Marcus Rosner hopes his passion for production will help revive the local film industry

With productions filming in Alberta like The Revenant, the Fargo series, the Ghostbusters sequel and HBO’s The Last of Us filming here in recent years, Rosner is aware of the province’s buzz.

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Like many people hoping for a career in film, actor and producer Marcus Rosner has walked away from here – but has often wished he didn’t have to.

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“I left,” says the 32-year-old, raised in Sherwood Park. “Growing up, I was a big sportsman. I played a lot of hockey. I was in the rugby team, the volleyball team, a little football.

“I just didn’t feel like there was a huge light shining on the creative part of my high school experience. There was a huge divide between theater jocks and nerds, which I now loudly proclaim.

After graduating from Salsbury Composite High, Rosner took a life-changing trip to New York with her mother — not the last time that would happen.

“I saw the New York Film Academy and it gave me the idea that I should look into something that people have told me over the years: that you should try modeling, you should try ‘to act.

“But I didn’t even understand what the process of going into something like that would be like as a kid from Sherwood Park, Alberta.”

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Long story short, Rosner ended up at Vancouver Film School and over the past decade has since landed TV roles in the DC Comics-inspired cult hit Supernatural, UnREAL, and Arrow, where he starred. the same character twice – Max Fuller – six years apart. .

Clooney co-star

The biggest production Rosner ever worked on — as Handsome Harry — was the $200 million Disney movie Tomorrowland, starring George Clooney.

“I had a line,” he says. “We did six months of costume construction, and they flew me to Spain to film my line – then I fly off in this jetpack.

“I went to the premiere with my then-girlfriend-turned-wife and we sat down and my scene started. And I turned to her and said, ‘Aaaand, I didn’t do the cut’,” laughs Rosner, another face on the cutting room floor.

“It was such a quick introduction to what this business can be in so many ways in terms of size, scope, scale, excitement and disappointment all at once.”

His latest film, the LGBTQ+ romantic comedy starring Keiynan Lonsdale My Fake Boyfriend (where Rosner plays the lead role’s real boyfriend), did better and recently premiered to audiences in San Francisco and is now streaming on Amazon Prime.

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However, most of Rosner’s 50 or so roles have been starring and love interest in what’s known in the industry as “motw” – movie of the week – productions, often with Christmas in the title. .

“Maybe fifteen of them,” he laughs.

Spotlight on Edmonton

Which brings the story back to Edmonton from his current home base of Toronto, as well as Vancouver and Los Angeles where he often works.

Amidst the whirlwind of chaos and terror, you might remember the Northern Gateway Movies film shot in Old Strathcona, just as the pandemic shut down the entire planet in early 2020 – certainly a tense and chaotic time to make a film.

In a wash of hand sanitizer, daily checks with provincial health officials and forced perspective shots to make socially distant crowds denser, Rosner played Prince Nicholas in the Hallmark movie, Christmas With A Wreath.

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But it was in this context that Rosner befriended Edmonton filmmakers Dylan Pearce and Andy Scholotiuk that he asked to partner with them, hoping not only to get more producer credits, but intentionally help reinvigorate Edmonton’s film production ecosystem.

“With my connections in Toronto and Vancouver, I was looking for a way to get behind the camera in a production role,” says Rosner, who struck a deal with Montreal-based Reel One Entertainment, a global film and series distributor. television shows, for financial support. “I kind of came up to Dylan and said, ‘Look, if I can bring these movies back to Edmonton, can we team up and produce them together in town the same way I saw you guys doing Christmas with a crown and the way I ‘ve seen you do so many in the last decade in the city?’”

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So far in October last year, Northern Gateway’s extended team with Rosner has included filming Italy with Amore, largely and intentionally at Sherwood Park where the star grew up.

The Edmonton crew of From Italy with Amore, Marcus Rosner front and center with director Dylan Pearce to his right.
The Edmonton crew of From Italy with Amore, Marcus Rosner front and center with director Dylan Pearce to his right. Photo by Rebecca Klassen /Provided

“And then we follow that up this summer by shooting A Vintage Bride as it’s currently titled, and Finding Mr. Right,” Rosner says. “We plan to launch pre-production of these, filming them afterwards.”

Rosner will co-produce and star in both.

“And that was one of my long-term goals, really, to kind of try to bring things here. Because I didn’t see growing up here. I almost didn’t become an actor; I didn’t see it as a viable career here,” he says. “The fact that I had to leave here to do this somewhere else is something that I guess I’m trying to reverse in a way. way through it all.”

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The Alberta Buzz

With productions filming in Alberta like The Revenant, the Fargo series, the Ghostbusters sequel and HBO’s The Last of Us filming here in recent years, Rosner is aware of the province’s buzz.

“It’s funny to hear people from other provinces, when I work with them, remarking that Alberta is booming right now. And I’m like, well, Calgary is in a very big way, and Edmonton has been supported here and there.

“But the reason why people – be it the crew, the cast or anyone in the film – often have to go elsewhere is that there is no regular industry and not enough jobs all year round.

He rightly notes that the level of expertise in Edmonton is phenomenal, “but they often have to travel to Calgary, Vancouver or Toronto and leave their families for long stays.

“We certainly can’t be the guys to sort this out on our own,” he adds. “But we think these motws are a great way to bring some kind of regular movie production to the city.”

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