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Chicago To Host Filming Of LGBT Take On ‘A Christmas Carol’

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago will be the site for the filming of a new independent holiday movie, which will take a new look at Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” from a gay perspective.

A news release from the Windy City Media Group last week announced that the movie, called “Scrooge & Marley,” will be shot in Chicago in May. The release doesn’t divulge too many details about the plot, except that the “Christmas Carol” story will be “recounted from a gay sensibility, with heart, comedy and music.”

A promotional YouTube video posted on the IndieGoGo fundraising site points out that there have been all manner of representations of Ebenezer Scrooges, from “silent Scrooges” and “lady Scrooges” to “CGI Scrooges” and “doggie Scrooges,” but, “there has never been a gay Scrooge, until now.”

Some actors have already tentatively signed onto the project, according to the release. Among them are Megan Cavanagh – who played Marla Hooch “A League of Their Own” and Broomhilde in Mel Brooks’ “Robin Hood: Men in Tights;” Rusty Schwimmer, best known as Barbara Ludzinski in “The Guardian;” fashion model Ronnie Kroell, best known for his appearance in the first season of Bravo’s “Make Me a Supermodel,” and Chicago vocalist Becca Kaufman.

The film was written by Richard Knight Jr., the movie critic for the Windy City Times, who has also written for the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Reader. Joining Knight in writing the movie were Annoyance Theatre founding member Ellen Stoneking, and writer Tim Imse, who died of cancer soon after the screenplay was completed last year.

Knight will direct the movie, along with director of photography Peter Neville. Windy City Media Group executive editor Tracy Baim is at the help as executive producer, along with promotions expert David Strzepek.

“It’s our holiday wish to create a Christmas movie that our people – the LGBT community – can embrace and love,” Knight said in the promotional video.

“And we hope that movie fans of all persuasions will love it too,” Neville said in the video.

The filmmakers emphasize in the video that they are not going for a John Waters-style romp.

“With ‘Scrooge & Marley,’ it’s our intention to create an old-fashioned and heartfelt, rather than camp or salacious, kind of movie,” Knight said in the video. The movie will be a traditional holiday story, but told from an LGBT perspective, the filmmakers said in the clip.

More roles will be cast in March, the release said.

Reel Chicago says the filmmakers hope to be done before the NATO/G8 summits on May 19-21. The publication describes “Scrooge & Marley” as “an ambitious undertaking for the scale of production, with cabaret numbers, ’70s flashbacks, and seasonal changes.”

The idea of an LGBT take on “A Christmas Carol” is new to the big screen, but it has been explored before onstage. Around Christmas in 2010, Knightsbridge Theatre in Los Angeles mounted a production called “A Scrooge & Marley Christmas Carol,” which, in the words of director Rene Guerrero, presented Scrooge as “an empty, lonely, loveless, closeted gay man who has been so repressed that he has lost his ability to give and receive love.”

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