Former sheriff Hackel makes movie, plays deputy

Ursula Watson
The Detroit News

Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel will get a chance to show off his acting chops in a new independent film being made in Michigan.

Hackel, a former sheriff, will stick close to his roots when he plays a deputy in "Urban Myths." The film is being made by a former Macomb County resident he met more than 20 years ago when she took part in a Sheriff's Office program for youngsters interested in police work.

Kim Marie, founder of Mirror Dog Productions, decided she'd rather study filmmaking than law enforcement. But before she left for California, she and Hackel joked that if she ever made a move, he'd be in it.

"When I said goodbye, he said, 'When you do your first film, keep a role open for me,' " Marie said.

The movie, slated for a 2015 fall debut, is about a group of high school seniors on a spring break camping trip investigating myths taught to them by their teacher. The teens begin to disappear after they stumble on a Native American burial ground.

"It is a film with a message, but it was written in an entertaining way by taking myths and legends from throughout the state of Michigan and combining them with true events and things that people go through in daily life," Marie said.

The moral center of the film is a Cherokee legend about how the battle between right and wrong is like two wolves fighting within a person's soul, she said. One wolf is good, one is bad. And each person can choose which one to feed.

"Urban Myths" represents Marie's first effort at writing, producing and directing a feature film. She hopes to screen it at film festivals. She is funding it herself and is also seeking donations through the fundraising website

Hackel will play Deputy Matthews in "Urban Myths."

Marie said the role is a great fit for Hackel, who served as Macomb County sheriff for 10 years before being elected as the county's first executive in November 2010.

"The officer in the film is passionate about preserving the environment and protecting the community," Marie said. "I think this is also true about Mark."

Marie first met Hackel when she joined the Macomb Sheriff Office's Explorer program, which provides youths with an understanding of the law.

When she returned to Michigan years later, she contacted Hackel about playing Deputy Matthews in her film.

Hackel said asked to see the script and soon agreed to take the part.

"I told her, 'I don't have any experience in acting, but I am not afraid of the camera,' " Hackel said. "It was a small part, but it took a lot of time and was a very interesting. It was a unique opportunity, so how do you say no to that?"

The 90-minute film also stars Lou Ferrigno Jr. as Mr. Mandl, a high school teacher. The actor is the son of bodybuilder turned actor Lou Ferrigno, known for his role on the CBS TV series "The Incredible Hulk."

Marie's Mirror Dog Productions also will be casting for another scene to be shot in spring. She said she also plans to reach out to local businesses and offer opportunities to sponsor and partner in the creation of "Urban Myths."

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To donate

"Urban Myth's" crowd-funding campaign is on Indiegogo, to make a donation visit For a sneak peak at the film, go to YouTube