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Producing and Performing with Marcus Rosner

Producing and Performing with Marcus Rosner

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Desiree D

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Christmas lights can seem magical, transforming our homes into illuminated communities for everyone to enjoy. It takes a string, or several strings connected together to create a glowing masterpiece, yet for many it only takes one missing bulb to extinguish the glow. Likewise, in movies, each individual character and crew member plays an important role, and when they all come together, magic happens. In the upcoming Christmas with a Crown, Prince Nicolas (portrayed by fan favourite Marcus Rosner) sets aside his royal duties to explore the vibrant and glowing community of Wintervail. Although palace life continues in his absence, the bright future of the royal family is in question.

Although he grew up on the prairies and not in a palace, Marcus Rosner is a bright light on the screen, whether he is portraying someone’s prince charming, or an upper class intruder in Hope Valley. His humour, timing, and presence are all assets that Marcus brings to these roles, which make him a joy to watch as a viewer. In a project close to his heart and home (literally, as it was filmed in Edmonton, minutes from his hometown of Sherwood Park, Alberta), Marcus shared more about his dual roles as an actor and executive producer, and how Christmas with a Crown cast and crew came together to make this magic happen.

SC: Acting was a path you pursued after being inspired by theatre in New York. What is your favourite Broadway show?

MR: I can’t profess to be the most educated actor when it comes to Broadway history. I think the show that I’ve seen and enjoyed the most was actually a musical, The Book of Mormon. I’ve always been a huge fan of Trey Parker and Matt Stone, so my fiancé and I went to see it one year on New Year’s Eve on Broadway and it’s a cherished memory.

SC: If you hadn’t chosen acting, what might you be doing now?

MR: Honestly, I’m not sure. I think there’s a few things I could have done and been decent at. At one point I wanted to be a fireman, we’ve got quite a few of those in my family. At another point I wanted to be a sports agent. And at another point I wanted to be a lawyer. But I think eventually I realized I didn’t want to be just any one thing and maybe that’s why I settled on acting- it gives me a chance to at least walk in the shoes of all of them.

SC: You auditioned for the role of Charles Kensington and also Lee Coulter on When Calls the Heart. Did you feel connected to one of these characters more than the other during auditions?

MR: If I’m being completely honest, I thought Lee was obviously the cooler character. He literally rides into town on a motorcycle and brings all these new technologies and ideas. But I think I made sense as Charles and obviously the show felt the same.

SC: Throughout the seasons of When Calls the Heart, different characters that are not visible in Hope Valley are brought up by the townsfolk. If Charles’ name was brought up in Season 8, what story would you hope or want to be shared about him?

MR: I don’t know. Something that would make me laugh. Maybe it’d be funny if word came in that I went bankrupt building a shrine in Elizabeth’s honor.

SC: Did you prefer filming in the Thatcher mansion (Hycroft Manor) or setting foot in Hope Valley (Jamestown Movie Set)?

MR: Oh, hands down I liked Jamestown more. It’s like one of those places you would go on a field trip in elementary school. Feels like you’re walking through another time. And there’s a nice meadow and a lake back there. It was really a very peaceful place.

SC: Even though your character was not supported by fans as the main love interest, what have the #Hearties meant to you over the years?

MR: Every actor from every show hails their fans at the greatest but I dunno… I think these Hearties just might be on another level. I got to meet some of them when they did the first Hearties Family Reunion and even though I was this character throwing a wedge between their favourite couple, they couldn’t have been sweeter. And even now, years later, they follow my career and support me in other projects on other networks. It’s kind of wild.

SC: A Harvest Wedding and Garage Sale Mystery: All that Glitters have recently aired on Heart & Home. Any favourite moments from these sets or characters that you can share with our audience?

MR: Those particular movies were not only some of the first projects I did with Hallmark but some of my first acting jobs, so it’s funny (and perhaps a little cringey) to watch them.

I remember auditioning for the Garage Sale Mystery one and Peter DeLuise was directing. His wife, Anne Marie DeLuise, worked at that casting office and I think she might have put in a good word or something (she was always so supportive) because Peter was clearly in my corner and trying to help me get the job by basically giving me a line-by-line reading of how he wanted me to do it, haha. I think luckily, I was quick enough on the uptake that I passed the test, if only just barely.

SC: When Poinsettias for Christmas first aired on Heart & Home in 2018, there was some discussion on the pronunciation. Do you pronounce poinsettia as poin-set-tia like Shawn did in the movie, or do you personally pronounce it closer to poin-setta?

MR: I’m an Alberta boy so I had NEVER in my life heard it pronounced poin-set-tia until I walked onto that set with all those Americans, haha. We play to the American market, so I just deferred to their judgment on that one, but it still sounds weird to me.

SC: What is your favourite holiday tradition?

MR: I think just going home to Sherwood Park (Edmonton area) and seeing my friends and family. I move around so much throughout the year, which is how I like it, but come Christmas it’s good to be with your real people.

SC: In the upcoming movie Christmas with a Crown, airing on Super Channel Heart & Home on December 13th, you are an executive producer and also portray the lead character Prince Nicolas. What can you share about your experience on set in these dual roles?

MR: I will say that in the lead up to the shoot I really made sure I was immersing myself in the pre-production and trying to help out where I could- finding locations, finding extras, pitching ideas…etc. and really just learning the process. However, once we started shooting, the schedule of a lead in one of these movies is just too demanding to focus on much else. The sheer volume of material that you need to accomplish day-in-day-out for weeks is exhausting on its own. As far as being on set I’d say that with any of my projects when I have a strong opinion about something creatively I’ll voice it, and so although I technically had more license to do that on this one I wouldn’t say that particular aspect was much different than other movies I’ve done.

SC: Prince Nicolas has an accent. Did you find maintaining the accent challenging or enjoyable?

MR: I’ll admit, doing the accent was a challenge that intimidated me because I’d never done this particular dialect at any major level and now I was going to have to not only maintain it for an entire shoot, but jump in and out from scene to scene when my character is pretending to be a local. I worked with a great vocal coach (David LeReany based in Calgary) over Zoom and by the time we started shooting I actually felt pretty dialed in. (Let’s hope the audience thinks so at least, haha)

SC: Christmas with a Crown was filmed in Edmonton near the place where you grew up. Can you elaborate about the experience of filming there and having family and friends as part of it?

MR: In all honesty, making this movie has been one of the highlights of my career so far and it has everything to do with how it was made. Growing up in Edmonton I didn’t see a single movie, of any size, roll through town. To be able to bring a project like this to our city and not only star in it, but to have it be my first producing job was a real full circle moment for me. I was shooting on streets I had countless memories on. I was recruiting friends and family to be extras in scenes. I was having dinner with my Mom after long days on set. It was amazing. One of the great compromises of my life has been that in order to chase my dreams I had to leave all my loved ones behind. To be able to wake up in my hometown and do a job that was only a dream at one point was surreal. And we’re going to do it again before long I’m sure.

Dylan Pearce, our director, Andrew Scholotiuk and Michael Lazarovitch, our producers, deserve all the credit in the world for fighting an uphill battle to bring projects like this to a city that is starving for a spot at the table in the Film and Television industry.

SC: Did Covid have any effect on the filming of Christmas with a Crown?

MR: It did present some considerable challenges and forced us to adapt on the fly. The result was essentially putting in place the all the safety measurements you see on film sets now, but we had to do it overnight.

SC: During this pandemic, were there any special projects or interests that you focused on especially when staying at home?

MR: Too many to count really. I’ve had a long gestating psychological thriller called “Oliver Split” brewing in my mind that I finally sat down and wrote at the beginning of this year and continued on into quarantine. My fiancé also works in TV and so the two of us continued development on some show concepts we’ve been working on for a long time. On top of that we decided to try our hand at writing a Christmas movie since we have access to greenlighting a project like that. That was a lot of fun and it came out really well. We work well together and it’s especially rewarding to be creative as a team. Oh, and I started taking singing lessons over Zoom, haha. So, safe to say we tried to keep pretty busy. We’re big believers that there’s a silver lining in any situation…even if that lining is microscopic.

SC: With having an additional role of executive producer on Christmas with a Crown, will you continue to look at other opportunities in the creative process or remain focused more on acting? Why?

MR: I’d say the flood gates are open now. Shortly after I was able to get my acting career off the ground, I grew to believe that I would make a decent producer. It really is a blessing to have a career as an actor but one of the things that drives me crazy is the down time. The down time between jobs, the down time between scenes on set, the down time between takes…sometimes it just feels like endless waiting and as someone who has an obsessive compulsion to make the most out of my time on this planet it can feel like a waste.

Producing, developing, writing, all these things give me another creative outlet that I can control. I need that. I certainly haven’t done anything on my own worth bragging about yet but I’m learning from some really amazing people like the ones I mentioned above. And just being in and out of meetings, making pitch packages for projects…that hope of one day telling stories that are important to me on a personal level is incredibly motivating.

SC: With a talent to portray characters that you often love to hate and hate to love, Marcus Rosner is well adored by fans around the world. As acting now connects Marcus into additional areas of the industry including writing and producing, keep up to date on all of his projects by following him on Twitter and Instagram. Then, be sure to tune in to Christmas with a Crown, airing Sunday December 13th on Super Channel Heart & Home, to watch Marcus light up the screen as Prince Nicolas, and see if he will find his happily ever after.

Social Media:
IG: marcus_rosner
Twitter: @themarcusrosner