As a senior at Staples High School in 1986, Adam Marcus did an independent study in English. He read every Shakespeare play, and wrote a critical essay about each.
He and his teacher — Kay Blumhardt — both loved it.
The experience — along with his rewarding work with Staples Players, beginning at age 11 in a summer production — helped spur his current career.
He and his wife have written Texas Chainsaw 3D.
The Bard — and Adam’s Players mentor Al Pia — would be proud.
“Texas Chainsaw 3D” is not just a direct sequel to the 1974 classic Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It also massacred the competition this weekend. It made $10.2 on Friday — opening day — to blow past Django Unchained and, trailing those 2, The Hobbit and Les Mis.
Audiences loved it. Just as important to Adam, so did Tobe Hooper, the director of the original.
Though Adam has vast experience in the film industry — his romantic comedy So You Like This Girl won a student Best Picture award when he made it at NYU — Adam always credits Westport for his start.
And his inspiration.
For location, too. This Girl was shot here, with 200 background actors.
Adam Marcus (right) and his brother Kipp, in their Staples days.
One of Adam’s best friends — from age 6 on — was Noel Cunningham. Noel’s father Sean is a famed producer/director, including Spring Break and Friday the 13th.
Sean helped Adam break into Hollywood. At 23, he became the youngest director New Line ever hired. The project was Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday.
(The Hollywood Reporter, commenting on that 1993 2nd-place box office opening, headlined: “‘The Fugitive Wins; Rest of Box Office Goes To Hell.”)
Adam directed the 1999 film Let It Snow, and shot it in Westport. His brother Kipp Marcus wrote it. And it starred Bernadette Peters, who came out of a long retirement for it.
Adam and Kipp collaborated on many TV writing projects, working with big names like Ron Howard. Adam and his wife Debra Sullivan — they celebrate their 20th anniversary next month — also worked together often. Their credits include Conspiracy, starring Val Kilmer.
Debra Sullivan and Adam Marcus.
Adam and Debra’s next project — The Plantation, a remake of the 1943 cult classic I Walked With a Zombie — begins production in April.
Clearly, horror films are in Adam’s, um, blood.
“In this day and age, when everyone has a huge TV and surround sound, there has to be a reason to go to the theater,” he says.
“Horror and comedy are the 2 genres that you need to watch in a group.”
At Friday’s night’s opening, he notes, “the entire audience was screaming together. You can’t get that experience at home.”
Adam Marcus (bottom row, 3rd from left), with friends and admirers celebrate the opening night of “Texas Chainsaw 3D” at LA’s Grove Theater.
That concept of the importance of the audience comes directly from Players director Al Pia, Adam says.
And it was at Staples, Adam adds, that he learned so much about drama, theater and writing.
Gratefully, he says, “I’ve never had to work a day in another profession. I owe it all to Westport.”
But make no mistake: Hollywood is hard work. In the midst of The Plantation, Adam is already looking ahead to the project that follows.
It’s a remake of “The Pied Piper.”
Standing in for Hamelin will be: Westport.