Twin Falls Idaho
Actor, writer and producer Mark Polish is best known as part of the Polish Brothers, a renowned identical twin filmmaker team hailing from El Centro, California. Along with his brother Michael, he enjoyed success in the independent scene with “Twin Falls Idaho” (1999), “Jackpot” (2001) and “Northfork” (2003). For “Twin Falls Idaho,” he received a Gotham nomination and with “Jackpot,” an Independent Spirit's John Cassavetes Award. After their first studio movie, “The Astronaut Farmer” (2006), starring Billy Bob Thornton, the duo released the comedies “Manure” and “Stay Cool” (both 2009). Their new film, “I.D.,” is set for a 2010 release.
Apart from appearing in his own films, Mark has also acted in Peter Atkins' “Hellraiser: Bloodline” (1996), Neil Jordan's “The Good Thief” (2002) and Dennis Hauck's “Al's Beef” (2008).
When asked if he is always going to be partners with his brother, Mark stated, “So far, so good. We don't go into it saying, ‘Hey, we’re going to do the next picture or whatever.’ If an acting job comes up, then… But we’re having a good time.”
Childhood and Family:
Mark Polish was born on October 30, 1970, in El Centro, California. He has an identical twin brother named Michael Polish, who was born 20 minutes after him. Growing up, Mark and his brother became movie-mad children in Sacramento, California. Some movies they watched as kids were George Miller's “Mad Max” (1979, starred Mel Gibson), which they saw over 20 times, and Sergio Leone's “Once Upon a Time in America” (1984, starred Robert De Niro and James Woods). It was after seeing the sequel “Mad Max 2/The Road Warrior” (1981) that young Mark began considering a career in the entertainment industry. He said, “It was 'The Road Warrior' and that just blew me away to see the continuation of this story. I thought it was pretty effective. They created this complete world, this apocalyptic world. That was one of those moments that made me realize, 'Wow! I'd like to do this.'”
Mark is married to Wendy. They have one daughter named Logan Polish. She appeared in his movie “The Astronaut Farmer.”
Mark Polish hit the cinematic industry in 1996 when he landed a bit part in the Peter Atkins-written horror “Hellraiser: Bloodline,” in which his brother Michael also appeared. Three years later, he was seen in the independent film “Twin Falls Idaho” (1999), which he wrote and starred in with Michael, who also served as director. “Twin Falls Idaho” debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in 1999 and won the pair a Gotham nomination for the Open Palm Award.
In 2001, Mark again collaborated with his brother to write their second indie film, “Jackpot,” with Mark also having the small role of Sad Eyes and Michael sitting in the director's chair. Starring Jonathan Gries as an aspiring singer who leaves his wife and daughter in search of stardom, the film brought the twins the John Cassavetes Award for Best Independent Film at the 2002 Independent Spirit Awards. With “Jackpot,” Mark and his brother secured their position as important names on the independent film circuit. “Jackpot” also marked their debut as producers.
In 2002, Mark was cast as Albert in Neil Jordan's thriller “The Good Thief,” opposite Nick Nolte. The film also featured Michael as Bertram. It was during this time that the brothers were flooded with offers from Hollywood studios to finance their projects, but they decided to remain independent and released “Northfork” (2003), their most challenging independent film to date. Starring James Woods, Nick Nolte, Daryl Hannah, Peter Coyote and Mark, the dramatic fantasy premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 21, 2003, before receiving a limited release in the United Sates in July 2003. It earned mixed reviews from critics.
Next up for Mark, he starred in the short film “Job 7:10” (2004), which was directed and written by Tony Perri and Sheldon Strickland. He then delivered a memorable turn as Manuel in Mary McGuckian's big screen adaptation of Thornton Wilder's novel, “The Bridge of San Luis Rey” (2004), where Michael also acted with him as Esteban. Among their costars in the film were F. Murray Abraham, Kathy Bates, Gabriel Byrne, Geraldine Chaplin, Robert De Niro and Harvey Keitel.
After releasing the book “Declaration of Independent Filmmaking” (2005), which they wrote with producing partner Jonathan Sheldon, Mark and his brother produced and wrote “The Astronaut Farmer” (2006), for which Michael cast Billy Bob Thornton and Virginia Madsen as Charles Farmer and Audrey 'Audie' Farmer, respectively. The successful film was pulled out from its indie wing by Warner Bros., and widely released in 2007. In addition to a producer and writer, Mark also played FBI Agent Mathis.
In 2008, Mark starred as Al in Dennis Hauck's “Al's Beef,” which won Best Drama and the Grand Prize at the 2008 Cape Fear Independent Film Festival, and other awards. Under a new production company called “Prohibition Pictures,” which Mark and Michael set up with partners Janet DuBois, Ken Johnson and Jonathan Sheldon, the twins released the comedy film “Manure” at the Sundance Film Festival on January 20, 2009, with Billy Bob Thornton and Téa Leoni starring as Patrick and Rosemary Rose, respectively. Mark appeared in the film as Thaddeus Young. Mark went on to write, produce and act (as Henry McCarthy) in his brother's directed “Stay Cool,” which debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 23, 2009. The comedy stars Hilary Duff, Winona Ryder, Sean Astin, Chevy Chase and Jon Cryer.
Mark will soon star in the science fiction movie “I.D.” (2010). He also serves as the movie’s writer and producer. His brother Michael will direct the upcoming film.
Independent Spirit: John Cassavetes Award, “Jackpot,” 2002 (shared with Michael Polish)