Born: August 16, 1962
Concord, Massachusetts, USA
Birthplace: Newburgh, New York, USA
Steve Carell as Hogie (Mark's Alter Ego in Movie)
Hogie (Mark's Alter Ego)
Born: March 26, 1972
San Francisco, California, USA
Renamed Nicol in the Movie
Leslie Mann (as Nicol's Alter Ego in Movie)
Colleen (Doll Alter Ego)
Yes. The Welcome to Marwen true story confirms that on April 8, 2000, five men jumped then-38-year-old Mark Hogancamp outside of the Luny Tune Saloon in Kingston, New York, after he had informed one of them that he liked to dress in both men's and women's clothing. At home, he had a closet filled with over 200 pair of women's boots and pumps that he is thought to have worn to feel close to women. He was attracted to women but was sure they would reject him.
Following the attack depicted in the movie, Mark is found by a waitress named Wendy, with whom he is in love. In real life, Mark was found by a bartender named Nora Noonan, who helped get him to the hospital before he drowned in the blood that was filling his lungs.
No. This is the movie's biggest fabrication with regard to the true story. In real life, Mark's assailants did admit to beating him because he told them he was a cross-dresser, which would make it a hate crime, but they weren't actually neo-Nazi white supremacists like in the movie. One of the real-life attackers, a 16-year-old nicknamed "Black Freddy," wasn't even white. However, to reinforce the point, the movie even shows one of the men with a swastika tattoo on his bicep. Both in the Marwencol documentary and in the articles written about Mark Hogancamp, including in The New York Times, there was never a mention of his assailants being neo-Nazis. They also appear a bit older in the film. In real life, two of the five attackers were still teenagers.
No. The Welcome to Marwen true story reveals that he actually left the hospital because his Medicaid had run out. Once at home, he did receive cognitive, physical and occupational therapy, but his state-financed insurance stopped covering it in under a year. He never received psychiatric counseling to treat his PTSD, because there was no coverage for it. -Welcome to Marwencol Book
No. He did create plenty of WWII illustrations, but only as a passionate amateur. In the early 1990s, he had worked as a carpenter designing retail showrooms for a lighting company (The New York Times). After losing that job, he worked full time at the Anchorage restaurant.
Following the attack, he received disability checks and worked just 4-5 hours once a week at the Anchorage — cooking, cleaning, washing dishes and doing other things that owner Julie Swarthout requested. It had become too much for him if he was around a lot of people for too long. -Marwencol Documentary
Yes. Among his old photos, he discovered a mugshot of himself (displayed below). In addition to being arrested for drunk driving, he was jailed for showing up drunk at a girlfriend's house with a 12-gauge shotgun he was using as a crutch. One of his 1995 diary sketches depicted him being sentenced to time in jail. -Welcome to Marwencol Book
Yes. According to Mark's storylines, the SS had come through the town and killed all the men. The women of Marwencol helped to rescue a downed fighter pilot named “Hogie,” who represents Mark himself. Hogie opened a bar in the town and a catfight club next door called “The Ruined Stocking,” where Hogie would pay the women to put on staged catfights. Obvious themes emerged in his storylines that related to his own traumatic experience and its aftermath, namely male brutality, fear, rage and the comfort of a town with all women. One of the only rules of Marwencol was that everyone was to get along. This included Americans getting along with Germans, etc.
Yes. Mark created the town after his state-sponsored rehabilitative services ran out following the attack and he was unable to afford psychological therapy for PTSD. He populated his World War II-era fictional Belgian town with Barbie Dolls and WWII action figures that represented his friends, family, attackers and himself. His alter ego was a toy soldier named Captain Mark "Hogie" Hogancamp. The dolls engaged in epic battles with dramatic storylines, helping him to transform the trauma of a violent attack into a masterfully rendered alternate world filled with action, adventure, romance and drama.
Yes. When he walked into town, he would drag his Army jeep behind him, filling it with some of the dolls from Marwencol. They were there to protect him and help him stay calm. “I’m always on guard, always looking over my shoulder, always worried about being attacked again,” said Mark. Another benefit to bringing the model jeep was to wear down its rubber tires to get rid of the factory seams and make it appear more authentic. Like in the film, Mark was a stickler for detail. -Marwencol Documentary
The path from Hogancamp's yard to the big screen started with his neighbor, magazine photographer David Naugle (not in the movie), who became curious after he saw Hogancamp walking along the road dragging an Army jeep behind him filled with dolls. After passing Hogancamp several more times, he eventually decided to pull over and inquire. It wasn't long before an envelope stuffed with Hogancamp's photos showed up in his mailbox. The images captured stories of fear, violence, trust, love and friendship. Amazed by Hogancamp's work, Naugle sent the pictures to Esopus, an art journal that eventually featured Hogancamp's photos and story. His 1:6 scale World War II town of Marwencol grew in popularity, with the photos appearing in other art publications and at New York City's White Columns art gallery in Greenwich Village.
Documentary filmmaker Jeff Malmberg happened to subscribe to Esopus and noticed Hogancamp's story. He decided to turn it into the subject of his debut film, 2010's Marwencol, which had taken the director/editor more than four years to finish. The documentary received critical acclaim, capturing the attention of Hollywood. It became the inspiration for the 2018 Robert Zemeckis movie Welcome to Marwen. Hogancamp's life story and refined re-creations of his work appear in the acclaimed 2015 art book Welcome to Marwencol.
After he moved into a trailer home in rural Kingston, NY, he rediscovered his passion for World War II miniatures. However, he was no longer able to manipulate the small 1:36 scale figures he had been used to. Instead, Janet and Mark Wikane, the owners of J&J's Hobbies, recommended that he work with 1:6 scale. This is the size of 12-inch-tall figures, including Barbies. He also worked with action figures by Dragon Models Limited, Blue Box International, and Ultimate Soldier. -Collectors Weekly
As we explored the Welcome to Marwen true story, we discovered that the most important thing that the movie leaves out is Mark Hogancamp's relationship with his mother, who passed away not long before the movie's release. In reality, when Mark left the hospital he did not move into a quaint rural house, as seen in the film. He went back to his apartment and lived with a friend and former coworker named Tom (omitted from the movie), who became his caregiver. When Tom had to relocate for work, Mark's mother, Edda, moved him into a trailer home. He even had a doll for her in his town of Marwencol. His mother was represented by a Pussy Galore doll based on the character from the James Bond movie Goldfinger. The attack and her son's subsequent retreat into a world of dolls was painful for her. However, she did buy Mark a Canon digital camera when his old Pentax broke, which helped him immensely.
The movie allows marks imagination to come to life, creating CGI versions of his dolls. More specifically, the film uses motion-capture animation, which is achieved by dressing the actors in skin-tight suits and tracking their movements. Obviously, Mark's real-life dolls were restricted to the confines of his imagination.
All five of the men who nearly killed Mark were convicted of their crime, but only three served time in jail. The other two were put on probation. -The New York Times