Like most skilled trial lawyers, Houston’s Mark Lanier knows how to put on a show in the courtroom. Now he has done it for real — or as real as it gets on the silver screen — playing a lawyer named Mark Lanier in a feature film loosely based on one of his cases. Lanier has a three-scene role in “Puncture,” which had its premiere April 21 at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. "Puncture" is the story of antitrust litigation filed over hospital purchasing of syringes designed to protect health-care workers from getting pricked by needles. The movie, filmed in Houston in 2010 at locations including Lanier’s house, is based on a script written in 2005 and 2006 by Houston lawyer Paul Danziger (pictured, left). In the movie, Lanier plays a lawyer named Mark Lanier who is brought in to help the lawyers handling the suit. In reality, “The movie has got some strong dissimilarities with the real case,” Lanier says. “It was certainly hyped up for Hollywood.” Lanier says the acting was fun. “I was asked to be a trial lawyer. It’s not really acting if you are playing yourself. I wasn’t asked to be some country singer from the 1930s,” he says. He says he appears in two scenes filmed on the steps of the Harris County Civil Courthouse and one in a conference room meant to be a settlement conference. He wore his own “1990s trial suit and tie” for the filming. Danziger says he wrote “Puncture” in part to bring attention to the dangers health-care workers face from accidental needle pricks and also to tell the story of his former partner, Michael Weiss. In the movie, Weiss, played by actor Chris Evans (who will star as Captain America this summer in the feature film "Captain America: The First Avenger"), is the lead plaintiff’s attorney on the litigation. (Evans is pictured in the photo on the right, above, flanked by Mark and Becky Lanier.) Weiss is deceased, and Danziger is now a partner in Danziger & De Llano in Houston. Lanier and Danziger, who both attended the film festival premier, say they enjoyed the movie. Danziger says the film makes Houston look good and it’s a “very gripping movie, a very interesting movie.” So have Danziger and Lanier found new careers as a scriptwriter and actor, respectively? Not hardly, they say. Movie producers and directors Adam and Mark Kassen are seeking a distribution contract, says Dani Weinstein, a press contact at ID-PR in New York City.
-- Brenda Sapino Jeffreys