Written in 2013, this article remains a favorite of mine. Marc’s story inspired a major motion picture and was also featured on 20/20.
Pain and Gain, a Michael Bay film starring Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson (The Rock), Tony Shaloub, and Ed Harris will be released on April 26, 2013 as a thrilling dark comedy but the true story goes much deeper and is far from funny. Tony Shaloub’s character is Victor Krenshaw, the fictional portrayal of the real-life Marc Schiller.
Schiller was held hostage for a month and tortured beyond belief by the Sun Gym Gang. He shares his experience with harrowing detail in his book, ‘Pain and Gain – The Untold True Story,’ a memorable story of an innocent man’s suffering at the hands of greedy and heartless criminals that will stick with readers long after the book is closed.
Michael Bay has said that “ Pain and Gain is a mixture of FARGO and PULP FICTION. It’s a dark comedy, and it’s all true,” while Judge Alex Ferrer of the actual case has said, “This case was very emotional to sit through. It still bothers me to some extent. I don’t think it could have been worse if he had been a prisoner of war.” While it may be because Schiller had no voice or connection to the film (something I learned during the interview), it seems as though the movie has only attempted to scratch the surface of his plight. With ‘Pain and Gain – The Untold Story,’ Marc is allowing readers to see and feel what he really experienced at what he calls ‘Hotel Hell,’ while showing how he persevered throughout it all.
Marc Schiller was kind enough to share his thoughts and feelings about the book and the film with me. Here is what he had to say:
Q: Your book contains details that have never been shared about your experience. What made you decide to open up about it?
Marc Schiller: For a couple of reasons, one is that the movie is coming out and as all Hollywood productions; it contains a lot of make-up to make it attractive for audiences. So, I thought it was important for people to really know what it was like to be me in that warehouse without all that Hollywood glitz. I also believe that as dark as that experience was, a message of hope shines through. I believe that is an important message in the troubled times we now live in.
Q: You’ve said, “There are some things you can only explain on paper, things that are too hard to say out loud.” As you shared these things on paper, did you find it just as difficult to revisit and express such powerful details?
MS: A lot of time has passed and it is not as difficult as it used to be, but certainly reliving the entire ordeal was difficult at times. I had pushed many of those ghosts away and I had to revisit them. This meant re-experiencing many of those feelings I felt those days I was chained in that warehouse. But, I knew that what I experienced needed to be told.
Q: So, how does it feel knowing that some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry are taking part in sharing your story?
MS: I wish I could have spoken and shared with them what it was really like. From what I understand, the movie will not do justice to what I experienced during my captivity but that’s Hollywood. I think having such a high profile cast will inspire more people to read my book and find out what really happened.
Q: What message do you hope for readers to take away from both your book and the film?
MS: As far as the film, I do not know. It has been made into a dark comedy so we will have to wait and see what message it conveys. I think my book carries an important message. It can serve to inspire people, no matter how bad a situation they find themselves in, to believe and have faith that a solution exists and it will appear. Miracles happen. I would like people to be inspired to analyze their lives and be appreciative for all the blessings they have, even the smallest things, and to live their lives full of joy and love for themselves and others.
Q: Very well said. At this point, I’m assuming that you’ve had nothing at all to do with the making of this movie. Am I correct?
MS: Correct. No one associated with the movie has ever contacted me.
Q: Wow.. So, could you share how you found out about it and your emotions regarding the news?
MS: One of my co-workers told me about it. I was first enthused and thought that they would contact me about it. Now, I’m a little disappointed that they did not want my input and that the movie was made into a dark comedy.