The graphic novel My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf was published 2012. It chronicles a short period of time during Backderf's high school years, during which he was schoolfriends with a then-teenaged Jeffrey Dahmer.
For those of you who may not be familiar, Jeffrey Dahmer is one of the most infamous serial killers in American history. He was eventually caught in 1991 after killing 17 young men.
The graphic novel has since been adapted into a motion picture directed by Marc Meyers, which premiered earlier this year at the Tribeca Film Festival. Meyers sat down with Backderf and the movies stars Ross Lynch and Alex Wolff to discuss the film.
Meyers first because interested in the book after seeing a preview copy at NYCC years ago. He knew immediately that he wanted to turn it into a movie.
Meyers said that he made a point to set limits with the character of Dahmer as a high-schooler during the movie. This meant making sure that Dahmer was always treated as a high-schooler. He wanted it to feel like a high-school movie, with admittedly darker subject matter.
Backderf man also had limits when it came to the character of Dahmer. He admits that he allowed Dahmer's crimes to hang off of the end of the story: "It's very manipulative, I know." As for his personal involvement with Dahmer, that ended after graduation. Backderf never reached out, not even after learning of his arrest and the details of his crimes.
The movie was shot on location in Bath, Ohio. The first thing Meyers did was have Backderf take him around Bath, scene by scene, to he various locations in the story. This meant visiting the woods, the mall, and this high school.
This also included shooting inside the Dahmer house. Ross said that at the beginning of shooting it felt very homey and comfortable.
However, as they neared the final scene, the feeling in the house changed.
After a particularly difficult scene in the house, Wolff recalled asking, "Why are you doing this to us, Jeff?" Then all of the lights and generators immediately shut off, mysteriously.
My Friend Dahmer will receive a theatrical release in November 2017. Check out the official trailer for the movie here:
The graphic novel will soon be in its second printing. The second printing will include a new scene, stemming from a story that Backderf said came up in conversation with a friend right before the first printing of the book.