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Exclusive Interview: Travis Baker’s Mischief Night Villain, Marc Valera!

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Head shot of the one and only Marc Valera!

*At this point I’ve interviewed the director, the producer, and the two lead actresses from Travis Baker’s Mischief Night. But, I just had to interview the villain too! Who’s Laurie Strode without Michael Myers? Who’s Kaylie without The Man? I was really interested to know what it was like for Marc Valera to play a psychopath in a horror film; how he got the role, what was it like on set being the villain, and everything in between. From theatrical talent, to television guest star, to Lionsgate and After Dark Film’s killer in Travis Baker’s Mischief Night, you can find my interview with Marc Valera below!

H: To start things off, can you introduce yourself to readers? Tell us something about yourself, both in and outside of acting.

M: I’m a Los Angeles-based actor who has been working in the acting business since 1999. When I was growing up my Pops was in the military and then worked for the military. We moved all over The States, and I spent all of high school in Germany. I did my undergraduate work in theater and went to grad school at LAMDA, an awesome drama school in London. I was one of the few kids at LAMDA who drove there, since my folks were still living in Germany at the time.

My work has mostly been commercials and guest starring in TV shows. I’ve gotten to do a few short [films] with some really talented emerging artists in recent years, too. I also do as much theater as I can. When I’m not acting, I spend a lot of time in my yard – my brothers and I have a tomato-growing contest every year – and in the kitchen. I love cooking, but mostly eating. To compensate, I spend a lot of time doing and teaching yoga. On the weekends, I’m taking advantage of LA beaches, playing volleyball.

H: Theatrical productions like Twelfth Night, television series including “CSI,” “Las Vegas,” and “Melrose Place,” and now movies such as Travis Baker’s Mischief Night. Which out of the three mediums do you feel most comfortable in?

M: I’m happy to be working whatever the medium! They all have different demands and require a different set of skills. Theater is probably the most daunting. You only get one take. And if you mess up, there’s (sometimes) a thousand people there to let you know right away. That said, when you get to do something awesome in theater, they let you know that, too. High risk, high reward. The work in TV and film is different because most of the work is getting the job. After clearing that hurdle, you get to go to set and play, experiment, and see what works. After you shoot all those little puzzle pieces, really bright folks like Travis [Baker], Richard [Tanne], and Joey [Lindquist] put all those pieces together. If you’re lucky, like in Mischief Night, they come together into something you can be really proud of.

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Director Travis Baker (left) and Marc Valera (right) rehearsing a scene in Mischief Night.

H: What is your dream role, the one role you want to play?

M: This may not be the most popular response on a horror site, but my dream job is on a multi-cam sitcom.

H: We support all mediums of media here, as long as the actor behind them did horror at some point. Why sitcoms?

M: I think [doing a] sitcom is the best job in the biz. Brilliant people write you great jokes. You get to make people laugh and maybe they forget their troubles for little bit. You get to start it all again the next week.

H: How was the auditioning process for your role in Mischief Night? Having spoken with director Travis Baker, I hear it was a little daunting.

M: You know, it was a challenge but also a great opportunity. There were two scenes they gave us to do. The trickier one was a LONG monologue that was the explanation of the reason that The Man was there to kill the girl. It was part confession, part revelation. Throughout the course of the speech, I got to be angry and sad and heartbroken and loving and resigned and filled up. What actor doesn’t want to play all that? Now, the other scene was the one where Kalie is tied to the chair and she really winds me up. In the script I throw the chair to the ground with her in it. I wasn’t supposed to do that in the audition. As I’m sure you guessed, I did exactly that. I accidentally threw the chair over with poor Brooke Anne Smith on it. I felt AWFUL and expected the guys to kick me out of the place. I’m glad they didn’t.

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Marc Valera (center) shooting Mischief Night.

H: When you learned you were going to play the villain in Mischief Night, was there any murderer – whether in real life or in movies – that you modeled yourself after?

M: As luck would have it, there’s a real life killer with whom I share my name. He really messed up a couple of guys in Australia and is now serving life. The Man in Mischief Night, in my mind is actually more Travis Bickle, DeNiro in Taxi Driver, than Michael Meyers. I think the script helps to show that – similar to Travis Bickle – he’s really got a lot of profound reasons for running around looking for a hot babysitter to slice open.

H: What was it like going to set every day and having to go from nice guy, to killer, to nice guy, to killer, all day long? Did you ever lose yourself for a bit?

M: Ha! Well, I never wanted to gut a PA or anything. I actually stayed at the location the whole time. We’d work until 4 or 5am and then I’d go upstairs and crash until noon. Different people would stay there depending on schedules. I’d wake up and make some eggs for myself and whomever stayed that night. I think it was the only meal that Travis Baker, our director, ate every day. I’d work out and presto, it’d be 4pm and people would start arriving again. More to your question, when I was in a scene about to kill someone, I’d stay in that moment between takes. Not in an annoying way. I’m not huffing and puffing around or anything. In the serious moments, I’m not an actor who tells jokes in between takes.

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Marc Valera, Brooke Anne Smith, and Travis Baker rehearsing before shooting Mischief Night.

H: Mischief Night was filmed several years ago, when you look back on production now, what is this first thing you think of?

M: One scene in particular… It was probably the hardest scene to shoot. It’s difficult to describe, but suffice it to say that most people don’t want to have those kind of moments in front of a bunch of strangers. It must be dreadful for the crew to watch. This was a first for both Brooke Anne Smith and I.

H: Why do you think horror fans should pick up Mischief Night over all others being released on the 20th?

M: If they want to see a horror film that turns the genre on its head, a film that takes chances and goes to totally new places, then Mischief Night is for them. Travis Baker wrote something that’s truly unique and different. I think horror fans will love it!

H: What’s next for you in 2014?

M: Next up is Snapshots – a breast cancer research benefit that I’ve been a part of for ten years. It’s a night of one act plays that benefits the Komen Foundation.

*Thank you for taking the time to chat with me, Marc Valera. I really appreciate your time. And now I don’t know who I’m supposed to route for in this movie! This, in itself, is another great reason why horror fans should pick up Travis Baker’s Mischief Night on May 20…and it’s all because of you! For readers of this article and fans of Marc in general, remember you can pre-order Travis Baker’s Mischief Night before its release by clicking here. Also, if you’re so inclined, please click here to donate to the SnapShots Benefit in Marc’s honor.

*Thank you to Marc Valera, Travis Baker, and Richard Tanne for the exclusive photos!

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Brooke Anne Smith and Marc Valera looking cozy in Mischief Night.

Written by Michael Therkelsen

(Senior Editor)