Mara Marini is originally from Winnipeg, Canada, and currently living in West Hollywood California. At the age of 4, she had already decided that she wanted to become an actress, while her parents wanted her to study marine biology in the University of Hawaii. She went to York University in Toronto, before finally getting auditioned and accepted at American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles.
Marini has left her fans in awe way too many times through her admirable acting skills, especially as Brandi Maxxxx on NBC’s comedy series Parks and Recreation.
A major part of her career, however, involves gore, blood, zombies and supernatural activities. Marini’s has made a LOT of significant appearances, particularly in horror films, making her debut with In The Dark as Blair. She has also starred in Slaughterhouse Phi: Death Sisters, Darkworld, Blood Legend, Gothic Vampires from Hell and Munch. Marini has been recognized for her theater performance in a 15-week run of “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”, where she portrayed as Mina Harker. Culture Spot LA writer Julie Riggott said, “Marini made a convincing transformation from meek innocent to voluptuous vampire”. Then, Robert Machray of BlogCritics.org wrote she “should get an award for her bloodcurdling screams.
This March, Mara joins a stellar cast in the long awaited movie rendition of ChiPs!
CHiPs is an upcoming American action comedy buddy cop film written and directed by Dax Shepard, based on the 1970s television series of the same name created by Rick Rosner. The film stars Shepard as Officer Jon Baker and Michael Peña as Frank “Ponch” Poncherello, while the other cast includes Vincent D’Onofrio, Adam Brody, Rosa Salazar, Vida Guerra, and Kristen Bell. Principal photography began on October 21, 2015 in Los Angeles. The film is scheduled to be released on March 24, 2017 by Warner Bros. Pictures.
The Levity Ball had the special privilege of speaking to Mara Marini…
CHiPs is finally making its way to the big screen. What can we expect?
Dax Shepard wrote & directed the film and it’s absolutely hilarious! Lots of jokes, action, explosions and Dax and Michael Pena have such a great chemistry together. I think people are really going to enjoy this remake of a classic TV show.
Are you a Jon girl or a Poncherello girl?
I would watch reruns of CHiPs growing up in Canada. I love them both for different reasons but if I had to pick one I’d have to pick Ponch! Fans of the original might see a thing or two they remember! 😉
Tell me about your character Renee?
Renee is a sexually confident woman who could match wits and quips with any of the men in the movie but actually has a great connection with Ponch (Michael Pena). Just like any person, Renee has a few insecurities but she’s very willing to put it all out there. Renee and Ponch have a very sexy and quite hysterical scene that doesn’t go quite as planned thanks to Vic (Vincent D’Onofrio).
Do you feel that you are much like the character that you played? (Physically, personality, etc.)
Playing Renee was very risqué for me as an actress- I’ve never done anything like that before (at least, not on camera, lol) but the opportunity to work with Michael and Dax Shepard and to be a part of such an iconic universe was too good of an opportunity to pass up.
How was it working with Dax, Mike and the rest of this amazing cast?
Dax and Michael are such experienced and talent performers that I wasn’t really expecting them to be as affirming or kind as they were. I wasn’t expecting them to be mean or anything but they went so above and beyond to compliment my work and character choices and they themselves worked so hard- it was really cool to be a part of something like that, and to have it be on a big action packed blockbuster style movie was just the icing on the cake!
What was Dax like as a director?
Dax created a very comfortable space to work in and I enjoyed working with him immensely. I’ve worked with so many directors in the theater, on television, and in movies and Dax has such great instincts; he has such an eye/ear for what’s funny and was very collaborative on set.
How did you get started acting?
It’s all I ever wanted to do since I was four years old (minus one year where I wanted to be a dolphin trainer). I begged my parents to move to LA (their response was “hell no”) & then begged them to at least put me in acting class (also a “no”). When I was six, I just started memorizing sonnets & scenes out of my Mum’s Shakespeare book & she agreed to enroll me in a local class at Manitoba Theatre for Young People. I fell even more in love & involved myself in anything I could get my hands on – school plays, local theatre, etc. I began plotting on how I was going to get to LA. I left Winnipeg at 17 to attend York University’s theatre program & while there, auditioned for the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. I was accepted & made it to LA! I completed the full three year conservatory program at AADA & dived into hustling & auditioning in the city.
What’s your next exciting move we should watch out for?
I’m currently shooting the feature, Starf*cker as well as rehearsing for the world premiere of the play, Liana & Ben, at Circle X Theatre. It’s a twisted, sexy retelling of a classic, Faustian tale – I play Persephone. I also co-wrote a sex comedy series loosely based on my real life relationship with my ex that we have pitched to a few studios and production companies. It’s getting a really overwhelming positive response, which is kinda scary but also super validating when it’s work that’s so personal to you and your heart.
Can you give us any hints, “but no spoilers” about Starf*cker?
It’s a really great dark comedy about the underbelly of Hollywood. Mark David is directing & Andy Dick, Erik Fellows & James Russo star. Bret Easton Ellis (American Psycho) is one of my favourite authors and the script definitely has that feel.
You always look so great how do you stay in shape, what’s your secret?
Oh thank you. I wish I was one of those people who could say I have a secret and it just happens, but like many good things it comes through hard work and discipline! 😉 For me being healthy and active is just as much for my head and heart as it is for my body. My parents are super healthy eaters and fitness buffs so it’s been a part of my life since I was a kid. I love the outdoors and live near Runyon Canyon, which I often hike with my dog, Coconut. I also go to the gym & weight train/do cardio at the gym about 5-6 days a week. Lastly, I enjoy eating healthy so primarily cook/keep healthy things at home so that when I do go out I can splurge and live a little.
A lot of people look up to you, who inspires you, who is your role model?
Thank you. Oh man…this is a hard question because there are so many people who inspire me & I’ve drawn on different inspirations at different times of my life. Growing up, my room was plastered with Madonna & Marilyn Monroe pictures & posters. I think I admired Madonna’s boldness & Marilyn’s vulnerability. As I got a bit older, I fell in love with Dolly Parton, Megan Mullally, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Kristen Wiig and Jennifer Coolidge. I’ve been likened to a young Betty White, whom I am a huge fan of, so that was probably the best thing I’ve ever been told.
What do you enjoy most about this industry and your career?
I feel so blessed to be able to pursue what I love. I enjoy collaborating with other creatives & feel so lucky that I’ve been able to work with some of comedy’s greats. I love that I’ve gotten to work primarily in comedy as that definitely makes me the happiest.
Do you ever get starstruck? If so, who has that effect on you?
OMG, who doesn’t? There are so many talented, wonderful stars out there but I try to keep it together because I want to meet them on a professional level & I don’t want them to think I’m a blabbering idiot. But I think if I met Betty White, I’d definitely be star struck.
What role would you love to play that you’d consider your dream role?
I’ve always had a vision of playing something in the world of The Sopranos/Goodfellas. Ideally, I’d love to be the “Godmother” – sort of an Italian version of a Griselda Blanco. But, my ultimate dream is to have my own sitcom one day.
I personally love Canada, do you miss it and if so what do you miss?
I love it too!! I miss my family. I miss government provided insurance/gun control/environmental protections, etc. But I do love living in LA and am proud to be a naturalized US citizen so while I am so glad I grew up in Canada, I’m also very proud and fortunate to have been able to vote for President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton. I lucked out & made the most amazing friends day one that are still my closest friends now. It feels like home here.
Any last words for our readers?
I’ll leave you with one of my favourite Amy Poehler quotes: “You have to be where you are to get where you need to go.”