David Moretti plays Bob Cratchit in the Chicago-made independent film Scrooge & Marley, which is expected to come out this holiday season.
Moretti is best known as Thom Etherton, the intrepid reporter on here!TV's vampire series The Lair. Moretti led the series for three seasons between 2007 and 2010. His character also crossed over into the network's sister show, Dante's Cove. Most recently, David starred as Andrew, the reluctant groom, in My Big Gay Italian Wedding off-Broadway. Upon returning to Los Angeles from New York, he filmed the romantic comedy Finding Mr. Wright, playing the title character of Pearce Wright. He also made an appearance on the classic soap All My Children.
There is one final "Christmas in July" benefit for Scrooge & Marley, plus an Indiegogo campaign at igg.me/p/124360 . The party is Wed., Aug. 15, at Katerina's, 1920 W. Irving Park Rd. Doors open 6 p.m., show starts 7 p.m., $10 cover donation. Performers include the Jeannie Tanner Quartet featuring Scrooge & Marley film composer Lisa McQueen; Jenny Dragon; and Sarah Marie Young. Richard Knight, Jr. will emcee. There will also be lots of raffle prizes, and food available for purchase.
See www.scroogeandmarleymovie.com for full details on the film, which Windy City Times Publisher Tracy Baim and David Strzepek are executive-producing. The directors are Richard Knight, Jr. (who is also Windy City Times' film critic) and Peter Neville; the writers are Ellen Stoneking, Knight and the late Timothy Imse.
Windy City Times: How was the shoot?
David Moretti: Fantastic! I haven't had this much fun on a shoot in a long time. The days were long but we shot such a great film. I really think everyone is going to love it.
WCT: What were Peter Neville and Richard Knight Jr. like as directors?
David Moretti: They were remarkably apt at directing. I haven't worked with such hands-on actor's directors in forever. They really knew exactly what they wanted to accomplish with each scene and they knew each and every character inside and out. As an actor, I love working with writer/directors because they really "get it."
Sometimes, when directors aren't as personally connected to the script, they focus on only technical aspects of the film and just leave the actors to do their own thing. In that scenario, the performances often wind up being disjointed and inconsistent. That is definitely not the case with Scrooge & Marley. Peter and Richard were on top of every detail and we created a well-paced, well-done piece of cinema.
WCT: How were you introduced to Scrooge & Marley? How were you cast?
David Moretti: Interestingly enough, probably a month or so ago now [in April], one of my friends with a crush on Ronnie Kroell randomly posted an article about his involvement in the film on Facebook. I clicked on the article, read it and noticed there was an email address at the end of the piece. I'm not really one to pass up an opportunity so I literally wrote them an email saying "Hey, I want to be in your movie."
There weren't any characters written for my age/type, but they said if I wanted to, I could make a video of my interpretation of Bob Cratchit, and if it worked, they would consider aging him down. I made my little video with Brian Nolan, my co-star from The Lair, and the rest is history. And a Christmas movie was definitely a bucket-list item, so I was super-excited when I got cast.
WCT: Coming from The Lair, a gay vampire series, what's it like to play the lowly clerk in a gay spin-off of the Christmas Carol?
David Moretti: Refreshing! In The Lair, Thom basically had to look puzzled a lot and then take off his shirt. He was the main storyteller of the series, so he didn't often get to do much outside the box. Even though Cratchit was but a lowly employee of Scrooge, he had a ton of meaty actor levels to hit throughout the film. And as actors we love these kinds of roles ... we get to show the world what we can do! I got to laugh, I got to cry, I got to be the coward and I got to be a father all in the same film. For a minute I felt like the Meryl Streep of gay cinema.
WCT: What did you think of these beloved characters being portrayed as gay after seeing other versions of the story?
David Moretti: I like how it's not the point of the story at all. They just happen to be gay and the same story of redemption is told at the end of the day. Both gays and straights will have their heartstrings tugged by the end of the movie.
WCT: Besides Scrooge, who else did you share scenes with?
David Moretti: I worked with Ronnie Kroell; Scott Duff, who played my husband; Megan Cavanagh, who I was most personally excited to work with as she was the utterly amazing scene stealer in A League of Their Own (Marla Hooch); and Rusty Schwimmer, whose resume is ridiculous. I was really fortunate to work with such talent. I wish I [would have] got to meet Tim [Kazurinsky], who was a Saturday Night Live cast member back in the day! That would be a dream job of mine, and I really just want to pick his brain, but alas we worked different days.
WCT: Do you have a favorite line from the film, yours or another character's?
David Moretti: "Action!" The directors say it before every scene. I love that word.
WCT: What are you doing between now and when Scrooge & Marley premieres?
David Moretti: I'm looking for one more summer movie to get behind so I'm reading a few scripts right now. TV doesn't really get going again until late summer so now is the time to do a movie. Hopefully, I find another script as special as Scrooge & Marley. They don't come around that often.