Robert Zemeckis: ‘The Welcome to Marwen cast embraced motion capture’

All the actors in director Robert Zemeckis’ upcoming movie Welcome to Marwen embraced motion capture because it isn’t as stop-start as traditional filming.The drama tells the real-life story of Mark Hogancamp, who was savagely attacked by a group of me…

All the actors in director Robert Zemeckis’ upcoming movie Welcome to Marwen embraced motion capture because it isn’t as stop-start as traditional filming.

The drama tells the real-life story of Mark Hogancamp, who was savagely attacked by a group of men in 2000. To help him deal with trauma, he made a miniature Belgian town called Marwen in his backyard and used dolls based on people he knew in real life to create epic World War II battles and take photographs of his characters in action.

Zemeckis brought these fantasy sequences to life in his movie, which stars Steve Carell, Leslie Mann, Janelle Monae and Eiza Gonzalez. They all act as themselves in the real world scenes and as their doll alter egos in the fantasy sequences, which required them to put on a grey bodysuit covered in dots and perform via motion capture.

“The thing they miss is, they don’t get to wear a costume, but they love the fact that it’s like theatre, they can act all day long and there’s no stopping,” The Forrest Gump filmmaker explained to SFX magazine. “You don’t have to wait an hour and a half between 30-second performance pieces. So I’ve never had an actor say, ‘I’ll never do this again!’ They all embrace it.”

However, he had to remind his cast that they had to just play their characters, not act like dolls.

“The thing I remember telling them that they had to trust me on is that you don’t have to think about being a doll, because the image will take care of that… We had to have that conversation a lot, about not doing anything to remind the audience that you’re a doll,” he added.

Zemeckis cast Carell because he knew he would have the dramatic side needed for real-life Mark as well as the “comedic swagger” of his doll alter ego Captain Hogie.

They both went to meet the real Mark to help create a fuller picture of what he’s really like.

“He’s very much on board and anything that is sensitive to him we don’t go near… when Steve and I went to talk to Mark, it was more like we were interviewing him not to create the story, but to fill in the blanks for us,” Zemeckis shared.

Welcome to Marwen is in North American theatres from 21 December (18) and elsewhere in 2019.

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