‘The Lair’s’ David Moretti steps into new role of producer for ‘Scrooge & Marley’
From sketch comedy to indie film to the small screen to the stage, David Moretti, who you may remember as the star of Here!TV’s gay vampire soap opera, The Lair, has added a new title to his ambitious resume.
The 32 year old stunner starred and co-produced Scrooge & Marley, a modern day gay variation of Charles Dickens’ classic story A Christmas Carol. The movie, released last year, was entirely shot in Chicago and stars a cavalcade of LGBT gems including David Pevsner as “Scrooge,” Tim Kazurinsky as “Marley’s Ghost,” Rusty Schwimmer, Megan Cavanagh, Ronnie Kroell, and features multiple Emmy Award-winner Bruce Vilanch as “Fezziwig,” and is narrated by two-time Tony Award-winner Judith Light.
Audiences of all persuasions have embraced this heartfelt adaptation, written by Ellen Stoneking, Richard Knight, Jr. and Timothy Imse. On Dec. 18, the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens will host a special holiday engagement of the 2012 film.
Before stepping into the producer’s chair, the TV and film actor was fresh off of his first appearance on stage in the off-Broadway musical My Big Gay Italian Wedding.
In a day of reality-show instant celebrities, it seems only a select few know the exhilarating feat and determination it takes to be thrown into the proverbial fishbowl of super-stardom. Moretti came out at the beginning of his acting career despite knowing the challenges it would create for him. All the while, he has stayed true to himself and his passion, using his celebrity as a platform to raise awareness for gay rights. When not shooting, he is involved with countless charities and supports numerous causes. He works with APLA, The Trevor Project, The Matthew Shepard Foundation, The Center for Health Justice, and the Task Force.
I caught up with the easy-on-the-eyes entertainer to talk holiday plans, Bruce Villanch and his goal of reaching beyond being type cast – including his upcoming film – Abner, the Invisible Dog.
Erik Caban: I saw that you co-produced Scrooge & Marley. Was this your first time in that role? What was it like?
David Moretti: Yep, that was my first time as a producer. It was great to have a creative say in the process for once and not just act-a-puppet like we tend to do as actors. I definitely plan to do more.
What do you hope audiences will take away from this adaptation?
I hope they will have found their favorite new heartwarming Christmas story that includes an homage to all lifestyles. I love the idea that it can be watched over and over again, with each passing year, and make our audiences smile again and again.
What made you want to play this iconic character?
Well, I can’t say I ever played “Bob Cratchit” before! I was drawn to the idea that he was representative of the stable *new* American family, showing that a gay man can work, love, and raise kids just like everyone else. It was an honor to play this new version of Bob… and I also loved working with the kids.
What was your favorite part of this production?
My favorite part was all the Christmas nostalgia. I felt like I was inside the Christmas movies I grew up with in the 80s. Almost like a time warp.
When did you first see A Christmas Carol? Which version was it? Was there a part that most impacted you?
I believe it was in the late 80s in Providence, RI at the Trinity Rep theater. I just remember be fascinated with the villainous elements of Scrooge. I didn’t fully understand what I was watching but I remember being fascinated by the contrast of good vs. evil… and eventual redemption.
What was it like working alongside LGBT legend Bruce Villanch?
Bruce is a nut and I love him for it. He kept things interesting as you never knew what you were gonna get. My family and I took him out for dinner when the premiere happened, and he was such a sport. He mesmerized my entire family with stories ranging from Hollywood Squares to the Oscars to Barbara Streisand. He’s a legend.
Watching A Christmas Carol has become a tradition for a lot of people. Tell me about a holiday tradition you have.
I watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation probably once a week every December and often into January. Favorite Christmas movie of all time.
Going back a bit, how did you get your start as an actor?
I had been pounding the pavement for a while doing student films and hardcore indies. For instance, everyone seems to do a low budget horror movie in the beginning. Mine was called MANJE, and I was the dumb jock who was sleeping with girls before getting eaten by the monster. It was a grueling night-only shoot in the middle of winter and involved lots of fake blood and laying in ditches… and the producers conveniently forgot to pay all the actors. Ahh, Hollywood.
You’re best known for your role on The Lair & Dante’s Cove. Do you have any plans to return to primetime?
That’s the idea! I’m actually relocating to Atlanta for 2014 to pursue all the programming being shot in the south. There are so many shows I want to be a part of – including The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, and American Horror Story. So this year is the year of the return to the small screen for me.
Which character has been your favorite to portray and why?
So far my favorite character was on stage when I was the lead in My Big Gay Italian Wedding in 2010. There was something electrifying about going into a theater in New York City over the holidays that was truly magical. My character “Andrew” was a reluctant groom, who makes a mistake – or 12 – and eventually gets redemption of his own with his husband-to-be. It was a really nice arc I got to experience in character…. over and over for the entire run. Definitely my favorite acting job of all time.
I read that you’re returning to your comedy roots in the upcoming Abner, the Invisible Dog. Can you tell me more about the film?
It’s just a small cameo in another Fred Olen Ray Production. He was my director on The Lair and he asked if I’d be interested in playing with him for a kids movie. And I’d never turn down a Fred job, so I happily obliged. I played a dumb cop in a very old-school slapstick sequence. I’m excited to see how it turns out myself. I’ve yet to see it!
Who: David Moretti, @_davidmoretti
What: Scrooge & Marley
Where: Miami Beach Botanical Gardens
When: December 18, 7:30pm
To purchase: ScroogeandMarleyMovie.com
Photos courtesy of WindyCityMediaGroup.com and DavidMoretti.com