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Keir O’Donnell on Going Behind the Camera for Marmalade After 20 Years of Acting

“The painting was a gift, Todd. I’m keeping it.” Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson were pretty darn hilarious in Wedding Crashers, but Keir O’Donnell‘s standout role as Todd perhaps overshadowed a big chunk of the classic comedy. Years later, O’Donnell has gone behind the camera with his own script in hand as writer and director of Marmalade, now in theaters and on demand. Featuring a stellar cast led by Joe Keery (Stranger Things), Camila Morrone (Daisy Jones & The Six), and the never-better Aldis Hodge (Black Adam), the rednecked caper film becomes more than just a love letter to the Southern-laced pursuit of the American dream.




Watch out for all the twists and turns along the way as an unlikely duo try their hand at small-time crime for some quick cash and the mysterious detective who’s on their hot pursuit. We recently spoke with O’Donnell to learn about the movies that inspired Marmalade, which of his past acting roles were his favorites and the Oscar-nominated actor he’s teaming up with for his next big project.


‘Raising Arizona Meets True Romance’


It’s common for actors to later become writers and directors of their own projects, and Keir O’Donnell discussed how his past Hollywood experiences helped enhance how he tackled his Marmalade script. “Being an actor primarily for 20+ years now, I’ve been on so many sets, but you don’t have much control as an actor. You kind of come in, you do your thing, and then you leave, and you watch the end product a year later, sometimes,” he told MovieWeb. “Obviously, being on set was quite familiar to me, but being behind the camera was fascinating, and then all the way through to post-production, I just found it to be such a learning experience but extremely gratifying. I’d love to do it again.”


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Since he’s been in the Hollywood game for so long, it’s no surprise when you realize O’Donnell has brushed shoulders with at least a handful of landmark filmmakers. “Legends like Clint Eastwood and Michael Bay, and the list goes on,” he said. “I think a lot of times with first-time directors, there’s this kind of fear of working with actors and kind of understanding that language. And that was very secondhand to me… I had shot Ambulance, that Michael Bay directed, shortly before we went into pre-production on Marmalade, so I was coming off of that, which is a wildly different film. But working with Michael, he has this childlike spirit, and he just wants to film and shoot. He loves the process of it all, so it was kind of infectious seeing that. There’s never a wasted moment; there’s never a wasted setup. It’s like, you’re on this high-budget film, but he’s shooting it like it’s an independent film… I found that to be really fascinating and certainly utilized that a lot.”


When watching Marmalade for the first time, you’ll certainly catch Bonnie & Clyde vibes, but other eras of cinema will also come to mind, as the comedy-drama heist film remains upbeat and lively.

“The inspiration came from movies that I’ve loved over the years, especially movies of the late ’80s and ’90s and kind of big, pulpy, colorful characters, stylized but with substance, and sort of some fun twists along the way. We always pitched the movie as
Raising Arizona
meets
True Romance
… Those movies were so influential to me, just as my creative compass.”

Favorite Roles and Working With Jeremy Renner

Marmalade

Marmalade

3.5/5

Release Date
February 8, 2024

Runtime
1hr 39min


Read Our Review


When we first see lead actor Joe Keery on-screen in Marmalade, it’s striking to see his hilarious hairstyle, perhaps a polar opposite of his Stranger Things flow that fans love. “He’s amazing. Joe is still quite early on in his career, comparatively,” said O’Donnell. “When I first met with Joe, he’s like, ‘I’m flattered, man, but like, why did you think of me? I haven’t done anything sort of quite like this yet.’ And I just said that he has this sort of sincerity to all of his performances. He has a vulnerability and sweetness that we needed for the role of Baron.”


Looking back on O’Donnell’s own career and looking at certain roles of his, we had to ask if he had a favorite or two. “I think my most memorable role today is obviously Todd from Wedding Crashers. That’s sort of what put me on the map. It was kind of like hitting the lottery, getting that roll. It’s my first movie, so I will always have a fondness for that experience and what it meant to me and what it taught me and everything else,” he said. “Also, a role I’m incredibly proud of is Fargo season 2. That was just such a joy, and I met some really great friends on that. And just the writing and everything was just so magnificent.”


Looking ahead, O’Donnell seems more than excited to be continuing this successful acting career alongside a two-time Oscar nominee. “I’m gonna go work on Mayor of Kingstown with Jeremy Renner for a bit, so that’ll be fun,” he said. “What a trooper. I met him years ago, just briefly, but certainly like an actor’s actor and someone that I’m dying to work with. So I’m thrilled to be jumping in there.” In the meantime, from Signature Entertainment, Marmalade is now playing in theaters and on demand.


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