In 2000, Mark Hogancamp was nearly beaten to death by five men outside of a bar. Left with brain damage and little money to afford therapy, Hogancamp began creating miniature doll versions of himself, his friends, and his attackers as a way to cope. This true story inspired the 2010 documentary “Marwencol” and the upcoming film “Welcome to Marwen,” directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Steve Carell.
Carell told Variety at the film’s Monday premiere in Hollywood that he was inspired by the documentary, but he wasn’t sure it needed to be turned into a scripted feature film. It wasn’t until he met with Zemeckis and learned about the director’s idea involving animation and motion capture that he realized there could be something there.
“We got together and he explained what his vision was, which was essentially to take this world that Mark had created, this miniature world, and bring it to life with motion capture,” Carell said. “That felt like a really fun and interesting way in, to be able to really even see more of Mark Hogancamp’s imagination coming to life.”
Diane Kruger said there was a lot of over-the-top elements, from the crazy accent she had to do as one of Hogancamp’s dolls to the DeLorean time machine from “Back to the Future” (also directed by Zemeckis). She also had to appear in front of a green screen for the first time and act opposite a tennis ball, which she called a daunting task.
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“Day one felt like, ‘How am I present in this scene? How can I profess my love to a tennis ball?’ Then I realized, the tennis ball loves me no matter what,” Kruger joked.
Kruger said the film was important for anyone who had been bullied or is experiencing a dark time, and Stefanie von Pfetten, who plays Hogancamp’s love interest, also spoke to the movie’s message of art as therapy. Von Pfetten also said the film is a testament to strong women, with so many of Hogancamp’s female friends helping him on his journey, including characters played by Janelle Monáe, Merritt Wever, Eiza González, and more.
“In this day and age right now, it’s incredibly timely. I love the story about the women coming in his life, and representing an amazing hero-type importance,” she said. “Without using the term ‘feminist’ too much — but hey, we can’t use it enough — I think it’s a feminist film.”
And with the anniversary of “Anchorman 2’s” release date approaching, Carell also spoke about the possibility of playing Brick in another film in the famous comedy series.
“If they make another one, I’ll do another one. Those are really fun. That’s just hanging out with friends and being silly,” he told Variety.
He also said if asked, he would definitely appear on the upcoming “Ron Burgundy Podcast,” which is “hosted” by the character Will Ferrell played in the “Anchorman” films.
“Sure, if he wants me to come in and say some non-sequiturs as Brick, of course. I would in a second,” he said.