Steve Carell worked with ‘doll handlers’ on Welcome to Marwen

Steve Carell found it interesting to work with “doll handlers” on the set of Welcome to Marwen.The actor portrays Mark Hogancamp in the Robert Zemeckis-directed film, which tells the true story of how the American artist created a fictional village fil…

Steve Carell found it interesting to work with “doll handlers” on the set of Welcome to Marwen.

The actor portrays Mark Hogancamp in the Robert Zemeckis-directed film, which tells the true story of how the American artist created a fictional village filled with sets and dolls in order to help him cope with the trauma of being physically assaulted.

During the shoot, Steve had to interact with many dolls, and has now described how there was a whole team dedicated to getting the figurines in just the right position.

“There were doll handlers – there were people who were specifically designated to pose the dolls, to help us articulate the dolls in certain ways. Because Mark Hogancamp is very good at it, he creates this world and is able to pose the dolls in ways which exude a lot of emotion in his photographs,” he said in a video interview with Collider.com. “So, I had to learn, it was sort of a learning curve, because I haven’t played with G.I. Joe (action figures) in a long, long time, and when I did, it wasn’t artful.”

The movie also stars Leslie Mann, Janelle Monae, Eiza Gonzalez, Gwendoline Christie and Diane Kruger.

Welcome to Marwen features a combination of live-action and CGI scenes, and during the chat, Steve also recalled the useful advice he was given by Forrest Gump filmmaker Robert on how to work in the space.

“You’re just in this huge, empty room and you’re imagining everything. He said, ‘Think of it as really low rent black box theatre, you know, no props, no stage per se, just some platforms and it’s all in your imagination.’ And I thought, ‘That’s a really good piece of advice,'” the 56-year-old added.

Welcome to Marwen is now showing in cinemas.

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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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