Scrooge & Marley is a modern-day variation on Charles Dickens’ classic story of the holidays, A Christmas Carol. Recounted from a gay sensibility, with heart, comedy and music, the magic of Dickens’ timeless tale of a man’s redemption at the holidays-thanks to the help of three ghostly spirits-comes alive from a fresh perspective that will appeal to audiences of every persuasion.
Scrooge & Marley, an independent film, will be shot in Chicago May 2012. The film is based on an original script by Ellen Stoneking, Richard Knight, Jr. and the late Tim Imse. It will be directed by Knight and Peter Neville.
Several actors are already tentatively signed to the project, including: Megan Cavanagh (A League of Their Own, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Exes and Ohs); Rusty Schwimmer (North Country, Perfect Storm, The Surrogate, Drop Dead Diva, Bones, Louie); Ronnie Kroell (Bravo’s Make Me a Super Model, Eating Out-Drama Camp and Into the Lion’s Den); and Becca Kaufman, a renowned Chicago-area vocalist.
Executive producers of the film are Tracy Baim (Hannah Free) and David Strzepek (Foodgasm), who are joined by several co-producers (Knight, Neville, Stoneking, Kroell and Etta Worthington) and experienced crew. Line producer is Thavary Krouch.
The film is being financed by investors, and is also launching an Indie GoGo campaign this week, under the name “Scrooge & Marley film.” They hope to raise $15,000 by April 4, to add to the investor funding.
Legal counsel for the production is Joseph L. Voss from Clark Hill PLC.
The idea for a gay-themed holiday film began to germinate in Knight’s mind after seeing out writer-director Thomas Bezucha’s 2006 movie The Family Stone. “This was the first movie that I could recall that not only featured gay characters as central to the holiday family traditions celebrated in the film, but also seamlessly integrated them. When it was over I wanted to see an entire movie viewed from our perspective. But there was none to be found.”
Years later, when Knight and friend screenwriter Ellen Stoneking (founding member of the Annoyance Theatre) and another friend, Tim Imse, formed a writing trio, he suggested the idea to Stoneking, who was looking for a new subject matter. Further, Dickens’ A Christmas Carol seemed a perfect template for the project and Stoneking, following an outline that followed the tale, as seen from a queer vantage point, was off and running. Stoneking and Knight, who were given tangential aid by Imse, quickly discerned that a straight-ahead, heartfelt approach rather than a camp or salacious style was essential to their recasting of the story. Knight’s original, haunting holiday ballad “Christmas Eve Is Coming Soon,” which will be the musical theme of the picture, was instrumental in helping set the mood for the work.
As Stoneking finished the initial drafts, however, the trio was struck by tragedy: Imse had been diagnosed with a terminal disease from which he succumbed soon after the screenplay was completed. Months later, Stoneking and Knight returned to polish Scrooge & Marley after resolving that the finished film would be dedicated to their fallen creative comrade.
“I think movie fans of all types will love Scrooge & Marley-especially those with a soft spot for good old-fashioned Christmas movies like myself,” Knight said. But the completed film will also be the realization of a long-held dream. “At last, there will be a holiday movie that gay people can call their own-something that we can return to year after year.”