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Evan Marsh on authentic acting and award-winning film ‘The Journey is the Destination’

“Where does my character fall into this story?” “Why did the writer write such a character?” “What is the arc and purpose of my character to this script?” These are all questions Canada’s Evan Marsh asks himself before he takes any role. He knows his first task as an actor is not winning awards and being better than the rest, but simply telling a story. He focuses on his character and what they’ve gone through in their life before that first page of the script, and such a commitment to his craft is evident in every project he takes on.

As an internationally sought-after actor, Marsh knows just what it takes to captivate an audience. He is known for films like The Space Between and Giant Little Ones, and television shows like Northern Rescue. No matter the project, Marsh is happy to be living his dream, knowing since childhood that this is what he was meant to do.

One of Marsh’ first tastes of international success came with the 2016 movie The Journey is the Destination. Based on the real life of Dan Eldon, who was only 22 when he was chased down and killed by an angry mob in Somalia, was one of the youngest photographic stringers in Africa. But his journalistic work, which had appeared in Time and Newsweek, showed only a small part of his talent. Eldon excelled as an artist in his collages, which combined his photographs of Africa with paint, pastiche, pop culture images, advertising, and official documents. The Journey Is the Destination collects pages from the 17 scrapbooks that held his art. Chronicling his work from age 14 through his death at 22, this volume is startling not only in the intensity and thoughtfulness of the pages, but also in the fact that someone so young could have this kind of artistic depth and insight.

“This story about Dan Eldon is so important and inspirational because it is the legacy of a young artist killed just as his creative powers were beginning to be recognized by himself and others. He was showing a side of war and famine that America hadn’t seen and risking his life doing it. It also teaches a valuable lesson to live your life everyday like it is your last,” said Marsh.

Marsh played Corporal Chuck Marazzo, a soldier Dan Eldon meets along his journey through the movie. They created a tight bond and even saved each other’s lives in battle on two different occasions. Chuck loved being a soldier and believed it was what he was born to do, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t have a great sense for humor. He was light hearted and kept everyone in a good mood with his light-hearted demeanor. He witnessed some things during his tour that really scarred him and changed his life forever, one of which was having to cover and move burned bodies from a bombing. Marsh discussed this moment with the real Chuck Marazzo as he had to portray that scene in the movie.

“I feel as though scenes between Ben Schnetzer, the actor who played Dan, and myself really humanized any war related matter in the film as you got to see a friendship form between two men, one fighting and one witnessing,” said Marsh.

Marsh had to travel to South Africa to film The Journey is the Destination, an amazing experience for the actor. He found it easy to imagine his character’s circumstances when he was out in the world, rather than in a studio. He took time separately to train with the gun wrangler on set to make sure he was fully believable wielding guns as a soldier. He then took shooting lessons and was able to find out which gun he used in the scenes to prepare with.

Being able to meet Chuck also greatly helped Marsh understand his character. He took it upon himself to find Chuck and have dinner with his family, being able to ask detailed questions about his experiences and get a feel for his specific attributes and antics.

“I am very pleased with how well the film turned out as it was such an emotional rollercoaster for everyone involved. Dan Eldon’s mother wrote the film so you could feel the heart in each scene. The film received a GALA premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival which is an astonishing feat and well deserved at that. I could hear and see the passion in every crew and cast member on this project which was a first for me,” said Marsh.

On top of TIFF, The Journey is the Destination went on to receive several awards at the Manchester International Film Festival and the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Marsh is extremely proud of what the film achieved and everything he contributed to its tremendous success. There is little doubt that he will continue to demonstrate his talents as an actor for years to come, with many exciting projects already lined up. For those looking to follow in his footsteps, he offers some wise words.

“Trust yourself and your own instincts. I started my career by always thinking “okay this is what they must want here” or “let me try and impress them by doing this”. However, the minute I stopped focusing on them and what they would like and more on myself and what I felt was right for the scene/movie is when I began to find success,” he advised.

By Annabelle Lee
Photo by John Bregar
May 1st, 2019

Evan Marsh on authentic acting and award-winning film ‘The Journey is the Destination’ Reviewed by JaamZIN on 5:31:00 AM Rating: 5
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