Cat: Hello Ace. My first question is, how and when did you start liking horror?
Ace Marrero: Hey Cat! Thanks for this interview. I’ve liked horror since I was a little kid. As we all know there are all sorts of die-hards of the genre, and I never attended conventions or made it a point to watch every single movie, but I have always LOVED, „scary movies!“ Since working on MADISON COUNTY, I’ve grown to love it in a different way and have become even a bigger fan and have realized how much I HAVE seen and know about the genre.
Cat: Can you tell me some of your favourite movies?
Ace: It’s always so hard for me to pick favorites, especially with movies. I tend to like different movies for different reasons. I’d have to say one of the first to come to mind is ROCKY. I have always loved that movie since I was a kid and it is always inspirational to me. I’m a big Stallone fan! I also really like THE WIZARD OF OZ a lot. I think it is just a timeless movie and as an actor, I always have looked at that a movie as an example of a movie I want to be a part of. Something that is just a classic and a movie everyone knows.
Cat: Madison County is ready to take off. I was thrilled when I saw the trailer. What can we expect?
Ace: Wow, it has been a crazy ride for MADISON COUNTY. I think you are absolutely right, it IS ready to take off. This process has been sobering because you have to deal with so much that goes into getting it, „out there.“ Because we’re essential first timers, there is a lot to learn and adjust to, which can sometimes make you nervous about so many little things that a bigger audience will never realize. We as the filmmakers are sometimes the pickiest about the movie and we’ll have our own silly insecurities that most people will overlook. There comes a time where you just have to push the bird out of the nest and let it fly. That’s what we did with the premiere.
Cat: You are producer and actor at the same time. What role did you play in Madison County?
Ace: I play the character of KYLE, who is the over protective older brother of BROOKE. I’m one of the five characters who travels to MADISON COUNTY to search for this mysterious writer, DAVID RANDALL. I’m not really the person who is most gung-ho about the trip and it becomes clear fast, that by joining in, I’ve got other plans. I really want to thank you for asking me about this! Tying this into the above question, I’ve been realizing lately that I haven’t fully taken in what this will mean for me as an actor. Our premiere is going to be special for many reasons. Obviously as a producer on the film, I’ve helped to bring it from script to screen, but I make my living professionally as an actor and that is what is MOST important to me. This is going to be an incredible experience because it will be the first time one of my films (I’m in) will be seen on the big screen in this capacity! It’s not like I’ve hidden that I am IN the film at all, but, when speaking about it, I usually do so as a Producer, so it gets overlooked. I think I have friends who don’t even know I’m in the movie, haha!
Cat: What is your favorite memory from the shoot?
Ace: This is a great question and I always have a hard time answering it. There are so many and I think of something new each time I’m asked about it. Right now, I’m reminded of the day we were shooting one of my big scenes. It was (unexpectedly) raining ALL day and we were shooting out in the woods and getting drenched. It was a very pivotal part of the movie and the rain was not making it easy to film. Everyone on the cast and crew was amazing with how they worked through it and it really helped the mood of that particular scene I think. It was a day that we kind of became that, „team.“ Well, we were all freezing to the core, wet & had to drive over an hour and a half back to our lodging, but my producing partner, Daniel F. Dunn and I had to drive in the opposite direction to attend an open call we were holding in the college town of, Fayetteville, AR. We were late and we were told there were about 100 people waiting. I was making phone calls to the team to set up for the next day and I actually remember dialing Eric on speakerphone, and the next thing I knew, Daniel was waking me up. In 5 seconds, I passed out, that’s how tired we were. Daniel and I didn’t have time to change or get out of our wet clothes, but we forged on. Well, when we pulled up and were walking inside, we were like zombies, but when the door opened, it was SHOWTIME. The earlier estimation was off by a few hundred, the place was ABSOLUTELY PACKED and the support was incredible. Daniel and I were just instantly energized and it was then that I understood what we had on our hands. We were still only filming at that point, but it was clear that this film was going to be something special and the people of Arkansas are probably our most die hard supporters. I can’t wait to bring the film to them and return!
Cat: Finally, the film premiered recently. How excited were you?
Ace: I am beyond ecstatic about the premiere! It was a very special day for me. I was surrounded by so many of my closest friends and some family flew out so it was a great day! We’ve been waiting so long to share it with the world and thankfully Los Angeles responded and supported us so much. We were the only film to sell out SCREAMFEST this year!! As a reward and to satisfy the demand, SCREAMFEST held an encore on Thursday night for us. We joked that SCREAMFEST should have had an award for Audience Appreciation…mostly because we think our sellout would have secured it hahaha We’re incredibly PROUD about what we have done with the movie, so that response was just a nice feeling overall. It’s now time to kick it up a notch! We are ready to see where it will go from here! Like you said earlier, the movie is about to take off, and I can’t wait to see what happens! It has been something that is constantly evolving and it’s time to let the work we’ve put in take it’s own life. Screamfest was the perfect venue for our introduction to the world! It was home to a lot of great genre films and filmmakers and now we are a part of their history…the new breed. There were so many great films to keep an eye on — it was a very special year and it presented a great new class of young filmmakers. Last year Eric and I attended to watch some films and I made a promise that the next year we’d be there as GUESTS with our film, so it has been great to see that play out! The other big thing was that we shot this movie with a theatrical experience in mind and have done everything to deliver it that way, so our premiere was a perfect first step!
Cat: I’ve read that you have been working as an electrician. How did you get into acting?
Ace: Haha, yea, I guess I kind of followed the Harrison Ford path in some ways. I would be silly to allow anyone to believe that I am still capable as an electrician. I went to a vocational high school was trained to be an electrician and worked as one for a little, before starting college. It kind of helped me progress into theatre, because I had a technical sensibility that I used to familiarize myself of the other side of the craft. Knowing how things worked made me aware of different things as an actor. I almost joined the US Airforce as an electrician, but made the decision to attend college and train in theatre. I was a state scholar athlete in high school and played Soccer, Basketball and Baseball throughout my four years and went on to play Soccer my first year in college. However, I knew my dreams of being a professional athlete would have to be let go and I decided to focus on theatre and acting. I did three years at a community college before transferring to Stephens College for Women, which has one of the best theatre programs in the country. They accept a few males per year and that year I was one of two lucky guys to get in. I earned my BFA there.
Cat: You’ve played in a few TV-series and you play the lead role in the musical adaptation of Aladdin. I’ve watched a few of your YouTube videos and I think you are very talented. What would be your dream role?
Ace: Thank you so much for watching those videos! I’ve been fortunate to have a big dream of mine play out pretty early and it ties into those ALADDIN videos. ALADDIN has always been my favorite Disney movie and I used to act out the whole CD all of the time. I remember watching (I think) the Thanksgiving Parade one year and they cut to Disney where they were introducing the new ALADDIN musical and they had all of these dancing Genies. I was in awe and was actually PISSED that I wasn’t in California to be a part of it. I always have gotten that I looked like ALADDIN and at that point, I said, „I’m going to do that show.“ It has been a dream of mine since I was a kid to play ALADDIN and I’m so lucky to be a part of the great show. I love it. I also love that it keeps me ON STAGE in front of thousands of people. I’ve never been in a show as grand as that one and it really has been a dream come true for me.
Cat: What can you tell me about your next movie „Roadside“? You will play the lead role, right?
Ace: Ahhhh, ROADSIDE. Yes I play the lead character, DAN SUMMERS & I love this movie. Eric wrote a great script and we shot only a few months after MADISON COUNTY. We’re in post editing it now and I smile just thinking about it! It’s going to be a great film. It is one that has flown under the radar and is very different from MC, but it will appeal to the same fans. I’m giddy about it for many reasons, but I think as filmmakers it will be a great follow up film that will continue to elevate our level of work, prove that we’re ready to rock and MC was just a taste of what we could do. As an actor, it’s the type of film that I’m most drawn to and want to continue to do. In the movie, I play the husband of a pregnant couple who is stranded on the side of a snowy, mountain road. We’re being held hostage by a gunman who is hidden in the trees. Throughout the movie, I’m trying to figure out a way to get away, but it’s no easy task. Our car is running, our phones work — but we can’t leave. I joke that after our last couple of films, I’m going to want to do a film next where I can smile more, maybe even crack a few jokes haha. I love comedy, so unless it is a straight action film, I’m going to hold out for something lighter haha.
Cat: What are you doing next?
Ace: I’m currently in post on another Halloween short film that was written and directed by my girlfriend, Erin Stegeman. Daniel F. Dunn also worked on the film as a DP and it should be available soon as another treat for the holidays. It is called MEET THE TWEEDS (see below!) and it’s about an upperclass, suburban family and their peculiar rituals on All Hallows‘ Eve. I’m also separately working with another team on a feature called FOR BLOOD OR JUSTICE which is a Horror/Noir film about an eccentric Texas lawman, whose pursuit of two psychotic killers leads him across the Mexcian border & into a bizzare & horrific world. There is a great team behind it and we’re going to be shooting a fun teaser mid November. For now you can visit the movie’s website!
Cat: Thank you so much for your time. I wish you all the best for the future and as I have already said to Eric: I hope to see you at a premiere in Germany one day!
Ace: Thank YOU so much for the interview and we’ll definitely catch you in Germany. You must promise to show us the sights! I just need to figure out if I’ll be safe to enter the country. Fun fact: my Legal name, is Adolph.
MADISON COUNTY on Facebook
Interview with Eric England
MEET THE TWEEDS