British Columbia

Sherlock Holmes goes to Barkerville with Stephen King

A group of amateur filmmakers in are shooting a movie version of "The Doctor's Case," a Sherlock Holmes story written by Stephen King at locations including Prince George, Barkerville Historic Site near Quesnel and Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria.

A group of amateur filmmakers are shooting a movie version of a Stephen King-authored Sherlock Holmes story

James Douglas is creating a film version of a Sherlock Holmes story written by Stephen King. (James Douglas/The Doctor's Case)

A group of amateur filmmakers are shooting a movie version of The Doctor's Case, a Sherlock Holmes story written by Stephen King at B.C. locations including Prince George, the ghost town of Barkerville and Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria.

The story was written by King for a compilation of new Sherlock Holmes stories in 1986 and later republished in his collection Nightmares & Dreamscapes.

King has granted non-commercial rights to The Doctor's Case, allowing a film version to be screened at festivals and educational institutions, but not commercially. (The Doctor's Case/Facebook)

The tale is being brought to life by James Douglas, the public relations manager for Barkerville, a historic goldrush town near Quesnel in the B.C. Interior.

"That story always stuck in the back of my mind," Douglas told CBC Daybreak North host Carolina de Ryk.

"I started to fantasize about what it would be like to make The Doctor's Case at Barkerville ... but never really took it seriously."

King's blessing

That changed when he discovered the Dollar Babies initiative: a list of short stories King has written that haven't been optioned off for movie rights. 

King wrote 'The Doctor's Case' for a Sherlock Holmes compilation published in 1986. (Cover image/The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes)

He allows students and amateur filmmakers to write a short pitch explaining how they would like to film the story, and, if approved, grants the non-commercial rights to do so.

Douglas made the pitch and, much to his surprise, was given the green light to go ahead.

Star Trek actress on board

From there, he kept getting what he calls "signs from the universe" to move forward with his vision.

One of the biggest was when, days after he found out he had the rights to the story, he got a Facebook notification telling him it was actress Denise Crosby's birthday. 

Crosby played Lt. Tasha Yar on Star Trek: The Next Generation and had met Douglas at a "geek weekend" event held in Barkerville a few years earlier. 
Denise Crosby has signed on to play the role of Captain Norton. (Handout photo/The Doctor's Movie)

"For whatever reason, she and I hit it off," Douglas explained, and the pair kept in touch.

When he got the notification about her birthday, he decided to ask if she'd like to take part – and she agreed.

The role of Sherlock Holmes is being played by JP Winslow, a theatre actor who has brought numerous historic characters to life in Barkerville. Douglas' old friend Michael Coleman, best known for his role in ABC's Once Upon A Time, has signed on as Holmes' sidekick  Dr. Watson.

Douglas says he can't quite believe how quickly what he once though of as a pipe dream is coming together.

"I feel like I walked in to buy a used car at a car lot and I walked out with a Ferarri," he laughed.

Douglas is setting up a crowdsourcing campaign to come up with a budget, and has secured filming locations at historic site including Barkerville and Cottonwood House in the Cariboo and at Craigdaroch Castle in Victoria.

With files from Jordan Tucker.

To hear the full story, click on the audio labeled 'James Douglas explains how Stephen King gave him permission to bring Sherlock Holmes to Barkerville'

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