Ask any successful actor to name their favorite role, and most would be hard-pressed to narrow it down to just one. It’s like asking a superstar athlete who’s won multiple championships to come up with one all-time favorite moment.
When prompted to name her favorite character, Carol Ann DeMarco faced the same dilemma. After all, she has played lead roles in many indie films, TV shows, Lifetime movies, and even on the stage, ranging from disturbingly dark to hilarious. Defining her simply as an actress doesn’t do justice to her talents as a writer, director, and creator.
Pinpointing the type of character DeMarco plays is a bit easier. She embraces roles featuring strong, confident, relatable women, with comedy as her go-to genre.
DeMarco, who developed a love for acting at age 9 after seeing “Richard III,” attributes her preference for comedy to her upbringing.
“Growing up with five brothers in a big family, always trying to stand out, I probably found that comedic line to be my ‘in’ in being heard.”Carol Ann DeMarco, Award-Winning Actress
DeMarco’s latest project may be her best yet: an upcoming TV comedy series called Pickleball Is Life: Dill With It! A pilot is scheduled to be released in late 2023, pending the outcome of the Writers Guild of America and Screen Actors Guild strikes.
DeMarco is the creator, executive producer and star of the show, as well as a co-writer with Seth Chitwood and Leigh Ann West. The pilot was filmed in Cape May, New Jersey, where DeMarco currently lives.
Pickleball has steadily entered the entertainment space, running the gamut from tournament coverage to reality shows. DeMarco’s series is described as a “mockumentary” featuring actual pickleball players from Cape May.
The plot centers around three best friends living in the same apartment complex who find themselves in a pickle when their nemesis landlord threatens to raise the rent by 35%. They hatch a plan to save their home and participate in a high-stakes pickleball tournament.
DeMarco plays the role of Frances, a competitive woman who knows nothing about pickleball but attacks that challenge with full force. Camille (Leigh Ann West) is obsessed with work but gets dragged into the tournament and has a difficult time finding balance in her life. Rounding out the trio is Jane (Catherine Curtin), a drinker, dreamer and the life of the party.
The landlord, Tinsley, is played by Johanna Day. Other characters include Bessie (Sharon Lawrence), owner of the local drinking establishment, and Gunther, played by David Lansbury, nephew of legendary actress Angela Lansbury.
Born in Philadelphia, DeMarco took a long hiatus from acting to raise two daughters. She earned a bachelor’s in communications and theatre from the University of Delaware.
Her acting resume includes an appearance in the Lifetime movies “A Party Gone Wrong,” “Monarch Butterfly,” “Don’t Think,” and “Mom.” She also appeared on the 20th season of Law and Order: SVU and Showtime’s The Loudest Voice. She won Best Actress for her role in the stage play “The Ladies.” Her recent short film “Crumb Cake,” where she also served as an executive producer, won seven awards at the Southern Shorts Awards.
DeMarco first took up pickleball during the pandemic and quickly became hooked. The experience got her thinking: Wouldn’t it be wonderful to combine my ever-growing passion for pickleball and my long-standing love of acting? She was inspired by the inclusiveness of the sport, where age and athleticism didn’t matter.
“You put a lot of personalities on a court, and things are bound to explode in humorous ways. That’s how the idea of the mockumentary came to me.”Carol Ann DeMarco
Chitwood, who graduated with an MFA in screenwriting from the American Film Institute Conservatory, is the creative director of Angelwood Pictures. He’s created and produced nine web series including The Girl in the Attic, Testing: The Series, and Family Problems.
After becoming acquainted with DeMarco, Chitwood was intrigued when she approached him about the idea for Pickleball Is Life: Dill With It!
“We talked for an hour on the phone,” Chitwood recalled. “Over time, she invited me on the production as a producer… I’ve always wanted to break into the TV world.”
No television or streaming rights for the show have been secured. The WGA strike was announced three days before the start of production, but since no writers from the association were involved, the crew was given the go-ahead.
The night before the SAG strike occurred, a trailer of the pilot was released. (The production fully supports the SAG-AFTRA/WGA strike and is not filming or making deals with distributors until the strike ends).
DeMarco hopes the series will inspire people to get involved in their community through pickleball the way she did.
“It doesn’t matter if I know the people or not,” she said. “You bring your paddle, put it in line if there’s a line, and you’re welcomed on the court… Wouldn’t it be nice if the world was like that?”
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