Standish913.com has been blessed to do an exclusive interview with...
MARK BURNHAM is an actor and filmmaker living in Los Angeles. After college, Mark began training at the MET Theatre, where he was a founding member of the MET Theatre Workshop under the tutelage of, and studying along side Oscar, Emmy, Tony, and Pulitzer Prize winners. Through the 1990's, Mark could be seen on television in MAG7, Buffy, 3rd Rock, Action, Sunset Beach, USA High, and Warden Of Red Rock. In 2012, Mark met Quentin Dupieux and spent the next two years working with the auteur director and DJ on four films; WRONG from DraftHouse, WRONG COPS ep1, WRONG COPS (feat), and REALITE' from IFC Midnight. In 2014 Mark Co-Produced the English language film HIDDEN IN THE WOODS from Chilean director Patricio Valladares and Sony Releasing. In 2018 Mark was seen in student Academy Award winner Ryan Prows first feature LOWLIFE playing Teddy Haynes from IFC Midnight. Before the pandemic shutdown in 2020, Mark was cast in the Legendary Entertainment and Netflix film THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE as Leatherface.
Hey Mark, I really appreciate you taking the time to do this exclusive interview!
Let's get into some questions...
STANDISH: You played "Leatherface" in 2022's "Texas Chainsaw Massacre", how did you land that role?
MARK: I won the role by an audition process that included 5 self tapes, each one sent in then adjusted by the producers. Several days later, I met the directors, which was the first time I had confirmation that it was indeed Leatherface that I was auditioning for. At that Directors meeting I was also told that they, "... were still looking at other people for the role." Then, a few days later, I was told that the producer and studio wanted a 'test'. Which can mean anything from an actual full camera and sound team on a sound stage, to a lunch/coffee/drinks meeting, to an in person reading of a portion of, or fake similar script (for security and proprietary privacy of the actual script). But in this instance, I met Fede Alvarez and Shin Simosawa in their offices in Hollywood, and we just played around for a few hours with a camera and me dressed in an apron with a store bought mask. It was kinda nerve wracking for me, because I had never met anyone there and its being 'judged or adjudicated' by people who can change my career track in life changing ways...so the pressure was on. That being said, everyone was super cool and nice and went out of their way to make me as comfortable as possible. They came back and said a few days later that I had the role...right before the world shut down in the spring of 2020.
STANDISH: How long did it take to film?
MARK: We shot for 2 1/2 months from Aug-Oct of 2020.
STANDISH: With that being said, is there going to be a sequel by any chance?
MARK: I haven't been contacted either for scheduling or otherwise. I have no idea what their plans are, and I wouldn't be included in those discussions until they would be ready to schedule shooting.
So... fingers crossed.
STANDISH: How does it feel to continue the "Leatherface" legacy?
MARK: I feel incredibly proud to have been chosen, which in and of itself is a huge vote of confidence from the producers and the studio. And that would be enough for any actor.
But, I'm also completely proud that, through my training and film making experience, the challenges that were both presented by the producers, and the challenges we all experienced during the pandemic were met and delt with professionally, and we ended up with a film that can stand alone with any horror film and people love it. I don't think there's any better more complete acknowledgement of that, than hearing what the fans have to say face to face.
There's also the fact that the film is still on the front page of Netflix Horror, after almost a year and a half. Obviously, new people are finding it, watching it, and giving those two thumbs up. All the way around I'm incredibly proud and honored to have been given that responsibility and delivered a film that people love.
STANDISH: Tell us a little about your overall mission, Mark -
MARK: I was trained by Oscar, Emmy, Tony and Pulitzer winners and nominees after I finished acting school. That's a high bar to live up those people's efforts. I feel like I have established a career and a working reputation of professionalism and engaging performances and characters that would make my mentors proud. I'd like to think that most directors and producers that have worked with me have recognized those attributes in my work and if given the chance, would do it again. Beyond that, I try to get better in everything I do. Within every project I take on, I want to bring that level of work ethic to the set every day. And have fun doing it.
STANDISH: How does it feel to be such an inspiration in the Horror community?
MARK: I am continually honored and blessed to have the experiences I have with fans at my appearances. I make it a priority to engage on a personal level with everyone I meet. I take it seriously and appreciate everyone.
STANDISH: What can we look forward to in the future from you?
MARK: I'm always auditioning. I haven't anything scheduled at the moment.
STANDISH: Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?
MARK: If you look at my body of work, primarily from 2012 on, I have, I believe, given engaging, character driven, performances that my directors and producers were more than pleased with. All of them true to both the script, and what I wanted to bring to the project. In that same period of time, my career has advanced from 'day player" to lead villain, and now to tackling established franchise characters.
In the next 5 years I see that moving forward and further establishing my work as a viable, engaging ensemble member, as well as a lead villain who can carry a film and deliver the audience to make successful films.
STANDISH: Who are some of your mentors?
MARK: Most recently I have established a great mentor/ friendship with James Jude Courtney. We met at an appearance I made in Oklahoma City last year and have a great time talking shop whenever we meet.
I don't want to name the people who trained me, that I spoke of above, but suffice it to say that you would recognize most all of them and they are 'A' list award winning actors. I take their privacy seriously and value their input and guidance when ever and however they have given it.
STANDISH: During COVID, we all faced struggles, what was one of your main struggles?
MARK: Shooting Texas Chainsaw Massacre was during the height of the pandemic. I think only us, Dune, and the last Jurassic World were shooting ANYWHERE in the world at that time. Everyone else had shut down. And the other two films were just finishing...we were just starting. So the on-set protocols were very restrictive. So restrictive in fact, that I couldn't 'do' my normal process. A 'process' is how an actor formulates their performance, incorporating their research and prep, rehearsals, stunts, everything. Without it, what I had always done, I was lost for a while. I had to adjust the way I work and trust that the information I was getting was accurate and adjust accordingly. I found it to be personally difficult and am amazed and glad that everyone responded to the film the way they have. To that end it was a great lesson, but one that I didn't want at first.
STANDISH: Where can fans find your work?
WRONG can be found on Hulu and Amazon
WRONG COPS can be found on IFC, Tubi and Roku
LOWLIFE can be found IFC, AMC+, Tubi and Roku
TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE is only on Netflix
STANDISH: Anything you'd like to include?
MARK: I am continually blessed and thankful to be able to meet fans wherever I meet them. Thank you all for watching.
STANDISH: What are your social links?
I am @take2la on Instagram and Twitter
MARK BURNHAM on Cameo and Facebook
Thanks so much for your time!
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