Leslie Mann Interview: Welcome to Marwen

Leslie Mann is a comedian and actress who has worked on such films as The 40-Year-Old Virgin with Steve Carell, Knocked Up with Seth Rogen, and Blockers with John Cena.  Her most recent film is Welcome to Marwen, directed by Robert Zemeckis. In it, she plays Nicol, a neighbor to Steve Carell’s character Mark, who is trying to rebuild his life after a major trauma.

Screen Rant: First of all, Leslie, great, great job. This movie, it's so much of a message in here in so many different ways. Can’t begin to talk about that. Can you talk to me about the [motion capture] performance? Because you don't really do a lot of these. So, talk to me about that experience. Because this is pretty innovative, what they do with the technology here.

Leslie Mann: It's my first time doing it.

Screen Rant: Really?

Leslie Mann: Yeah, it was really interesting. We wear these gray suits with little sensors on them and we worked in a big warehouse, with green, a green warehouse. And you have very minimal props and everything is super simple. And then, as we were working, you play the scenes like you normally would. And you just have to use your imagination a little more, for like what your wardrobe would be like, or what the scenery would be. But when we were shooting the performance capture, which is what it's called. I was calling it motion capture, but I guess it's called performance capture. We were able to look at the monitors and see ourselves instantly become animated.

Screen Rant: Oh, really?

Leslie Mann: Yeah. So, it was really cool. And the difference between motion capture and performance capture is it's like a step up from motion capture. Because it captures emotion in your face. So, it feels more like a real person, the dolls do.

Screen Rant: So, what was your first reaction when you see yourself in doll form?

Leslie Mann: Well I thought, “This looks nothing like me. [CHUCKLES] I doesn't look like this.” But then I came to realize that's exactly what I look like.

Screen Rant: With Robert, he's such a master storyteller. Can you talk to me about how that helped inform your performance? Because, essentially, you're in a room, a blank room, with just your costars and a few props. So, talk to me about how he kind of helps inform that.

Leslie Mann: Well, the first time I talked to him, he talked to me for about two and a half hours about the movie. And it was as if he had the movie already shot in his head, like it was already finished. Like it existed. And so, he knew exactly what he wanted the whole way through. I felt like I was in very safe, capable hands. Any question I had, he was right there with the answer. He's a great actor's director.

Screen Rant: The story of Mark Hogancamp can be looked at as inspirational, but it starts off with tragedy. What are you hoping audiences take away from his story?

Leslie Mann: Maybe opening their eyes to how people struggle. And how hard it is for people who feel different, who are dealing with issues in their lives. And it's much better and easier to be kind than it is to be judgmental and cruel. It'll be better for all of us in the long run.

Screen Rant: You guys did an excellent job in telling this story. So, thank you so much.

Leslie Mann: Thank you so much.

More: Robert Zemeckis Interview for Welcome to Marwen

Key Release Dates
  • Welcome to Marwen (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
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