The last screen appearance for Dave Brockie, the singer of the metal band GWAR. Brockie was a regular on Adam Green's TV show Holliston (2012), as well as a close friend. There was discussion of cutting Brockie's scene (in which he prophetically declared, "I have been a monster, I will always be a monster and after I'm dead, I will be a dead monster!") but it was ultimately decided that it would be retained since it was the last footage of Brockie that was ever shot.
The idea for Digging Up The Marrow spawned in 2010 when Green received a fan letter from a Hatchet fan claiming that the fan could prove that Green's fictitious character "Victor Crowley" was in fact real. Much like the fan mail package from "William Dekker" depicted in the film, the Hatchet fan letter contained pictures, maps, and other manufactured evidence that the fan claimed proved "Crowley's" existence. Not wanting to get involved with a fan who may potentially be insane and not wanting to do a "Crowley" project outside of the Hatchet franchise and universe, Green discarded the fan's package but started thinking of a docu-style story where he receives a similar kind of package from a fan claiming that monsters are real and then embarks on a journey to see if the fan can prove his/her claims. Just a few weeks later, artist Alex Pardee approached Green at a convention with a pamphlet for his most recent art exhibit called "Digging Up The Marrow" where the story line followed a mysterious man named "William Dekker" who claimed to have discovered where monsters actually live. After reviewing Alex's concept and his incredibly original monster designs, Green contacted the artist and discussed combining their ideas to make a movie.
During the edit suite scene where Adam Green and Will Barratt come up with the idea of traveling to Boston to speak to someone at the police department where Dekker claims to have once worked, a monster named "Tombstone" can be seen on the monitor behind Adam Green and Josh Ethier. The creature is camouflaged as one of the cemetery head stones but slowly stands up at one point and walks out of the cemetery unseen by Green, Barratt, or Ethier. Many audience members miss this and other purposely subtle hidden moments in the film but have slowly begun to discover them upon repeat viewings. The film was designed to offer new surprises whenever audiences re-watch it and look more closely. "Tombstone" can be seen up close in the accompanying 30-minute documentary "Monsters of the Marrow" included on the US DVD and BLU-RAY release of the film.
Aside from the film's three principal leads (Adam Green, Ray Wise, and Will Barratt), no other actors who appear in the film knew what the film was actually about and only saw the pages for their specific scenes.
The filmmakers turned down all film festival invitations and only allowed Digging Up The Marrow to screen at one festival worldwide (FrightFest in London) where Green traveled with the only copy of the film in his hands. By touring with the film themselves there were no advance screener copies in existence prior to the film's proper release and publicity campaign therefore making it the first ArieScope film to not be stolen or pirated on-line in advance of the movie's official release date. This not only helped keep the specifics of the film secret and created a more enjoyable and spoiler-free viewing experience for the fans but also greatly boosted sales of the film upon release. Merely three days after Digging Up The Marrow was released, Green stated in the press that doing a sequel had already been presented as an option to ArieScope by the film's distributors. While thrilled with the film's instant success, at this time Green and company have not yet committed officially to doing a sequel.
Digging Up The Marrow will have its world premiere at Fright Fest, a UK genre festival held in London every August. Director Adam Green has hailed Fright Fest as his "favorite film festival on the planet" and this will mark the second time that he has chosen to world premiere one of his films at the festival and his 8th time attending the festival with one of his films. The other film of his that world premiered at Fright Fest was Hatchet 2. Green had apparently written in to his contract for Hatchet 2 that Fright Fest needed to get the world premiere as he attributes Fright fest as the place that the Hatchet series was truly born, even though the film had technically world premiered at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City to an overwhelmingly positive response from both critics and horror fans alike.
While audiences and critics have highly complimented the improvisation performed by the principal actors throughout the film and cited it as a major reason why the acting is so top notch in the movie, almost every performance and line of dialogue was actually scripted and rehearsed. When asked about this in an interview with Entertainment Weekly magazine, Green expressed that while on one hand (as the writer) it is frustrating to keep reading how great the improvisation is in the film, on the other hand (as the film's director and lead actor) there is really no greater compliment to the film's performances than to hear that audiences are not realizing that the film was fully scripted and that they believed that everything spoken was made up on the spot.
In order to avoid audiences thinking that the film was indeed a real documentary and then suddenly turning on it and feeling hoaxed when the first monster is revealed, the decision was made to cast a recognizable actor as "William Dekker" and to be as clear as possible that the film was not trying to fool anyone or be passed off as "real." The filmmakers toiled over this decision when casting the film and at one point considered casting an unknown actor in the role of "Dekker." However, after careful consideration and looking at how similar docu-style narratives like 2007's "Poughkeepsie Tapes" had received negative reactions from audiences once the audiences realized that the films they were watching were indeed fiction and not in fact real, they decided to go with highly recognizable character actor Ray Wise as "Dekker" and make it as clear as possible that "Digging Up The Marrow" was a work of fiction. In testing the film they received the expected feedback from a few that once Ray Wise showed up on screen playing a character it "took them out of the movie as at that point they realized the film wasn't in fact real." When the filmmakers would then ask the viewer if he or she was still going to believe the film was real once the first monster revealed itself on camera merely 10 minutes later in the story, in every case the viewer acknowledged that casting Wise was indeed the right choice. Though "Marrow" is set in a real life setting and told in as authentic of a manner as possible to suspend audiences' disbelief, at it's core the film is a monster movie that delivers fantastical creatures on screen and no one would ever think the film was in fact real anyway, so the filmmakers opted to avoid the viewing experience becoming all about "a hoax" and instead chose to remind audiences right up front that they are watching a fictional scripted narrative which proved to be the right decision.
In writing the screenplay, Green purposely left certain answers up to the viewer's imagination in order to craft a story that would spark the audience's creativity and in an effort to create a world that would stick with and inspire viewers long after the film itself ended. Adam Green and artist Alex Pardee have both said that they were blown away by the unique theories that fans have shared with them during various Q&A's and meet and greets on the film's tour. Much like with Green's 2008 film "Spiral" Green and Pardee would not divulge their own answers to the film's open ended questions since any theories that they revealed to fans would in turn become definitive and official being that they are the filmmakers/creators. However both artists have also said that a sequel was thought out before filming began on the first film and that, should they decide to make another "Marrow" film, they are excited about how they've left the story set up to move forward.
The very first scene shot for the film was the scene at LAX airport where Adam and Will are traveling to Boston to speak with the police department. In real life they were flying to a convention appearance in Indianapolis where they were signing autographs alongside Dave Brockie to promote the (then) upcoming second season of their sit-com HOLLISTON.
At the Los Angeles premiere of the film, Green candidly addressed the crowd and said that though he and his team had expected the film to initially receive a polarizing response given the fact that they appear in the film as themselves and that they used their real lives as the subject matter for which they set the film's fantastical story in, he was surprised to see just how well received the film actually was. His announcement that "Marrow" had already surpassed their 2010 Sundance hit "Frozen"to become ArieScope's best reviewed film to date was met with applause and cheers from the sold out theater as seen and heard in video of his premiere introduction speech that appeared on-line the next morning.
During the scene where Sarah Elbert and Will Barratt confront Adam about wanting him to back off from investigating Dekker, a teaser poster for Digging Up The Marrow can be seen hanging on the wall in the ArieScope studio next to the production schedule written on the white board. In the commentary track Green addresses this and says that they placed the teaser poster there not only to be an easter egg for fans to find but also to illustrate that Green's character was so serious about the "documentary" they were making that he would have already created a teaser poster for it.
In February 2015 director/actor Adam Green and artist/creature designer Alex Pardee embarked on a cross country tour with both the film and Pardee's art exhibit that inspired the film. The tour was a huge success and is something that Green says he may do again with future films.
Green toiled over the concept of using his real life as the setting for the story and at one point considered making up a fictional cult filmmaker who worked at a fictional independent studio with a fictional crew that made fictional movies and had fictional fans. However, in interviews Green revealed that had the story gone in that direction or been told in such a conventional manner that the film would never have resonated with audiences like it does. "The fun of this film is that it uniquely blends a fantasy world of monsters with a very real world", said Green in MovieMaker Magazine. "If we took that aspect away then it wouldn't be nearly as interesting or original of a movie as any other filmmaker could make that movie. We wanted to make something that literally only we could specifically make in this exact manner."
"Digging Up The Marrow's" creature sculptor Greg Aronowitz directed the special feature documentary "Monsters Of The Marrow" that is included on the DVD and BLU-RAY release of the film. The documentary details the making of each of the film's practical creatures and how they were designed, fabricated, and brought to life on screen.
Sound designer Matt Waters is the voice of the Park Ranger that stops and questions Adam and Dekker during their first outing to the Marrow entrance. Alex Pardee is the one wearing the uniform in the scene, however. Because Alex's real voice had just been heard only a few minutes earlier in the film during the opening sequence of interviews with artists about monsters, they didn't want it to be obvious that Alex was playing the Park Ranger.
Originally in the movie, Dekker does not allow Will Barratt into his house and turns Adam and Will away. Immediately following that was a scene where Adam Green is rehearsing actress Laura Ortiz for the next season of "Holliston" and Dekker calls to negotiate the terms of filming. Both scenes were deleted but included on the DVD and BLU-RAY release of the movie.
Having spent 5 years making the film together and having toured together with the finished film, it is almost uncanny just what a tight artistic bond Adam Green and Alex Pardee seem to share. Their real life friendship and sincere mutual respect for each other as artists has been an aspect of "Marrow" that fans of the film have truly responded to and enjoyed experiencing at appearances and in interviews.