upon a Time) will co-produce and star as Watson. James is also working on getting two other previous FanCon guests in supporting roles as well. Although one of the higher profiled projects for James Douglas, The Doctor’s Case will surely not be his last.
This is a passion project, and given legal stipulations, one prohibited to turn a profit, thus a Kickstarter campaign has been created to support the production. You can find the link below, and I implore those supporting the arts to check it out.