Hallmarkies, arguably the world’s most loyal, passionate, motivated, and devoted fans, know him as “the guy who never get’s the girl.” Marcus Rosner has not only been in countless Hallmark movies (Christmas In Evergreen, A Harvest Wedding, Summer in the Vineyard, Autumn in the Vineyard, Framed for Murder: A Fixer Upper Mystery, Summer of Dreams, A Christmas Detour), but in 2015, he played Charles Kensington in the beloved series When Calls the Heart. Currently, you can see him in Lifetime’s critically-acclaimed UnREAL.
UnREAL is an outrageous, scripted tour de force that goes behind the scenes to expose the diabolical machinations that make reality shows so utterly addictive. The series stars Shiri Appleby as Rachel Goldberg and Constance Zimmer as Quinn King, a dynamic pair of remarkably powerful and ruthless women who masterfully manipulate emotions with an impressive Machiavellian flair. This season, Caitlin FitzGerald (Masters of Sex, Rectify) plays Serena, Everlasting‘s shrewd female suitress who is not only willing, but completely capable of going toe-to-toe with Rachel and Quinn to beat them at their own game.
In the series, Marcus Rosner plays Warren Johnson, a stunning, square-jawed cowboy who is vying for Serena’s attention and affection. But that almost wasn’t the case at all.
“Initially, they wanted me to self-tape for the role of Jasper Hunt,” Marcus revealed. “He’s sort of the Wall Street banker guy, a slick guy who is always wearing suits and is very wealthy. I do a lot of those types of characters on other shows.”
Fun Fact 1: Growing up, Marcus wanted to be a sports agent like Jerry Maguire.
“We were really poor growing up,” Marcus recalled, “so just seeing people in suits who could speak fluently and articulately really made an impression on me. It became something I aspired to. I wanted to learn how to do that because it was something that was unlike anything I knew growing up.”
Although the casting department ended up choosing Bart Edwards for the role of the smarmy lawyer guy, Marcus turned out to be a perfect fit for Warren, the cowboy guy.
“I love wearing a cowboy hat. I’ve played a few cowboys before, but I’ve never done the accent, so I had to teach myself how to do it. It was fun. They liked me, so they booked me.”
Fun Fact 2: Marcus was born on the west coast of British Columbia, but spent his younger years in a quaint, suburban prairie town called Sherwood Park, located in Alberta.
“Playing a cowboy or a lawyer are two things that I’ve done a few times now,” Marcus noted. “You have a demo reel that agents can send out to show people that you’re capable of pulling off those types of characters. However, it’s always hard to get something that you haven’t done before because people haven’t seen you do that yet. The Texas accent that I have in this series is nice because now I’ll have some footage that can help me get more work like this. Your demo reel helps you get the same kind of work, but it doesn’t really help you get to the next level or get something that you haven’t played before. You still have to earn your way into those roles.”
Besides Hallmark and Lifetime projects, Marcus’ work has appeared in a wide variety of genres ranging from the fantasy elements of Once Upon a Time to the horror overtones of Supernatural to the action and adventure world of Arrow. Entertaining Options wondered if there was a particular role or character he hasn’t played yet that he’d like to try next.
“There’s always something new that I want to try,” Marcus replied. “I think that one of the reasons people try to be actors is because they can’t settle on being just one thing. I really enjoy playing a variety of roles in a wide variety of genres. Right now, I’m really interested in pursuing independent material, great drama that will affect people and fulfill me as an actor. In past years, I really wanted to get on network television and have that validation. My motivations are always different; what I want to do next is constantly changing. I think the only way you’re going to stay motivated is if your motivations are constantly changing.”
Fun Fact 3: Marcus became an actor because of a trip to New York City.
“Throughout school, I played all the sports that I could and I never even thought about taking a drama class or performing in any sort of way. I loved music, but I couldn’t play a musical instrument to save my life,” he confessed. “I always wanted to visit New York City, so when I graduated, my mom took me on a trip there as a graduation present. We saw some Broadway shows and we stopped in at the New York Film Academy to see what they did there. They said, ‘We teach people how to act.’ I didn’t realize that you could teach someone how to act. Where I was from, nobody was trying to do anything in the entertainment industry. I’d watch TV and go to movie theaters, but I didn’t really know how films were made. It was that combination of seeing my first Broadway show and finding out that you could teach someone how to act that suddenly made being an actor a very real career possibility for me.”
Still, when Marcus moved to Vancouver to pursue acting, he decided to play it a little safe and invest in a backup career. At University in British Columbia, he began taking prerequisite classes to get into law school thinking if he couldn’t be an actor, then he’d become that articulate man in a suit he had always wanted to be as a child.
One day, he was in class with his acting guru, the highly acclaimed Andrew McIlroy, and he was asked to do an intense dramatic scene. When he finished, his instructor studied him for a moment, then said, “Marcus, you’re an actor. You can do this.”
“That gave me all the confidence in the world and it completely validated all these risks I had taken trying to pursue this career,” Marcus expressed. “I dropped out of University the next day and have been pursuing acting ever since because I realized if you have one foot in and one foot out, it’s never going to work. The only way you’ll make it is if you dive in completely and take that chance. That’s exactly what I did because I had that confidence given to me.”
Fun Fact 4: Growing up, Marcus didn’t have the Hallmark Channel.
Before moving to Vancouver, Marcus had never seen a movie of the week. However, since he was gifted with those chiseled features that were so perfectly suited for romantic movies, Hallmark expressed an interest in him and became the first network to offer Marcus a stable paycheck.
“Hallmarkies or Hearties?” Entertaining Options asked.
“They are the same group of fans,” he answered. “If you’re watching Hallmark, you’re watching When Calls the Heart. They are incredible fans. They interact with me on social media. If they see I’m in an episode of Supernatural, they will watch that because they know me from my movies of the week — whether it’s Lifetime or Hallmark — and When Calls the Heart. They are devoted, loyal, and very supportive. They offer nothing but love and I am so appreciative.”
Fun Fact 5: Marcus is a lifelong candy junky.
“My favorite candy changes every year, but right now I love these things called EIFFEL bonbons,” he enthused. “They are little powdered balls that I discovered last year at this one candy shop… and I keep going back to get more of them! They come in all these different flavors and they are absolutely delicious. Growing up, my candy addiction was those little Marshmallow Bananas. When I found out that they give candy away for free on set, it was one of the greatest realizations of my life!”
Marcus’ big episode of Lifetime’s UnREAL is called “Transference” and it airs on Monday, April 9 at 10/9c.