Sometimes it’s worth playing by the rules. In other cases, it is worth pushing on them.
Saratoga-based filmmaker Spencer Sherry set out to do the former, but ended up doing the latter in his last effort; an adaptation of Stephen King’s frightening short story “The Monkey.”
During the pandemic, Sherri wrote a film script for him with plans to present it on the King’s Dollar Baby program, in which the author gives students and aspiring filmmakers permission (for $ 1) to adapt selected stories from him. The catch is they can’t profit from their adaptations. Several famous filmmakers and directors such as Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Atonement, The Green Mile) started their careers through the program.
“I heard about this program a couple of years ago from a friend who made it, and I got the impression that any of his stories are available,” Sherri said.
It turns out Monkey was not part of the program, although Sherri only found out about it after he wrote the script. He initially decided to postpone it, but this year he went back to the script and decided to see if there was anything he could do with it.
“I like my idea, I like the story. I’m a huge fan of Stephen King, which is why I got into this business, ”said Sherri.
He turned to King’s agent and offered his adaptation of the story.
“[I] first asked for a real commercial option, ”said Sherri. This was quickly dismissed.
“So I said, ‘Okay, I know I am not allowed to ask, and it says right on the website not to ask, but can I renew Dollar Baby? “… I just want to do it because I love this story.”
The next day, the contract ended up in his inbox, along with a note from King’s aide commenting on how unusual it was for King to grant these rights to a story that went beyond the usual stories available to the Little Dollar program.
According to Sherry, Darabont once had rights to the story, but let them expire and this will be the first film adaptation of The Monkey.
The up-and-coming filmmaker doesn’t take this opportunity for granted. Sherri, a Oneonta native who attended SUNY University in Albany, worked in the industry in New York for about a year before moving to Saratoga in 2017. He has worked as a production assistant for films such as Set It Up with Zoe Deutsch, Glen Powell, Ty Diggs, Lucy Liu and Pete Davidson.
Monkey, which was published as part of King’s book Skeleton Crew, marks the first time Sherri has adapted an author’s story. He was interested in this because of the ambiguity of the story.
“I love stories, especially science fiction or horror stories, that really combine grounded drama with some kind of supernatural element, which is why I have always liked Stephen King,” Sherri said.
King’s story follows a young father, Hal, whose two children find the groovy, clapping ape that haunted him as a child. Every time the plates of money clink, someone close to him dies.
In the adaptation of Sherri, the storyline has moved forward a bit; The two children (Dennis and Pete) are adults and Pete will soon have his first child. As he deals with all the anxieties associated with it, there are also memories of the monkey horror seen in King’s story.
“This is a unique opportunity to make this story my own and a part of it almost like a sequel, where I kind of show where these characters are 20, 30 years after the original story, and therefore it is interesting to try to balance the work of King and the themes of his story,” said Sherry.
To create the film, he teamed up with Colonie director Joe Gitl, who recently released Void, and will be producing Monkey.
Their goal is to keep the adaptation as local as possible by enlisting the help of local companies, local actors, artists, etc.
“This is also what I really want to do with people in the metropolitan area, as well as with colleagues and industry professionals who work in this area. I love the work of many people in this area, and I want this experience to be as collaborative and fun as possible, ”said Sherri.
“My goal is to support and work with passionate filmmakers who have unique perspectives and stories to tell,” Gitl said. “Working with Spencer on this project fits that bill. There is a growing youth movement of proactive local filmmakers that we are pleased and proud to be a part of, and our goal is to continue to support, promote and ultimately benefit this community. closer to this movie. “
They launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for a Halloween movie and raised over $ 13,000 from their $ 35,000 goal. The campaign will run until January 6th.
If all goes according to plan, filming will begin in May. In the meantime, Sherri will be looking for locations and connecting with other members of the local film community to work with them. After all, when the production is complete, he will be able to show it at select film festivals and theaters. He will also send a copy to King, who reportedly watches films associated with each Dollar Baby contract.
“This is just an amazing opportunity that can start [my] career, ”Sherri said.
To learn more about the project, visit indiegogo.com.
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Categories: Entertainment, Life and Art