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The 'Welcome to Marwen' Trailer Is Totally Bonkers, Based On A True Story, Co-Stars Janelle Monáe

By Kristy Puchko | Film | June 20, 2018 |

By Kristy Puchko | Film | June 20, 2018 |


Steve Carell and Robert Zemeckis are a curious pair of collaborators. One is best known for outlandish comedy roles in The Office, Despicable Me and The 40-Year-Old Virgin, but has also earned an Academy Award nomination for the true-crime drama Foxcatcher. The other is the daring director who gifted us such wickedly wild Death Becomes Her and Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but also earned commercial success with Back to the Future and Oscar gold with Forrest Gump. So, a movie that brings the two of them together could either be a totally bonkers adventure tale full of spectacle and humor, or a sentimental drama dealing in heart-wrenching human trauma. Or, why not both?

Check out the trailer for Welcome to Marwen:

Steve Carell stars as Mark Hogancamp, a smalltown man whose life and memories are shattered by a violent assault. As he struggles to rediscover his identity and his place in his community, he finds a creative outlet and new lease on life by building a model town called Marwen, which he fills with fierce heroines modeled after his friends and neighbors. Through creating stories for them and his doppelganger doll “Hogie,” Mark creates photographs that speak to the wider world, and show him a path beyond pain. Co-starring in Welcome to Marwen are such thrilling actresses as Leslie Mann, Diane Kruger, Gwendoline Christie, Merritt Wever, Eiza González, and Janelle Monáe. And on top of all that, it’s based on an incredible true story.

The real Hogancamp shared his story in the 2010 documentary Marwencol. Check out the trailer below:

I positively loved this movie. Hogancamp saved himself through his imagination and by sharing his creativity—and by extension himself—with the world. Now, his story gets a new chapter in which an Academy Award-nominated actor brings his story to an even wider audience, re-enacting scenes from the doc and giving a flashier panache to his tales of his Marwencol. A script by Zemeckis and Caroline Thompson (Addams Family Values) takes liberties by exploding the tiny town’s action into the bigger world. Yet, this poetic license feels true to the spirit of this sensationally moving doc that’s as inspiring, warm, and surprising as its subject.

Those familiar with the doc might notice a key element is not seen in the Welcome to Marwen trailer. I don’t think this means it won’t be in the movie. Rather, I suspect it will be a later revelation as it was in the doc, and notably, one that Mark gives when he feels comfortable doing so. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, don’t look for spoilers. Just watch Marwencol. It’s sensational and available on Amazon.


Welcome to Marwen opens November 21st.

Kristy Puchko is the film editor of Pajiba. You can follow her on Twitter.