Owner of local martial arts academy in upcoming film

August 5, 2014
Mark Shrader, owner of Mark Shrader’s Mixed Martial Arts Academy in Washington, will appear in the upcoming film “Southpaw,” starring Jake Gyllenhaal. - Francesca Sacco / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

Mark Shrader spent two weeks in June up close and personal with some of Hollywood’s finest.

Shrader, who owns Mark Shrader’s Mixed Martial Arts Academy in Washington, was cast to play Doc Field, the main cornerman for Jake Gyllenhaal’s character in the upcoming movie “Southpaw.”

“It took three days to find out I got the part,” Shrader said. “Those three days felt like three years. I was so happy and worried. A total mix of emotions.”

Shrader temporarily relocated from his Monessen home to Indiana, where the cast and crew shot the majority of the film’s boxing scenes at Indiana University. On set for as long as 14 hours a day, Shrader said he understands why actors and actresses get paid so much.

“They dedicate their lives to a film,” he said. “Whatever they make, they deserve.”

He also spent three days in Pittsburgh during late July filming additional fight scenes for the movie.

Shrader, 39, said Gyllenhaal and co-stars Rachel McAdams and 50 Cent are “normal people.” At one point, Shrader said Gyllenhaal invited him to the spend the day with him in the gym.

“It was amazing to be around such famous people,” Shrader said. “But I felt comfortable.”

Shrader’s past experiences may have helped with that. In 2009, Shrader filmed a fight scene for the movie “Warrior” with actor Joel Edgerton.

“I was on set only one day, but I made the credit list,” he said. “I was maybe in the scene for a second.”

He feels that second helped him land the “Southpaw” role.

“It’s all about being in the right place at the right time,” he said.

His experience as a boxer also helped.

“It was natural for me,” he said.”We didn’t have to do a bunch of takes.”

Shrader began practicing karate in 1989. He later transitioned to kickboxing, then boxing. Shrader said he trained for a number of years and competed in 32 fights before he made the shift to mixed marital arts in 2001 and later cage fighting.

“I wanted to test myself,” he said of the changes.

Although a release date for “Southpaw” has yet to be set, Shrader said his entire academy plans on seeing it. Cast and crew members visited Washington July 28 to film scenes at the county courthouse.

Shrader said he hopes to continue to pursue an acting career. He now has his Screen Actors Guild card.

“So I’m going to go after a role in another upcoming film,” he said. “Doors open every day.”

Francesca Sacco joined the Observer-Reporter as a staff writer in November 2013, and covers the Washington County Courthouse and education. Prior to working with the Observer-Reporter, Francesca was a staff writer with a Gannett paper in Ohio. She graduated from Point Park University with a dual bachelor’s degree in print and broadcast journalism.

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