This amusing new film, which plays 7 p.m. Dec. 13 at Ritz East, 125 S. Second St., features out actors in many of the leading roles. David Pevsner is Scrooge, the miserly owner of a nightclub he “stole” years ago from his savior, Fezziwig (Bruce Vilanch). This action also cost him his relationship with Bill (Christopher Allen). Now, running his club with an iron fist, he fires Randy (Ronnie Kroell) and makes life hell for his manager Bob Cratchit (David Moretti). With visits from the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future, will Scrooge come to see the error of his ways?
PGN spoke with “Scrooge & Marley” co-star and co-producer Moretti about his Christmases past, present and future, and whether he has been naughty or nice this year.
PGN: Why make a gay version of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol?”
DM: I feel like we gays needed a Christmas movie to call our own. It was a fun idea to put a rainbow-colored spin on “A Christmas Carol.” Making a Christmas movie has been on my bucket list since seeing “Christmas Vacation” as a kid. And gays love the holidays. We’re a festive bunch!
PGN: What do you remember from your Christmases pasts?
DM: I got thousands and thousands of presents, either because I’m an only child or because my parents were divorced.
PGN: What were some of your favorites?
DM: I loved building things, like G.I. Joe base stations. I liked puzzles, but I also liked action figures where you had to create things.
PGN: What else do you remember about the holidays?
DM: Christmas in my house had lots of loud screaming in Italian. Eighteen parties in a span of three hours. Lots of fish, curse words and praising Jesus.
PGN: What are your current celebrations like?
DM: It changes every year. I’m not sure what I’m doing yet this year. My whole family is meeting me in Chicago for the premiere of “Scrooge & Marley.” That may be our Christmas this year. I usually go back and forth to Rhode Island and/or Ohio. Ohio is calm — dinner with my mom and lots of mother/son time. If I am at home with Dad, all the Italians live there, so it is one party after another all over the state, which is the size of a city. Sometimes I stay in Los Angeles and have Christmas with friends.
PGN: What do you hope for Christmases in the future?
DM: In the film, I play Bob Cratchit, a happily married dad with a family of orphans. He’s a pillar of stability. I want that: a family, nice traditional Christmas with kids around. I think I want kids. I want the relationship, the dog, the white-picket fence in suburbia. Though it’s odd for an actor to say that — but Bob’s life is ideally what I want.
PGN: Bob has a pretty mean boss in Scrooge. What can you say about Scrooge’s situation? How do you relate?
DM: It’s a classic story of redemption. Scrooge has an unscrupulous demeanor towards life. I don’t relate to Scrooge, but I do relate to Cratchit. The take-home is finding redemption and making amends.
PGN: Speaking of making amends, what did you do this year that was naughty?
DM: [Laughs.] Um, naughty ... I can’t say that.
PGN: Off the record you can ...
DM: I don’t like to think I’ve been naughty. I will confess I’ve had many cheat days. I’ve developed a thing for chocolate-covered pretzels. I cannot walk by them in the supermarket without throwing them in the basket. I live dangerously, what can I say?
PGN: OK, smartass, what did you do that was nice?
DM: I attended the gay/lesbian elderly housing benefit in L.A. this year. I plan to get more involved with that. I also started paying one of my mom’s bills just to take a little load off her back and show her how much I care about her and appreciate all she’s done for me in my life.
PGN: “Scrooge & Marley” is a musical. While you don’t get to sing, are you a caroler?
DM: No! If you read the reviews of [my performance in] “My Big Gay Italian Wedding” in New York, you’d know that. I just started learning to sing better.
PGN: Speaking of song, do you think Christmas is “like a Broadway musical” as one of the songs in “Scrooge & Marley” goes? Do you find the holiday campy, or is it more solemn for you?
DM: Christmas isn’t somber or campy for me, it’s just in the middle: a beautiful holiday to get family and friends together. I love this whole season. Snuggle weather, a chill in the air, lighting a fire, appreciating everyone. I like what Christmas is all about. Granted, people go overboard with decorations, and that loses sight of the holiday, but I celebrate Christmas telling everyone I appreciate them.
PGN: Do you like to cook a big meal, or just eat?
DM: I am the eater who brings something that comes in a bottle. I can only cook well for me. I’m good at grilling. I’m really good at steaming vegetables. Turkey and sides? I tried one year to make a Greek version of spaghetti squash. My guests tried to eat it and couldn’t.
PGN: Sounds regrettable. The theme of “Scrooge & Marley” is about regrets and change — do you have regrets from how you treated people in the past?
DM: The only regret I have — and I’d like to say I don’t believe in regret — is from when I first came out. I didn’t acknowledge myself properly. I wasn’t comfortable with myself, so I wasn’t myself. I’d lie to people and deny my identity. I was leading a very superficial life and I created a character I wanted to be and not who I was. A lot of people saw through that, but it’s a process for everyone. I was younger and lost some friends from that, and I regret not having those people in my life. But I’ve done a 180 and I have more friends now. I’m confident, secure and happy.
PGN: Is there anything you want to change, perhaps in the New Year?
DM: I would give myself more patience, in all aspects of life — but especially in the love department. I can sometimes rush into things as I chase my dream of this über-romantic, perfect, problem-less partnership, and it’s invariably with the wrong guy. Things start out great in the honeymoon phase, but then as I peel the layers of the onion and get to the core, I generally realize I fell for show over substance. That’s oftentimes the L.A. way, unfortunately. And it’s my fault too. For some reason, I’m attracted to d-bags and push good people away.
PGN: What do you think others might want to change in you?
DM: My mom wishes I was a banker rather than an actor, because she’d prefer not to see me in horror films where my face is eaten off.
PGN: Well “Scrooge & Marley” isn’t a horror film, so she’ll probably enjoy it. Last question: What do you wish for this Christmas?
DM: I’d like to be on a series. I would love stability in my professional life. When that’s not stable, it becomes your priority, and that’s tough for a relationship. The acting world is a profession where you have to focus your time on yourself. I want an L.A.-based show so I can get the house, the picket fence and the family time.