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The Sandman Has Arrived! PDF Print E-mail
Written by J.R. Bookwalter   
Dec 03, 2004 at 02:00 AM
THE SANDMAN marks the 10th anniversary for director J.R. Bookwalter's Suburban Tempe production company. After the successful release of his self-financed OZONE in early 1994, Bookwalter took time off to devote to other ventures...but by the middle of the year, the director was already itching to get back to moviemaking.
After going through a number of projects in development, Bookwalter chose THE SANDMAN, a story that he and former effects artist David Lange (ROBOT NINJA) had first come up with in late 1989. In early 1990 Bookwalter enlisted 18-year-old Matthew Jason Walsh to pen the screenplay; it was Walsh's first professional crack at a feature film script after cutting his teeth on a number of unproduced personal projects. When the project could not be adequately financed right away, Bookwalter and Walsh continued to finesse the screenplay while attending to other productions such as KINGDOM OF THE VAMPIRE (1991), which Walsh wrote, scored and played the lead in. Bookwalter directed the movie for Cinema Home Video.
Nearly five years after coming up with the premise of an insomniac writer who discovers why people are dying in his small town, Bookwalter dusted off the script for THE SANDMAN and began pre-production on the film in late August, 1994. By this time Walsh had gone on to write several screenplays produced by Paramount subsidiary Torchlight Entertainment, including BLONDE HEAVEN and PETTICOAT PLANET. Bookwalter himself wrote the final three drafts of the screenplay from which the movie was shot.
Production began on October 29th in Niles, Ohio with a cast and crew of many first-timers, but several of Bookwalter's previous thespians returned, including Barbara Katz-Norrod (SKINNED ALIVE) as Mrs. Martinak, producer Edwards as talk show host Gerald Rivers and even screenwriter Walsh as the head-banging Ozzy. The remainder of the cast was culled from local talent, including A.J. Richards as Gary, Rita Gutowski as Maris, Terry J. Lipko as Bud and James Viront as Zachariah.
For the next three and a half weeks, the cast and crew would call their small trailer park home. The production would also travel to various other parts of Ohio for studio and location shoots involving extensive dream sequences that are at the core of the film. After wrapping production in late November, Bookwalter again took time off to look after other aspects of his business and THE SANDMAN finally entered the editing stage in March, 1995. Due to a hectic schedule, the film didn't enter the final stages of post-production until October, delaying its intended Halloween release.
With THE SANDMAN now completed, director Bookwalter is planning two new productions for 1996. Currently in the works is POLYMORPH, a sci-fi thriller with a vast array of mutation and other effects. OZONE scripter David Wagner is developing a sequel to Bookwalter's popular ROBOT NINJA (1989) which may go before the cameras in `96 as well.

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