Having worked in film and TV for a number of years as an actor, producer and director, Richard Gabai is preparing for the release of his most recent directorial project A Gingerbread Romance. The lead roles, Taylor and Adam, are played by Tia Mowry and English actor Duane Henry respectively and the movie will be premiering on the Hallmark Channel in the US next week. Answering our questions, Richard talks about his upcoming release, the lead characters in the film and what it was like to be part of the production.
You have directed the new Christmas film A Gingerbread Romance, which stars Tia Mowry and Duane Henry, can you tell us about the film and the lead characters Taylor Scott and Adam Dale?
I’m so excited about this movie! Set in Philadelphia, it tells the story of a young architect, Taylor, played by the stunning and talented Tia Mowry. With Christmas just weeks away, the architecture firm Taylor works for enters her in a contest in which teams will design and build life-sized gingerbread houses. The thing is, she’ll need the help of a baker, and that’s where Duane Henry’s character Adam comes in. It’s a fun, romantic, and sincerely touching story.
Taylor is a very talented and ambitious architect, who grew up travelling the world as the child of an international diplomat. Now constantly on the go for work, she’s never really had a city to call home. Adam is an amazing baker and the single dad of an adorable little girl. The way these two characters affect each other’s lives is where the magic happens 😀.
What was it like on set of the film and how long were you working on the production?
It felt like I was working at a Christmas fair that had a giant gingerbread house competition! Really it did – Christmas treats and decorations were everywhere. We started shooting the film in mid-September and wrapped production October 16th, so when the movie premieres on the Hallmark Channel on December 16th, it will be exactly eight weeks after we finished production.
With A Gingerbread Romance premiering in America next week, how does it feel having it released through Hallmark and is this the first Christmas film that you have directed?
It feels great. Nobody does Christmas better than Hallmark! Yes, it is my first. I’ve made thrillers, comedies, westerns – and now finally a Christmas movie!
Do you know if the film will have a release in the UK and overseas?
The short answer is yes, but I’m not sure how – so please keep a look out for it!
You are involved with the upcoming project Kenzo, when will work start on this?
We are in soft prep. Hopefully there will be solid dates and news soon.
Having also worked as an actor, how different do you find the experience of being in front of the camera opposed to behind?
Well, when I’m behind the camera I don’t have to worry about how I look! Seriously though, early on I was interested in working on both sides of the camera, and I think the two crafts complement each other. I love actors and working with them to develop their characters, and I know first-hand what they are going through. I love it when I get to work as an actor, but directing is simply the best job I could have. I love working with all of the other artists on the team. Making a movie is really the most collaborative of arts.
What advice would you give actors considering becoming a producer or a director?
I would tell them to do it. My friends and I starred in the first several features I directed – it was the best!
What would you say is the best aspect of your career?
Honestly, it’s the fact that I have one. I’m blessed to make a living in what just might be the most competitive business out there. Everyone wants to direct, right? 😀
We understand you also work in music, can you tell us about this?
I recorded an album last year called Double Life that is streaming on all of the services. I’m proud of it, so please check it out. We recorded the album in legendary guitarist and singer Glen Campbell’s studio with his son, the brilliant Cal Campbell, engineering and producing with me. I’m hoping to find the time to tour or at least play some local clubs very soon!
Had you ever thought about pursuing a career not in the entertainment industry?
I didn’t, but my mother did 😀. I don’t think she’d mind if I told her I was going to law school tomorrow. Kidding aside, my family has been very supportive, and while I may have thought of doing other things during the slow periods, I was never serious about it. Lucky me to have been making a living for all of these years directing, producing, acting, and playing my songs.
Do you have any plans coming up in 2019 that you can share?
Well, the good news is 2019 is shaping up to be one of my busiest years yet! I’m too superstitious to get specific, but I remain the luckiest guy I know!
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