Gotham City in Boston: An Interview with Tom Mariano about ‘Caped Crusader: The Dark Hours’
Written by Christine Galeone | Posted by: NewEnglandFilm.com
As a child, Bruce Wayne had a dream–to rid Gotham City of crime. Without any superpowers, he studied diligently and honed the skills he needed to make it happen. Likewise, Tom Mariano had a childhood dream–to become an actor.
This winter, the Boston actor’s life will collide with that of the fictional superhero when Caped Crusader: The Dark Hours premieres in Boston. The fan film, co-produced by Mariano, Lisa Wynn and the film’s screenwriter and director Ramsey Eassa, is inspired by Flashpoint and The Dark Knight Returns. It features Mariano as a seasoned Batman who “learns mind-shattering truths about the world he lives in.”
Surprisingly, the similarities between the man and the character he portrays don’t stop with a daunting dream and the tenacity to pursue it. Mariano’s journey also involved acquiring great strength and fighting crime. He spent some time in the competitive body-building arena and worked as a police officer for many years.
But his passion is acting. As a teenager, he performed in school and church plays and even created his own local access cable show. In recent years, he has appeared as a non-credited actor in films such as The Heat, Captain Phillips, American Hustle and Ted. He has also acted in independent films such as Naughty or Nice and The Joneses. Throughout it all, he has never lost sight of his dream.
Along with Eassa and Wynn, he has also never lost sight of the importance of giving back. Not only is the film dedicated to the victims and survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing, half the proceeds from the premiere will be donated to the One Fund Boston. Mariano also hopes to inspire other actors and filmmakers to pursue their dreams. After recently completing production on the film, he took the time to answer questions about himself and Caped Crusader: The Dark Hours, the fan film that has brought Gotham City to Boston.
Christine Galeone: When did you realize that you wanted to be an actor?
Tom Mariano: I decided that I wanted to be an actor in third grade. I was cast as the main guard in Wizard of Oz. My time on stage was exhilarating, and I wanted more!
CG: Creating Tom’s Bike Repair, your own cable show, at the age of 15, seems to be an early reflection of your entrepreneurial spirit. Did acting in, writing, directing and producing that show influence your decision to start On Edge Productions with Ramsey Eassa and Lisa Wynn? When was the company formed?
Mariano: I wouldn’t say that creating Tom’s Bike Repair is what drove me to form On Edge Productions. But you are right about my entrepreneurial spirit. I have started a couple companies in my past. And with success, came pride and satisfaction. On Edge Productions was formed in 2014.
CG: What was the inspiration for making Caped Crusader: The Dark Hours?
Mariano: I was inspired by my love of Batman and superheroes. I’m a big kid at heart!
CG: How does Caped Crusader: The Dark Hours differentiate itself from the most recent Batman franchise?
Mariano: Because we brought characters to the screen that have not been done before. And this is strictly based on comic books of Flashpoint and The Dark Knight comic books. All the characters in our movie are all from the comic books. These are characters that have never been brought to the screen before like Black Mask, Hush, Lady Shiva and whatnot. So, besides Flash and Batman, that have been brought to the big screen before, the rest of the main characters in this movie have never been brought to the big screen before, so that’s how it’s different.
And we are strictly following the comic books on this. I think that the other franchises followed a little bit of the comic books, but we’re following just strictly the comic books and bringing new characters, new villains to the screen that have never been. And I didn’t want to do the Joker. I didn’t want to do Bane again and the Riddler. Those have all been done. So, we decided when we did this, that, you know, we would like to bring some big guys to the screen.
CG: Were there any obstacles along the way?
Mariano: Of course! There were challenges, but it was definitely worth it. Challenges included securing locations, scheduling and cast and crew personal obligations.
CG: What did you enjoy most about producing and acting in the film?
Mariano: I know this is going to sound corny, but I love when a plan comes together! We really developed some nice relationships on set, and it was sad to see it come to an end. I do like producing, because I get a say in how the movie is made. But I so enjoy acting, and this role was a challenge–especially because I played two characters, Bruce Wayne and Batman.
CG: Encouraging people with dyslexia and aspiring actors and filmmakers to pursue their dreams seems to be one of your passions. What advice would you give them?
Mariano: I would say that having a learning disability doesn’t always make things easy. However, there are ways around dyslexia. I would have my girlfriend read lines to me, or I might record the reading of lines and then listen to the recording–versus reading the script over and over which can be difficult for me.
CG: What are you looking forward to in the future?
Mariano: More roles and bigger movies.
CG: If you could have one superhero power, what would it be and why?
Mariano: I’d love to be able to fly. I think anybody would. But also, if I could turn back time and be able to spend some last few minutes with loved ones, I think that would be a cool kind of superhero power. To spend time with one of my cousins, who just passed. One of my best friends, who just passed. It would be kind of cool to be able to — not go back in time but — speed time back, so you can see them for that one last time before they’re no longer here.
For more information about Caped Crusader: The Dark Hours, visit the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/capedcrusaderthedarkhours. For more information about Tom Mariano, visit his website www.tommariano.com.