Mark Oliver you may all know for those who enjoy cheesy low budget horror film's as the Mexican Los Angeles teenage gangmember Tony DeRaro going to summer camp at Camp New Horizon's in 'Sleepaway Camp 3: Teenage Wasteland' acting opposite of Pamela Springsteen and Tracy Griffith who survived the camp massacre's there. His character very much reminded me of those other typical teenagers in a 'Friday the 13th' sequel as he made himself a very worthy actor.
Yes he's a local in Atlanta, Georgia but was born in Pittburgh Pensylvannia he has been fortunate to work steadily as an actor since work there is very scarce and really built up a number of acting credits.
He also had a bit part in the 1997 flick 'Scream 2' as a news reporter and also had guest roles in TV shows like 'Prison Break', 'One Tree Hill', 'Daddy's Little Girls', 'House of Payne' and portrayed a real life character named Ernie Salvatore with Matthew McConnaughey in the motion picture of 'We Are Marshall'.
He did return to horror as he made his breakthrough in the slapstick horror blockbuster of 'Dance of the Dead' which was like a take on 'Shaun of the Dead' in which Mark portrayed a tough as nails highschool coach named Keel battling away zombie's while they invade his small town and he played the lead supporting role in it and got great raves for it and gaining more exposure than ever before proving himself to be a versatile actor.
Recently he had a bit part in the remake of George A. Romero's 'The Crazies' but was uncredited but showing his path to continually work in the odd horror film regardless.
In addition to film and television acting Mark also does voice over work with recurring clients such as 'Turner and Classic' movies & 'The Home Depot' commercials.
He is quite a busy guy overall and is never empty handed. I had the pleasure to interview him and here's what he had to say.
Check out some never before seen stills on behind the scene's with Mark's work on 'Sleepaway Camp 3: Teenage Wasteland' thanks to him.


At what age did you see yourself as an entertainer?

Not until I was about 16. It began in my drama club during high school.

Did you ever see yourself acting in horror films?

LOL-No. I really enjoy it, though.

I understand you had a bit part in your first horror film called 'The Crazies'. What was it like doing your scene?

Well, this really wasn't my first horror film but it was a great experience. I was reunited with Tim Olyphant whom I had worked with on 'Scream 2' and we had a nice-albeit hectic-scene together. Lots of helicopters, 300+ extras, and a LOT of yelling on my part.

Oops I forgot there was a remake on it like there is on alot of horror flicks since Hollywood seems to be running out of original ideas as you were in that one. Who did you play in it and what did you do?

I was an Emergency worker with the military. My job was to get Tim's character and others off of the truck they were riding in and get them to safety.

How did you find out about the auditions for 'Sleepaway Camp 3: Teenage Wasteland'?

Through my agent, Shay Griffin. Shay is now one of the premiere casting directors in the country and we see each other on a pretty regular basis.

Who did you try out for apart from your role as Tony DeRaro?

That was the only character I read for and I wanted it BADLY.

What was it like being on set as I heard it was pretty cold?

Yes, it was cold but it was still one of my favorite projects to have been a part of. The entire experience is something that I look back on very fondly.

What was it like during your fight scene with Daryl Wilcher as Riff in the canteen room?

A complete blast. Daryl is a pro and a great guy to work with. We worked through the scene with Lonnie Smith, the stunt coordinator on the film. We were both psyched up for that scene.

You had great dialogues with Tracy Griffith who played Marcia Holland. What was the chemistry like working with her? Do tell us every detail.

I can tell that you're fishing, Greg LOL Well, Tracy was an incredible person and actor to work with and we had some great chemistry together. We considered continuing our on-screen romance but alas, 'twas not to be. She was in New York, I was in Atlanta. She was high society, I was from a Mexican gang. Our romance didn't have a chance post-'Sleepaway Camp'.

Did you know she was Melanie's half sister when you started working with her and that Pamela Springsteen was the sister of the Boss too who played the maniac transexual Angela Baker?

No to both questions. After I found out, I wondered who was responsible for the sibling theme we had going on.

What was Pamela Springsteen like?

Very cool! At least until Greg (Chung Yen Tsay) asked her if she was truly Bruce Springsteen's sister. Yikes. She handled it well, though. I'm sure she's been asked that a million times or more.

Did you see her in any of her other work beforehand?

No, but I did go back and watch one of my favorite films 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High' to see her performance.

When there was the dark forest scene being scared when a raccoon was walking by did you feel that you were in a 'Friday the 13th' type of sequel environment?

Absolutely. That was by design, as were many of the other tributes paid within the film to classic horror films.

Was it a struggle when you, Sonya Maddox who played and Anita Bircham and Chung Yen Tsay who played Greg Nakyshima were all tied up and had to bounce in each cabin as your characters had to find Marcia?

Yes! They really had us tied together and it was awkward.

What memorable moments do you have during shooting that film?

Too many to list. Some of the finer moments consisted of the nightly jam sessions that would take place in the mess hall. The crew were all musicians, and that made for a very festive atmosphere. The sense of camaraderie between the actors and truly enjoying coming to work every day is something I won't forget. I was pretty bummed when it came to an end as I am on most film projects. Sometimes I focus too much on what is coming up next rather than enjoying the moment in the here and now. I have to work on that.

What was the toughest scene to do?

The fight scene, definitely. We spent an entire day just doing that scene as I recall.

I heard that some people had issues with Michael A. Simpson. Would you be willing to share any informantion about this?

Oh, I love to expound on unsubstantiated rumors. That's just good karma, you know? LOL Alright, I never personally had a problem with Michael. He treated me fine. Having said that, it was no secret that Michael had a roving eye for the ladies. That's the only somewhat negative thing I can say about that guy. Perhaps you should ask some of the female cast this question?

Who did you get along with the most on set?

Tracy Griffith, of course. Also, Kim Wall whom I'm friends with to this day. Everyone was pretty cool.

Did the movie go direct to video as I heard that Italy gave it a theatrical run. Do you know anything about that?

Not sure about that. I was bummed out that 'Sleepaway 2' had a limited theatrical release here in Georgia but part 3 did not.

Apparently they were making a 'Sleepaway Camp 4: The Survivor' but the people didn't know what they were doing and couldnt complete it due to funding. Were you asked to return to it?

No, I wasn't . Why the hell wasn't I?

Did you ever watch the very first Sleepaway flick by Robert Hiltzik and what did you think of it?

Yes! The ending creeped me out as it did most people. Some of the composite characters were awesome.

Did Michael A. Simpson ever ask you to be in his comedy flick 'Fast Food' since he had a handful appear in it?

Hmmmm. No, he didn't. You know, I never liked that guy now that I think about it.

What other gigs did you do afterwards?

Kind of a tough question to answer considering that was one of my very first film roles. I've been fortunate to be able to act full time based in Atlanta which is no easy task.

Was it true you were asked to guest star in a TV episode of 'In the Heat of the Night'?

Yes, and I had a conflict with the shooting date. I think I'm the only Georgia actor from the 80's that never made it on the show. Perhaps it's a blessing as my mullet would have upstaged my acting chops.

Were you in any other horror films afterwards or did any casting directors from horror flicks ask you to audition due to your role as Tony?

Not really. Even though I was pretty young, I wasn't that naive to think that my role as Tony was going to put me on the map.

What experiences did you have as your bit part as a reporter in 'Scream 2'?

Had a great time with Liev Schriber. What a great guy he is. One of my favorite things was that Wes Craven remembered me from the auditions and was extremely gracious.

Were you in other scene's that was cut out in the editing room?

Yes! I was actually the killer and they re-wrote my part and relegated me to being the reporter. Bastards.

Now some of your fellow actors from SC3 were in zombie flicks like Daryl Wilcher in 'Zombeak' and Kyle Holman in 'Hide and Creep'. Your big break was your part as the tough as nails Coach Keel in 'Dance of the Dead' which I enjoyed. How'd you come across doing that film?

Oh, man. I absolutely LOVED working on 'Dance of the Dead'. I went through more auditions and callbacks on that film than I have for any other project I've ever worked on. The best part?

It was all worth it. I'm very proud of that film.

What was Gregg Bishop like to work with?

Take one part mild mannered easy going country boy, one part brilliant editor, one part brilliant director, and one part ridiculously white teeth and you have Gregg Bishop. A really nice guy on top of all that.

What was the scene you mostly enjoyed doing in that film?

Probably the one that kicked my ass-the coach goes on a zombie killing spree scene. Gregg had amassed an incredible stunt team with whom he established a rapport with on this first film, 'The Other Side'. Black Knight Stunts is a top notch stunt team and I owe them a debt of gratitude for helping to make Coach look legit.

I enjoyed your take on inventing weapons to blow away some zombie's and leading the teenage cast. What was racing through your head when you were performing all of this?

Well, we shot all of my scenes in the evening and that helped out a lot in creating the zombie vibe, you know? I really didn't over think what Coach Keel would do-I just did what felt natural. "Natural" for Coach Keel would be absolutely terrifying to the average person.

Who did you enjoy working with on this film?

Everyone, really. As far as actors, Blair Redford is an incredibly cool guy that I still stay in touch with along with Stephen Caudill and Randy Mcdowell. Lucas Till was very cool as well. I try to stay in touch with as many DOD alumni as possible. Stephen lives right around the corner from me actually.

Did you feel that this role proved yourself to be a versatile actor?

Yes, I do. Again, I'm so very proud to have been a part of this film and to show a side of me that not even my agent knew existed. This was a dream role for me on many levels.

What kinds of feedback did you get from viewers?

I received more positive feedback from viewers that saw 'Dance of the Dead' than I have from any other project I've ever worked on. Everyone seems to dig Coach Keel and I truly appreciate it!

Have you been reviewed by horror magazines like Fangoria and Rue Morgue on your role or even asked to be interviewed?

Yes, and I was very flattered by their comments. The reviews have been overwhelmingly positive for DOD across the board.

Is the sequel in the works and will you reprise your role in it?

No word on that just yet, but they did leave the door wide open for one. I hope it comes to fruition. There are so many places I want to take the Coach Keel character now.

Are you getting other opportunities in horror films due to your work in this film since it's very talked about?

Mainly on an independent level. Had 'DOD' been given a wide release, who knows?

What's your next acting gigs?

I've been auditioning A LOT, thankfully. The film industry has finally returned to Atlanta and I couldn't be happier about it. Waiting to hear back on a few things. Story of my life.
On April 30th, there will be a premiere for "The People vs. Leo Frank" here in Atlanta ultimately to be shown on PBS.  It's a period piece that I worked on last year about a Jewish man here in Marietta that was wrongfully accused of murdering a young girl.  That man is Leo Frank, and he was played by Will Janowitz, of Sopranos fame.  I played one of his lawyers.  I also worked on a movie called "The Joneses" featuring David Duchovny and Demi Moore that will be out this fall.  Most recently, I worked on a Lifetime movie called "Acceptance" which will also be out this fall starring Joan Cusack and Mae Whitman.  Not sure if you've ever seen "Dinner and a Movie" with Paul Gilmartin on TBS, but I just shot an episode of that to be shown May 22nd.

As you know Robert Hiltzik made his true part 2 to 'Sleepaway Camp' titled 'Return to Sleepaway Camp' and plans to make another 'Sleepaway' sequel titled 'Reunion'. Do you think you can try to get your agent to track him down to see if there's a possible part for you to be in it?

I would LOVE to be a part of it. I will see if I can steer my agent in that direction.

I understand you also do voice over work. What kinds of stuff?

Voice-overs have become one of my favorite things to do, actually. I have a studio within my home and can work in my pajamas, which I often do. I was the voice for 'Turner Classic Movies' for the past 5 years, and maintain a nice corporate and commercial client base.

Apart from acting what else do you do for a living?

Acting and voice-overs are all that I do and I'm very fortunate to be able to say that.

Now here's some fun stuff: What are your favourite horror films?

Some of the early 70's classics like 'Phantasm' and 'Dawn of the Dead'. 'The Shining' and 'The Exorcist' still scare the living hell out of me to this day. More recently, I really enjoyed the 'Saw' movies-especially the first one.

What is the show you were in that you cherished the most?

Probably 'Dance of the Dead' or 'We Are Marshall'. I'm assuming you meant films? If you meant television shows, I had a great time on 'Prison Break'.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

I'm actually living it. I have two gorgeous and healthy young daughters, along with an amazingly supportive wife, and I love my job

If you were a horror film actor for a day whether he was alive or dead who would he be?

Wow, great question. I think it would be pretty cool to be Bruce Campbell back in the 80's. What stories that guy must have.

If you have a show you'd like to change. What would it be?

I don't really watch a lot of television anymore. There are a few shows that I used to watch like 24 and more recently Lost, but since I don't have a DVR I miss out on a lot. Ask me anything about some of the kid's programming on PBS or Noggin, though. I'm an authority. Having said that, I do have a show I want to change. On the PBS animated show 'Arthur', there is an incredibly whiney character named 'DW'. In my opinion, no child should be referred to by their initials at age 5.

What are your ambitions in life?

First , to continue to be the best husband and father that I can be, and secondly to continue to work in films and voice-overs. Particularly in films, to play characters that have names instead of job descriptions. I don't think that's asking too much, do you?