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.
*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