Bruce Schmitt as Mandrake, Jonathan Poortman as Lil’ Peatey, and Lesley Aaron as Roxanne star in the gothic-steampunk musical romance. SARA MATTHIS/Keys Weekly

 Locals shooting feature-length film in Marathon

On the eve of Halloween, it seems appropriate to share an ominous tale, making the rounds on the coconut telegraph in Marathon. There have been random sightings of characters dressed in long black capes and black dusters congregating in obscure corners of town — the edges of Grassy Key and the Specialty Hardware shop after hours. But it’s the cameras and film crews that stops passersby in their tracks.

“We have to keep it totally secret,” said local attorney and filmmaker Richard Warner, laughing. “People stop and ask us if they can be in the movie, too!”

Warner is resuming his title of filmmaker — everyone remembers the renowned “Wilma The Witch” documentary from 2006 — and has already toiled for months writing dialogue, penning original tunes, and shooting around town.

Warner agreed to share some details about his new project with the Keys Weekly, but was very cagey about the specifics. Here’s what we know: It’s a musical-comedy-drama; it’s titled “Marathon After Midnight;” it’s a feature-length film set to debut sometime in 2017; it’s got some gothic-steampunk-off-the-wall stylizations. And, of course, it’s all original.

“This is Marathon’s answer to Islamorada’s ‘Bloodlines,’” Warner said. (Seriously, though, his real purpose is to show that Marathon locals can be just as imaginative as our friends in Islamorada.)

Finally, the movie stars locals Bruce Schmitt in the role of Mandrake, and the Keys Weekly’s own Lesley Aaron as Roxanne along with a surprisingly large cast of South Florida locals, few of whom have ever done any acting. Local Marathon Community Theater favorites John Schaefer and Kathryn Rummery also are featured in their most unusual roles to date.

“This may be one of the craziest things I’ve done,” said Aaron. “But it will be fabulous.”

Stay tuned to The Weekly for details as they develop.  

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