Exclusive Interview: Producer Stone Douglass on Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel
This Tuesday, March 27th, Anchor Bay is releasing on DVD and Blu-ray one of the best genre-related documentaries in some time- Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel- written and directed by Alex Stapleton.
Featuring insights from many of Hollywood's biggest names including Ron Howard, Jack Nicholson, Martin Scorsese, William Shatner, Peter Bogdanovich, Joe Dante, Jonathan Demme, Peter Fonda and Paul W.S. Anderson just to name a few, Corman's World takes fans deep into the life of B-movie pioneer Roger Corman and explores his profound influence on both cult and mainstream films alike.
Recently Dread Central had an opportunity to briefly chat with Stone Douglass, one of the producers on Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel (review here), who discussed the five-year process of getting the documentary made as well as more on why Alex was the perfect director to tell Roger's story and finding new respect for the man who has been involved with over 400 different projects to date and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon even after being in the industry for almost 60 years now.
Dread Central: First of all, congratulations of making one of my favorite films of 2011; it's one of those rare projects that's really informative, entertaining and inspiring as well, especially for those of us working in the independent world. He's got such an amazing story, do you know why we had never seen a documentary about Roger before Alex's?
Stone Douglass: No, nobody had done a bio-piece on Roger ever so it's pretty incredible to be involved with the only one. I think there was an unreleased one a few years back but ours is definitely a more official effort I believe. It really came down to the fact that Alex is the first person to ever get Roger to agree to doing a documentary until now- I think he realized her passion though and saw her enthusiasm for celebrating his work over the years and that was probably what convinced him in the end.
To hear Alex talk about Roger is all you need to hear to know she was the right person to make this movie and tell his story; I think the fact that he was such a trendsetter and was one of the first to celebrate women directors in the genre made a huge impact on her. Roger was always the ultimate risk-taker and I love that fans get to truly see all that he has accomplished and done for the industry over the years.
DC: But even though the story and the material were there, this still wasn't an easy movie to get made- it took you guys about five years if I'm remembering it correctly. Can you talk a bit about what was happening during those five years and how good it feels to now have the movie out and the fact that it has been so well-received?
Stone Douglass: It did take us five years to get Corman's World made; the first year was basically Alex working on her own though. She raised her own seed money and got a sizzle reel together in order to convince Roger and financiers about the project. I got involved then and we just hit the ground running from there. Part of the reason it took us a few years is because right around the time Alex started working on Corman's World, that's when the economy took a huge nose dive so financing was incredibly hard, especially for a documentary project about a B-movie director. It wasn't a risk a lot of people wanted to take but thankfully, all the right partners got involved and we made it to the finish line.
But I have to say, I learned so much about Roger through this whole process and while I definitely respected him before working on this documentary, after discovering so many things about him I think I have a completely newfound respect for him. He's beyond a pioneer and it was amazing to see years of hard work culminate at Cannes when we premiered Corman's World and both Alex and Roger received an eight minute standing ovation. That was an amazing moment for all of us.
DC: I'm still in awe of the interviews that Alex and everyone was able to manage- how difficult was it getting some of the bigger names on board? Was there anyone that you guys missed out on?
Stone Douglass: No part of making this was ever easy but all of the hard work that we all put into this was definitely worth it. We had a lot of luck too along the way, plus a lot of help from Roger himself and Polly Platt who we miss greatly so we were really fortunate to get all of the amazing interviews that we did get.
Sure, there were a few that we just couldn't nail down like James Cameron, who was deep in Avatar at the time, and Quentin (Tarantino), who we had to end up catching on a red carpet at one point, but overall I think we got an amazing dearth of material that celebrated Roger the right way. And him winning the honorary Oscar was just incredible timing for us- what an amazing thing for us to get to experience while making this movie.
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