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After spending several years in social services, Nicole has finally followed her lifelong dream of being a full-time writer. In addition to her work for The Hudsucker, Nicole is also a staff writer for Womanista. An avid comic book fan, BBQ aficionado, professional makeup artist and first-time mom, Nicole can be found exploring Kansas City rich history when she's not blogging about suburban life at Suburban Flamingo.

Getting Real With Actor Marcus Rosner of ‘UnREAL’

{Image Credit: Lane Dorsey}

Lifetime’s UnREAL, the award-winning drama about a reality dating program and its behind the scenes drama intricately crafted for ratings and predicaments by its young producers, returns tonight for its hotly anticipated third season with a new, charming face — Marcus Rosner.

Fans of Rosner might recognize the British Columbia native from his stints on The CW’s ArrowSupernatural and ABC’s Once Upon A Time, but the talented and charming star of the Lifetime series has been acting for quite some time with a love stemming initially from his adolescent years and a life-changing trip to Broadway with his mother.

With an appearance in Disney’s Tomorrowland and just recently wrapping filming in Hallmark’s Christmas in Evergreen, Rosner is playing his biggest role yet as a reality TV star on the dark comedy parody series, UnREAL starring Constance Zimmer and Shiri Appleby. This season, Rachel (Appleby) and Quinn (Zimmer) return with a whole new challenge as their fictional reality program, Everlasting, shakes up its formula with a female suitor (Caitlin Fitzgerald, Masters of Sex) and heads to a mansion surrounded by impressive suitors in an attempt to fashion another season of true love, including the handsome Rosner.

In an exclusive with The Hudsucker, we had a chance to sit down with Rosner ahead of the season premiere tonight, Feb. 26, and chat about his cowboy character, how the ABC series, The Bachelor helped him prepare for such a role, and the best advice he has ever received.

The Hudsucker: You’ve played a wide variety of characters on television, including Max Fuller on Arrow, Dash on Supernatural, and Jurgen on Once Upon A Time, but now you’re going to be playing a cowboy on UnREAL. What attracted you to this role?

Marcus Rosner: It was the opportunity to be a part of the show that attracted me more than anything. I auditioned for a couple different roles on this season’s cast, including the role of Jasper played by the very charming Bart Edwards. [But] the chance to be a part of such a popular show that pulls the curtain back on reality television and exposes the manipulation that goes on within an “unscripted” really excited me. I was really happy to hear that they found a spot for me with the role of Warren, this season’s down home cowboy suitor.

The Hudsucker: Other than Warren being a cowboy looking for love in a Bachelor-type setting, what else can you tell us about your character?

Rosner: Warren is a cattle rancher from Texas and his mother is very ill and may pass soon, but before she does Warren is desperate to find someone to marry and make his momma happy. Warren is different from a lot of the other male suitors because he has a very conservative outlook on life which within the context of a show like this is a rough fit, to say the least. Some of the stuff that goes on in the “Everlasting” house confuses and frustrates him.

{Image Credit: Lane Dorsey}

The Hudsucker: With UnREAL being set against the backdrop of a hit dating show treading The Bachelor and Warren seeking love, how do you think Warren will hit it off with the new female lead, played by Caitlin Fitzgerald?

Rosner: Serena, played by the lovely Caitlin, is a Silicon Valley-feminist-tech mogul and Warren is a good old boy from Texas so they couldn’t be more different — that becomes apparent right from the start. But opposites attract! And that’s not to say Warren might not get desperate and make a grand act of love, if not an ill-advised one anyway.

The Hudsucker: With UnREAL being a show about the behind-the-scenes world of a reality series with real people, what did you find challenging about playing a cowboy like Warren, a real guy in a reality setting?

Rosner: The Texas accent is something I had never done before, but truth be told that actually came surprisingly easily, although I suppose the real Texans will be the judge of that. (laughs) I also had to learn to play the harmonica initially as well. I bought a cheap harmonica and taught myself to play using YouTube videos, but unfortunately, on the first day of shooting, they didn’t need Warren to play it anymore, which needless to say, broke my heart. But the hardest thing overall would probably just be finding ways to justify someone like Warren going on a crazy reality show like this. I reasoned that given the turbulent time in his life, he would be desperate and liable to try anything for love.

The Hudsucker: Was there anything you were able to personally relate to with Warren?

Rosner: Warren loves his momma, and he’s a highly principled man. I’d like to think I share those attributes as well. Besides that, there were not a lot of similarities.

The Hudsucker: UnREAL sounds a bit like The Bachelor and treads the world  of reality television. Did you have to watch any of the ABC series or other dating shows to prepare for UnREAL?

Rosner:  The reality show that is the focal point of UnREAL is “Everlasting,” which is our version of The Bachelor,  and UnREAL was actually created by people who at one point had close ties to The Bachelor, so it is very much a source material for the show. I did, in fact, watch some of The Bachelor. It was helpful to get a feel for the format of one of those shows, specifically the rose ceremony, which we do a very similar version. It’s this very strange time when you’re all standing there lined up waiting to get picked like you’re playing 6th-grade kickball again. Of course, our show is scripted and we knew who would be getting picked every time, but I watched The Bachelor looking at how those men reacted to being chosen or left behind.

The Hudsucker: You have an incredible and flourishing list of credits. Going back a bit to some of your earlier roles, what was it like being on Arrow?

Rosner:Arrow was one of the first gigs I ever had and at the time it was extremely exciting to be a part of. It was the third episode on the first season, and we shot my scenes on the day of my 23rd Birthday. I played this club owner named Max Fuller who had a longstanding rivalry with Oliver Queen. What’s really funny is at the time, I was still bartending as well and Stephen Amell came into my bar about two weeks before we ended up working together with some of the cast from the show. I recognized him because I had seen the casting notice when the pilot went into production and knew the show was going to be filming in Vancouver, where I was based.  I introduced myself and said like “Hey, welcome to Vancouver…” etcetera. and gave them a free round of drinks. Fast forward a couple weeks and I’ve booked this role on the show and I’m playing this bar owner, no less, who ends up having his goons beat up Oliver and toss him out of the bar.

The Hudsucker: With such a wide variety of characters on your roll, what has been your favorite character to play thus far?

Rosner: I had the opportunity to do this amazing short film last month with Heather Morris (most notably from Glee) where we play young parents to an 8-year-old daughter and Heather’s character, the mother, is suffering from severe depression. In the film, I’m trying to explain to our daughter what is going on with her mom, but it’s difficult for her to understand, so in her mind, she envisions her mom battling these demons in this dark world. It’s all choreographed in this elaborate dance sequence, and it’s going to be a very beautiful and powerful film. It’s called Dance with a Demon and it will be coming out later this year. I really think that may be my favorite part I’ve ever played, but that recency bias is always very strong too. Acting is an exciting job and you get really passionate about good projects you are working on at any given time.

The Hudsucker: We love hearing that and are so excited for your next projects! What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

Rosner: Advice is a funny thing. There are so many incredible words of wisdom out there but you only really hear the ones that fit you at that given time. So every week, month, year it seems like I’m working with a new thesis statement. Right now I’m working with this line I heard in this little indie film Down River directed by Ben Ratner in which one of the characters is having a crisis and says to her mentor “I just want to be better” and her mentor responds with “You just need to be you.” It’s so simple and seemingly cliche on the surface but in that scene, it came across as incredibly poignant and really connected with where I’m at right now so I’ve been riding with it for a couple months using it as a reminder. I see a lot of actors struggle with identity in this business, you lose track of who you really are or what you really believe in because we are always seeking some sort of validation, but in the end, you just need to be able to always come home to that baseline that makes you uniquely you.

* * * * *

UnREAL airs tonight at 10 p.m. ET on Lifetime. You can keep up with Marcus Rosner on Twitter and Instagram.

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