Interview With Carlo Marks, “Moonlight in Vermont”

By Ruth on April 8, 2017 in Interview, movie, television
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I don’t know if I’ve ever made this completely manifest in any previous reviews or interviews. I love Hallmark, and I adore Beth Grossbard. We connected back during Love on the Sidelines when I ran out of time to review that film before the premiere. But since that time, she has labored intensively to set up interviews, reviews, etc. with the main cast of her Hallmark films. And so in addition to screening Moonlight in Vermont, Beth connected me with Carlo Marks. I had no idea who he was, but if he was the lead of her movie, I knew he would be amazing. Recently, he and I chatted, and we covered a good portion of his career with a heavy emphasis on his Hallmark works.

RH: I am so glad that Beth was able to help get this interview set up. According to her, Carlo, you are a star in the making.

CM: Well, that’s good to know. Very nice of her.

I admit that I’m not as familiar with your work, but I evidently saw you in Chesapeake Shores, though I admit I’m not certain which character.

I played the chef, David Peck, the love interest of the two sisters.

Oh, of course! Now I remember! {pause} So, going back a bit now, why did you decide to become an actor?

Well, it was kind of in the blood. My parents are both involved in the business. My mother is from California, and my dad is from Oregon. They moved to Canada in the late 1970’s/early 1980’s. As immigrants, they started out at a community theater in a small town in British Columbia. My dad directed and acted, and my mother made costumes, staged sets, and built props. She’s a very talented artist. My sister and I grew up in the theater–numerous plays.

Cool that your dad is from Oregon. I am from Washington State.

Oh, good, fellow Pacific Northwesterners.

Since you grew up in the theater, did you go to school for acting?

Yes, I went to the University of Victoria. I got my degree there, and then I started my career in Toronto. Then I’ve been in Vancouver, LA and a little bit of New York since then. In addition to my degree, I continue to study acting.

What was your first professional acting job?

I was in a couple of the plays at the community theater. Then in college, I was in theater, and I started to do little, local stuff like being an extra or very small parts on local films or shows. From there, I gradually worked my way up. I still do go back to the theater whenever I can. But I mostly do TV stuff now.

from Smallville

If I’m reading your credits correctly, was your first recurring role on Smallville?

I actually was in two different seasons. I played two different characters. One of my characters was like being two characters because he had a good side and an evil side. That was kinda cool.

I think one of the movies you are known for is called To Be Fat Like Me. I’m not familiar with it, but what can you tell us about it?

 Yeah, that was one of the first things I did back in Victoria. I was with Kaley Cuoco of Big Bang Theory fame. Caroline Rhea was in that as well as a lot of other great actors. That was kinda my first big role, and that was for Lifetime. That one was a pretty popular film, so it does come back to Lifetime now and then. You can also find it on iTunes and probably other streaming services as well.

So how did you end up getting this role?

It was a normal audition, but the interesting thing was that the director really wanted me, but the producers were hesitant because I didn’t really have any credits. It was about my second thing or so that I’d done. This role was a large role–the male lead. I remember that I auditioned for it, and then I completely forgot about it. I figured the role was gone, but then I happened to get it, and I had to travel the next day.

That’s great that the director sort of went to bat for you on this. It can be so hard to get those first credits. 

Yes, it’s kind of a Catch-22. You haven’t done any big credits, and we’re not sure if we should cast you in the role or not. But to get those credits, someone has to take a chance on you.

You’re also listed for a movie called 3 Times a Charm.

Yeah, that one was in LA. It’s a family-friendly movie, and I’m not sure what network picked it up. My agent saw it on Telemundo, dubbed in Spanish. I was the lead in that film as well. It’s probably available on Amazon or something like that.

from Scarecrow

Another film I’m not familiar with but you’re listed as being in–Scarecrow.

That was a sci-fi film. We made it for Halloween, and it’s a scary movie. That was the first time I worked with Lacey {Chabert}.

Oh, wow! I wasn’t aware of the fact that you both had worked together before. It looks like there are a lot of well-known actors in that. So how did you get involved with this movie?

It was a normal audition. It was shot in Vancouver. It was cold, and I remember we were out at a farm because it takes place at a haunted farmhouse, and there was manure everywhere. The set stunk pretty bad for the couple weeks that we were out there. This one ended up on the SyFy Network.

That sounds like something some of my readers and I might have to look up. {pause} Chesapeake Shores is where Hallmark viewers would have seen you first. How did you get involved with this show?

This one was kind of interesting. I was back in my hometown, and I did an audition. I taped the audition in my bedroom, so you could see my books and clothes and stuff like that in the background. There was nobody around to read the other lines, so I taped the audition with somebody on Skype. So there was nobody in the room with me; I could just hear their voice. And when I made the tape, the director said they could only hear my lines. They couldn’t hear the other person’s lines. But they still liked it, so I got cast off of a tape.

Wow, that doesn’t always happen. I hear from so many of my actor friends that they think chances are slim that they will be cast off of a self-tape audition.

Actually, this is the second time I got cast off of a self-tape. One of the first web series that was ever done–I got cast off of a self-tape. It doesn’t usually happen.

That is really something. I guess it goes back to that thing that if it’s meant to be, it will happen. 

I believe that too.

What do you like about working in Hallmark’s Chesapeake Shores?

With Chesapeake Shores, they filmed it on the island where I grew up–Vancouver Island. It was great to work at home. I was in the last three episodes of the season. There was already a cast family in place, so it was nice to come into this warm family. I think casts do gel like that, but I think Hallmark especially does. They create that idea of family and a close-knit crew. I noticed that right away. Everybody is very professional, but also kinda laid-back. It runs very smoothly.

That’s so great to hear. That’s what I hear over and over with every actor that works with Hallmark that the cast and crew are so welcoming. And Hallmark must have liked you since they cast you in the lead role of this upcoming movie Moonlight in Vermont.

Actually, after Chesapeake Shores, I auditioned for a lot of Hallmark roles. They are very loyal, and I was on their radar. They kept me around, which is nice, and I think they were looking for something for me ’cause they liked me, and I liked them. And they found something that seemed to fit so well, at least in my opinion.

Carlo Marks Credit: Copyright 2017 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Ryan Plummer

That must have been neat to get cast in a movie with Lacey since you had worked with her a few years ago. But this one is a very different movie from Scarecrow.

It was very different, and a different dynamic too between our characters. Lacey and I saw a different side of each other.

Regarding Moonlight in Vermont, I had talked with Jason Cermak right after he wrapped on it. He played Lacey’s brother. Without spoiling the story, what can you tell us about your character in the film?

I play a chef again, just like I was in Chesapeake Shores. But a more successful, world-class chef this time. Studied in Paris and sort of seen the world and realized that he wants to live in his hometown in Vermont. Like most chefs are, he’s uncompromising. He likes things the way he likes them, but he also has an affinity for community and for locally-sourced ingredients. The slower, more authentic things in life he holds dear and are really important to him. Just coming from a place of authenticity is very key.

Is there a way you can tell us the main premise of the movie without spoiling the story?

Yeah, I think so. It’s kind of a fish-out-of-water story. Lacey’s character is a city girl, and by a sequence of events, she’s thrust into this country life with me where I feel comfortable. We learn things from each other. I learn how the city lives, and she learns how the country lives. I think that’s good. I don’t want to give too much away.

No, that’s perfect. You told us a lot, and you focused on the theme of the story. Do you happen to have any behind-the-scenes stories from the filming of this movie?

What I remember is this. We were filming in January, but it’s fake springtime in Vermont. As you know, being from the Northwest, you know it was the coldest, snowiest winter we have ever had in Vancouver. We’re shooting all these scenes outside, and it’s supposed to be springtime. Tulips are supposed to be coming up, but there’s snow on the ground. I remember one scene where we were filming a montage where we’re fixing a fence, and it must have been -9 degrees {Celsius} with that wind chill, and it was just bitter cold and we’re supposed to look like we’re having fun. And it was not fun. {laughs}

from Moonlight in Vermont

I think everybody I’ve talked with who has made these Spring Fling movies has mentioned how hard it was filming spring movies in the cold and the snow. I know it gets cold in the Pacific Northwest, but we don’t tend to get all the snow we got this year.

Oh, it was definitely cold and snowy. It was crazy. And the ironic thing is that when they shoot the Christmas movies–which Hallmark makes so many of–they shoot them in September and October when it’s hot out and you have to pretend to be cold. But that’s show business.

That’s so true. Well, we’ll remember that when we’re watching it tonight. Do you have any other upcoming works you can mention besides this movie?

We’re about to start production on the next season of Chesapeake Shores. I’m excited about that.

Oh good! They’re bringing you back! Have they told you how much you’ll be in this season?

I’m not sure. I know I’ll at least be in the beginning ’cause my storyline last year was left kind of open-ended.

That will be something to look forward to then.

Absolutely. I’m also busy auditioning. It is pretty busy up here right now.

Are you thinking of eventually writing/directing/producing?

Yes, I just recently started directing and producing theater. And I’ve written and produced a short film before. So I think I will slowly move into that ’cause I really do enjoy that part of it too. Writing takes a lot of discipline, but I enjoy it if I can get my butt in the chair, then for sure I’ll do that as well.

In your free time, which you probably don’t have a lot of, what do you like to do?

I like to take advantage of the outdoors. I like to hike and surf a little bit. Kayak and explore during the summer. I like to see shows in the theater and watch films. I read as much as I can. But you’re right. We’re getting busier and busier as human beings, but when I do have the free time, I like to do all that.

You live in a good part of the world to take advantage of the outdoors.

Absolutely. The most beautiful part of the world out here. I’m not impartial.

Well, I’m not impartial either.

The more I travel, the more I love it here. We’re lucky…. we’re very lucky, aren’t we?

Yes, I completely agree. 

Although Carlo and I began our chat as virtual strangers, we concluded this dialogue as two people who had made a connection. The Pacific Northwest was a fantastic place for us to begin that connection, but as we chatted, we found a sense of mutual respect and understanding between us. While I’m often able to find common ground with actors, Carlo was rather malleable and willing to go whatever direction I chose for our conversation. He made the experience enjoyable and leisurely as we sought to get to know each other, and I gently probed to discover the things about which Carlo was truly passionate. No doubt his heart is in the world of entertainment–as he said, it’s in his blood. While theater is something that strikes a profound chord within him, he has an affinity for those with whom he has worked in television as well, especially with Hallmark. While his acting career has been rather vibrant for many years, it appears that he is establishing his strengths in film and TV and securing his place in the Hallmark pool of leading men. I am grateful I had the opportunity to screen Moonlight in Vermont, for there is no doubt that his prowess is on display in a genuinely delightful way. I fully expected for him to shine opposite Lacey, but he overwhelmed me in more ways that I would have believed possible. As much as I love Lacey and many of her co-stars in the past, I believe Carlo is on his way to securing massive stardom and a firm place as one of the finest actors in the Hallmark universe as well as the acting world as a whole. And in spite of all that, he is humble, kind, and only wants to give his best every time he portrays a character, and as long as he remains as grounded as he is, his star is only going to rise higher on its way to the pinnacle of career success. Please be sure that you tune in tonight (April 8th) to the Hallmark Channel for the premiere of his newest film, Moonlight in Vermont. And consider following Carlo below and checking out his past works. I am enchanted with him, and I believe by the end of tonight, I won’t be the only one!

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About the Author

RuthView all posts by Ruth
43-year-old single mother of an active 14-year-old girl Born in Tacoma, WA; lives in Yelm, WA Entertainment Writer Available For Interviews and Reviews Substitute Teacher

5 Comments

  1. Sonia Guzman April 13, 2017 Reply

    Carlo Marks is adorable. I really loved this movie, Moonlight in Vermont!

  2. Sonia Guzman April 13, 2017 Reply

    Moonlight in Vermont and Carlo Marks! Loved it!

  3. Carol Adele Kelly April 17, 2017 Reply

    Love Carlo’s demeanor and delivery when he says, “Fiona,” essentially summoning her into the kitchen when he learns that they are ‘an item.’ I dub him ‘Charming Carlo’ in that scene and in “Moonlight in Vermont.” Continued success in your career, Carlo.

  4. mkspencer June 14, 2017 Reply

    saw moonlight in vermont. enjoyed carlo marks acting. then recognized him in scarecrow. he’s very photogenic. hope he finds success.

  5. Carol Adele Kelly July 27, 2017 Reply

    In the realm of films, there are memorable lines that audiences cherish. They include “Here’s lookin’ at you, kid” and “Scarlett, I don’t give a damn.” As I watched “Moonlight in Vermont” for perhaps the fifth time today, I’ve decided that Carlo’s precious one-word summons of “Fi-o-na” falls into that same category. I’m looking forward to my seventh viewing of this film as well as Carlo’s appearance in the new season of “Chesapeake Shores.”

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