The Blog


By Jackson Ripley, Esq.
The Times Crime Correspondent

CROUCH END, LONDON, November 14, 1889 - The brutal stabbing of Lord Hull in the early hours of this morning at Hull House is the result of a robbery attempt that went awry, according to a spokesman for Scotland Yard.

Inspector G. Lestrade of The Yard told this correspondent that the grisly stabbing of His Lordship is believed to have occurred after a bungled break-and-entry at Hull House. Lord Hull was found by family members sprawled face forward on his desk, blood from a single stab wound to his back running in rivulets across some important papers he was apparently working on at the time.

"A broken window in the study is thought to have been the point of access for the murderer or murderers," said Mr. Lestrade. "It was a dastardly deed and no effort will be spared in terms of  bringing the culprit or culprits to justice."

The inspector added that The Yard is being assisted in their investigation by renowned detective Mr. Sherlock Holmes of 221b Baker Street, who has worked with authorities in the past in the successful resolution of various crimes of passion. Mr. Holmes was unavailable for comment . However, a member of the household staff, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of being discharged for indiscretion, told this scribe that a large, ornate dagger that His Lordship was known to use as a letter opener was imbedded in the centre of his back.

Present at Hull House at the time of the murder were Lady Rebecca Hull, two sons - William and Jory - and daughter Tabitha. None of the family members would make a public statement about the horrible death of the head of the household, all of them claiming they were too distraught over the tragedy to comment on events leading up to the killing of their beloved patriarch.

A survey by this writer of townspeople in Crouch End resulted in a slightly different picture of the atmosphere at Hull House over the years. Known as a ruthless businessman, Lord Hull is thought to have ruled his household with the same iron fist that he applied to his commercial enterprises. In fact, a rumour is already circulating in the neighbourhood that the killing of Lord Hull might well have been "an inside job" - a term used by lower lifes to describe a crime committed by those well known to the victim.

"I seen Lord Hull treat his family very badly many's the time," said Alfred Glitch, a deliveryman for a greengrocer who supplies foodstuffs and other victuals to the household. "I ain't claiming that he was physically abusive - although Her Ladyship always seemed to have bruises and the occasional black eye when I brought them their goods. All I know is that it wasn't what you would call a happy home."

Another villager - who refused to state his name for fear of reprisals from the family - went so far as to suggest that revenge might have been the motive for the killing. "Mark my words," he said. "There are going to be a few surprises when the authorities complete their investigation."

Inspector Lestrade was quick to scotch these rumours as the vicious whisperings of people who envied Lord Hull for his success in the business world.

"Any reports of such malfeasance will be dealt with immediately by the Hull family's lawyers," said Mr. Lestrade. "As far as I am concerned, this kind of talk is nothing but fake news based on alternative facts that have no place in English society."


The Game's Afoot... and so is the end of your leg

Well, here we go. In 20 minutes we head to the Castle for shoot "day" number one. We will be there from 6:30 PM until very late, recreating the event leading up to the murder of Lord Albert Hull. We wish you were all here with us, and promise to take lots of pictures and video of the whole experience, to share with you as we go. In the meantime, phone silence begins so we won't post again until early tomorrow morning. In the meantime, may we introduce... the Hull family.


The Doctor's in the house...

Hey there, friends and family of The Doctor's Case! It's been far too long since my last post, and I do apologize for that. We've been busy, busy, busy prepping for our shoot in Victoria, BC and now, finally... WE ARE HERE!!!

The folks at Craigdarroch Castle and Emily Carr House have been amazing, patient and kind as we camera and audio test the heck out of their spectacular properties (boy oh boy is this film going to look GOOD), the great folks at the CineVic Society of Independent Filmmakers have been very helpful, and despite some major logistical hiccups over the past few days (most of which we've managed to quell with suitable aplomb) we're all so excited to be producing this movie, along with all of you.

I will post more often from here on in, and can't wait to show you some of the incredibly creative things the team has been getting up to while we've been working away here... for now, however, here are some candid snapshots of the journey from Northern BC to Vancouver Island, in no particular order, courtesy of our public relations specialist and historical consultant (he's also my dad)... Tom Douglas.

With love and gratitude,

James, Writer/Director

The Doctor's Kick(starter)

Hello friends, family, and followers of The Doctor's Case!

Well, here we are. Today is the day. The day we start asking you for money.

There really is no delicate way to put it (believe me, I've been sitting here for more than an hour trying to find one): in order to make The Doctor's Case the incredible, collaborative, and creative experience it will be; in order to make sure that our (nearly) 50-person cast and crew have the production resources they need to do their jobs to the best of their collective abilities; in fact, to make the movie AT ALL - we need your help.

Some amazing members of the Cariboo and Northern BC business communities have come forward to provide our film's micro-budget a stable foundation, but if we hope to achieve what we all know we can achieve with The Doctor's Case, we are going to need additional funds.

Which brings me to our Kickstarter campaign

Over the next 33 days, we (that is Norm, me, and everyone else associated with The Doctor's Case so far) will be flooding our social media feeds and email lists with pleas for assistance. We have support levels for (almost) every personal budget, from $10 to $10,000, and the perks for each level are pretty amazing. We need to raise $40,000 by February 28th at midnight to ensure our project's success (the way Kickstarter works, it's all or nothing: either we raise 40K or we get zilch) and I for one know we can do it. With your help.

If you have the ability to pledge something towards our Kickstarter campaign, please do. I don't know how to ask this of you in any other way. Those of you who know me know exactly how important this project is - not just because it's the directing gig of a lifetime for me personally, but because it's the [fill in your production job here] gig of a lifetime for so many of the folks I am lucky to be working with; the folks who said yes to The Doctor's Case before I could even finish asking the question.

I love these folks.

Honestly, it's for them that I ask this favour of you. It's for them that I will keep asking, every day, for the next 33 days. Please help us if you can, with whatever you can. Please help this amazing team create something truly magical. Something that we can all be proud of.

We won't let you down.

~ James Douglas, Writer/Director

The Doctor's Test

Hello family, friends, and fans of The Doctor's Case! We have a very big announcement coming tomorrow, regarding a very special member of our cast. She is significant for two very specific reasons (okay, for many reasons, but let's focus on these two):

The first reason is that she is an incredibly accomplished and undeniably generous actor who will be known to many of you reading this blog. As a first time film director (and long time fan) having the opportunity to work with someone of this calibre, someone whom I have been watching in movies and on television for most of my adult life- well, you can imagine how I might feel about that.

The second reason is because the role she will play for us in The Doctor's Case is a role of our own invention. By that I mean the character does not exist in Stephen King's original short story, but rather she is the creation of several team members working in tandem in order to pull off an idea that I have to try something different. Something special.

Irene Adler by Charles Dana Gibson

*Warning, there be mild spoilers ahead!*

You see, as stories go, The Doctor’s Case is pretty male-centric. This is by no means a slight on the author, and it actually makes some logical sense: the story is written as though it would be published during Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s lifetime, and the source material wasn’t exactly feminist. But, as it happens, I am a feminist, and I feel it would be a missed opportunity for me if I didn't at least try to bring some strong female voices into the story we are adapting.

It would be great, for example, if the film could ultimately pass the Bechdel Test.

To start, we are changing one of three adult male suspects in the "locked room murder mystery" at the heart of The Doctor's Case into a woman, without altering anything in King's original story other than changing a few pronouns and adding a couple of extra descriptive words.

As further means to this end we have decided to visually and dramatically unpack the “framing device” of The Doctor's Case's literary narrative – the fact that Watson is relating this tale 50 years after the events he’s describing took place - and write original material that is set in the fall of 1940. We have fashioned a couple of essential (albeit, relatively short) scenes involving an injured, 87 year-old Dr. Watson and Captain Norton, the American military nurse who refuses, for reasons of safety, to leave his side.

These 1940 scenes are imperative to the dramatic framing of our story, and provide its epilogue. The scenes take place in London, at night, during the Blitz; a period of intense bombing of the city by Nazi aircraft in World War II. The sights and sounds of war on the home-front serve as background to our older Watson’s retelling of the events of The Doctor's Case as they occurred in 1889, and provide a powerful juxtaposition in visual style as we cut back and forth from one time period to the other throughout the course of the film.

I am happy to report that our search for the perfect actor to play Captain Norton, the American military nurse who serves as audience to Dr. Watson's tale, and who guards a very interesting story of her own, is over. The list had only one name on it- and she said yes!

We will tell you all about it tomorrow. Promise. It's gonna be so great.

 James Douglas | Producer, Director