Interview: Annika Marks from The Last Tycoon and The Fosters

Annika Marks was born in Sweden and has traveled the gypsy lifestyle finding residence in Washington, New York, and California where she now lives.

A born artist putting on family performances as a little girl, Annika began her acting career in 2001 and it boomed with her role as Amanda in the movie, Sessions (2012); winning her the Special Jury Award. It was a blessing and a sign, as prior to that incredible acting performance, she thought the stage was a better fit for her. The roles in Grace and Anguish helped propel her career in movies until she was offered a short-term role on the television show, The Fosters.

Annika was not only surprised that she would continue her character as Monte Porter, but felt very grateful. She talks about feeling as though she became a member of the family as the seasons continued and she “could not be more proud to be part of something with these messages (LGBTQ).”

She also has been more than happy to be part of the new show, The Last Tycoon, with Kelsey Grammer. She plays Bernadette Davis who is Monroe Stahr’s sister-in-law by marriage. Another character that Annika was able to parlay into a continuing role as she was only initially contracted for the pilot.

Outside of her remarkable acting abilities, she does a lot for kids who age out of foster care and are now on their own with no help from family members. She is also very active in the organization called HAMOMI. They do a lot of work that improves the lives of orphaned and vulnerable children in Nairobi, Kenya.

Continue reading at Hidden Remote

Pop-Culturalist Chats with Annika Marks

Annika Marks is hardworking and talented—a winning combination for Hollywood. Not only is she an actress, but she is also a writer and a producer. She creates her own original content and acts in things like the popular TV show The Fosters and the new show The Last Tycoon. Needless to say, we were excited to chat with Annika about all the work she’s done and what she hopes to do in the future.

P-C: Tell us about The Last Tycoon and how you got involved with the project.
Annika: The Last Tycoon is based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s final unfinished novel and takes place in 1936 Hollywood. The characters of Monroe Stahr, the golden boy executive, and Pat Brady, the studio head, are loosely based on Irving Thalberg and Louis B. Mayer. I’ve known Chris Keyser, who partnered with Billy Ray to run The Last Tycoon for over 10 years, and he initially brought me in to read for Kay Maloney, the sole female writer at Brady-American Pictures. I met Billy Ray at that session. They hired the brilliant team at Bialy/Thomas to cast this project and together they created the safest audition environment imaginable. I felt so nurtured, respected and loved in that room—and once I was on set I realized that every actor who read for Billy had the exact same experience. They cast the incomparable Kerry O’Malley for Kay and I was lucky to have them reconsider me for the role of Bernadette Davis, the wife of Dex Davis, another writer on the lot. Dex is also Minna Davis’s (Monroe’s deceased wife) brother, so the role came along with a complicated history, and I couldn’t have been more thrilled to get the call!

P-C: Were you familiar with the source material prior to your audition?
Annika: I was familiar with the material. I had a Fitzgerald obsessed phase when I was younger. But I revisited the novel during the pilot and was shocked at how little I remembered. It’s a really interesting read because it was unfinished, and you get this insight into Fitzgerald’s mind sifting through his notes. It’s an intimate read that way and makes for a beautiful, creative adaptation. I think Billy and Chris did a tremendous job of honoring the text while also imagining the world surrounding it and extending from it.

P-C: How do you get in the head shape of a character who experiences a huge personal tragedy with her husband? How does that affect your character throughout the series?
Annika: The pilot was tough, but tough for an actor is also exciting because being challenged is imperative to continuing to grow. There’s nothing that scares me more than artistic complacency. I had lost someone close to me a couple months before and, although it wasn’t my romantic partner, the finality of it was very present for me. I was able to tap into that without having to reach for it. I was more concerned with bringing all of Bernadette’s circumstances to set with me—her husband (who she knew was frustrated, but didn’t realize was suicidal) killed himself, she hasn’t slept and then she’s discovered he’d been abusing drugs and there was no way Monroe was unaware—the anger, the grief, the hysteria, the refusal to imagine that I could be part of it, and the need to blame someone. I was trying to hold all of that in my head and in my heart and the longer we shot that scene for, the more dehydrated and exhausted I was, the bigger headache I had. That all made the scene easier because that’s how she feels. I also had the honor of working with Matt Bomer—who I can’t say enough amazing things about. He is so generous and so present. And Billy Ray was directing, who is the most loving, passionate, inspiring leader imaginable. So, I was very lucky to be doing vulnerable work in a very safe and creatively full space.

Continue reading at Pop-Culturalist

Interview with ‘We Are Moving Stories’

Woods Hole Film Festival / LA ShortsFest – The Games We Play
An innocent game among friends forever alters the course of a relationship.
Interview with Writer/Director/Producer Annika Marks

Congratulations! Why did you make your film?

I was inspired to write this movie after I heard a hysterical story from a friend backstage at a play we were doing about a hypothetical game ending in a breakup. I thought it was a great concept and had it kicking around in my head for years. I’ve been working on building confidence as a content creator – not just an actor. I’ve been writing in secret for a long time.

After I created “Stay Filthy, Cali” with some friends (a raunchy, comedic PSA series for the CA drought) I had even more enthusiasm for putting my own ideas out there and that’s how this short was born. I took it to my husband, Rich Newey, who’s a director and asked him to direct it for me. He said he wouldn’t direct if for me, but he would direct it with me, and by doing so he’s helped me empower myself. We reached out to some of our all-time favorite collaborators to help bring it to life on a shoe string budget and it was a dream come true experience.

Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?

It’s as divisive as it is entertaining. It feels like a realistic light comedy, until it’s over. That’s when debates break out. We’ve loved watching audiences react. Watch it with your loved ones and we guarantee you’ll have a great conversation over drinks after!

How do personal and universal themes work in your film?

“The Games We Play” is about the red flags we recognize early on in relationships and often do nothing about, knowing in the long run they’ll catch up to us. It’s about trusting your instincts and going with your gut – and about the things we say, without saying them directly, that reveal the truth.

How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?

I wrote and re-wrote up until the day before production began. And then our amazing cast picked it up and we let them play as much as they wanted. We really wanted the cast to feel like they’d been friends since childhood so we had a rehearsal the night before we shot and gave everyone permission to explore and improvise. Then we asked our incredible DP Jessica Young to keep moving and make the camera act as a 7th friend at the bar. It was a real team effort to get the look and feel right. In the end Rich did a genius editing job and managed to get exactly the tone I had always envisioned. It’s realistic and ridiculous at the same time.

Continue reading at We Are Moving Stories