SEVERE WX : Severe Thunderstorm Warning View Alerts

Steve Carell and Robert Zemeckis on why you should see 'Welcome to Marwen'

In "Welcome to Marwen," Steve Carell plays a photographer who funnels the pain of a personal tragedy into ar...

Posted: Dec 18, 2018 1:54 PM
Updated: Dec 18, 2018 1:54 PM

In "Welcome to Marwen," Steve Carell plays a photographer who funnels the pain of a personal tragedy into art using dolls.

But Carell didn't get to keep the doll made to look like him.

Celebrities

Heroes and heroism

Society

Steve Carell

Arts and entertainment

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Consumer products

Movies

Robert Zemeckis

Toys and games

"It was too expensive," he told CNN. "It's locked away in a vault somewhere."

Fortunately for audiences, Carell's performance hasn't been tucked away but will be on full display when the film premieres Friday.

The actor and Robert Zemeckis, the film's director and co-writer, talked to CNN about the drama, which is about imagination and which took a great deal of it to get made.

The movie is based on the real life story of artist Mark Hogancamp, who, after being brutally beaten by a gang of men, constructed an imaginary Belgian town, Marwen, using dolls -- including one that allowed him to be Captain Hogie, a heroic World War II fighter pilot.

The story was the subject of the 2010 documentary "Marwencol," which caught Zemeckis' attention.

The director of such classic films as "Forrest Gump" (1994) and "Back to the Future" (1985) said he was intrigued both by Hogancamp using art to heal and the stories in his mind's eye that the photographer shared in the documentary.

"I thought, you know, a movie could bring that to life," Zemeckis said. "That's what movies do better than anything."

The movie could be viewed as "in the moment" -- hitting on subjects such as the power of women, post-traumatic stress disorder, community, substance abuse, the need for healing.

Carell said he found Hogancamp's story to be "life-affirming."

"It stirred a lot of things up inside of me, and it was something I couldn't get out of my head," the actor said. "The fact that he endured such suffering, such pain, such a traumatic experience but didn't lose his sense of humor, his decency.

"He never became bitter, and he never became cynical," the star added. "I think that aspect of his personality really stood out to me."

The film flips between the real world and that of the Belgian village, where the dolls come to life with motion-capture animation.

Carell said using such technology was different from his usual acting gigs that have included his starring role on the comedy TV series "The Office" and other dramatic films such as "Foxcatcher" (2014).

"Imagine wearing a light gray Lycra jumpsuit for a month and a half that clings to all of the worst parts of your body," he said of filming against a plain background as part of the stop motion process. "It was an exercise in humility."

But it was also an exercise in creativity, with much of the action imagined by a cast that includes Leslie Mann, Janelle Monaé and Diane Kruger.

Carell said he had some trepidation acting in a mostly empty room with only instructions from Zemeckis and his team, but the challenge turned out to be fun.

"I was afraid at first because I'd never done anything like that, and you know actors like to have costumes and props and things to rely on that way as reference points," he said. "But even taking those away, it was fun to just imagine that they were there."

An even bigger challenge for him and Zemeckis is to get audiences to come see their movie.

They both acknowledged that the film might be a tough sell, especially given that it's not the type of movie that a trailer can easily capture.

If you think of a trailer as being an easy-to-thumb-through comic book, "Welcome to Marwen" is an engrossing novel.

"I would like people to see the movie and enjoy the movie," Zemeckis said. "I hope they have an entertaining experience, and I hope they come away feeling what I felt about the story from the beginning, which is 'Gee, it's kind of hopeful.' "

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 20573

Reported Deaths: 878
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin6918534
Ramsey231697
Stearns192312
Nobles14572
Anoka116455
Dakota105935
Olmsted55110
Washington50626
Kandiyohi4541
Clay36623
Rice3652
Scott3462
Wright2401
Sherburne2081
Todd1970
Benton1662
Carver1612
Mower1501
Steele1400
Martin1245
Blue Earth1121
St. Louis11113
Pine850
Freeborn840
Winona7715
Carlton730
Nicollet683
Cottonwood620
Polk582
Otter Tail550
Itasca527
Goodhue522
Watonwan500
Chisago481
Dodge430
Meeker420
Crow Wing421
Le Sueur411
Chippewa400
Jackson390
Morrison380
Murray350
Becker320
Lyon310
Douglas290
McLeod260
Isanti250
Waseca240
Rock210
Unassigned199
Fillmore171
Mille Lacs161
Wabasha160
Swift150
Sibley120
Beltrami120
Wilkin113
Norman110
Kanabec111
Cass113
Faribault110
Brown112
Pipestone100
Marshall80
Pennington70
Pope70
Aitkin60
Wadena60
Yellow Medicine50
Koochiching50
Lincoln50
Mahnomen51
Renville50
Lac qui Parle30
Red Lake30
Big Stone30
Redwood30
Traverse30
Grant20
Houston20
Clearwater20
Hubbard10
Kittson10
Lake10
Roseau10

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 17227

Reported Deaths: 456
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk3714108
Woodbury255524
Black Hawk167639
Linn92775
Marshall86611
Dallas84914
Johnson5987
Muscatine54339
Wapello5004
Crawford4772
Tama39023
Louisa3347
Scott3319
Dubuque31916
Jasper25616
Buena Vista2310
Pottawattamie2106
Sioux1990
Washington1798
Allamakee1184
Wright1170
Plymouth1080
Warren1060
Story941
Poweshiek888
Bremer676
Henry611
Clinton601
Boone540
Des Moines531
Mahaska526
Cedar451
Guthrie433
Taylor370
Benton371
Jones360
Monroe334
Iowa320
Clarke320
Osceola320
Shelby310
Buchanan310
Clayton303
Marion290
Webster271
Fayette260
Hamilton260
Madison241
Monona230
Cerro Gordo221
Lee220
Winneshiek210
Davis200
Lyon190
Grundy190
Harrison190
Floyd181
Jefferson150
Cherokee150
Butler150
Mills140
Delaware140
Humboldt130
Sac130
Greene130
Keokuk130
Hardin130
Howard120
Hancock120
Appanoose123
Audubon111
Jackson110
Cass110
Ida100
Page100
Clay100
Winnebago100
Carroll90
Van Buren80
Franklin80
Dickinson80
Adair80
Chickasaw80
Kossuth70
Emmet70
Lucas60
Montgomery60
Union60
Adams50
Ringgold40
Fremont40
Pocahontas40
Mitchell40
Palo Alto30
Worth30
Unassigned30
Calhoun20
Wayne10
Decatur00
Rochester
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 75°
Mason City
Broken Clouds
76° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 76°
Albert Lea
Scattered Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 75°
Austin
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 79°
Charles City
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 81°
Storms a brewin'
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Will Memorial Day cause a coronavirus spike?

Image

Can you catch Covid-19 from mosquitos?

Image

125 Live Restaurant partnership

Image

Taps in City Park

Image

100 Most traveled days in MN have begun

Image

Parade in the park

Image

Field of Flags

Image

Pausing the pandemic to remember the fallen

Image

Memorial Day Dinner

Image

Salvation Army Dental Care Needs PPE

Community Events