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.
Can you tell us about the Christmas movie A Gingerbread Romance?
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.
Is this the first Christmas movie that you have directed?
Yes it is. I’ve made thrillers, comedies, westerns – and now finally a Christmas movie!
How does it feel having the film premiered on Hallmark over Christmas?
It feels great. Nobody does Christmas better than Hallmark!
What was it like on set, when did production start and how long did it take to film?
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.
Is there anything you can tell us about lead characters Taylor Scott and Adam Dale?
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 😀.
Will there be a way of watching the film in the UK/overseas?
The short answer is yes, but I’m not sure how – so please keep a look out for it!
You’ve acted and directed for many years, how different is it being in front of the camera 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.
📷 : Kailey Schwerman
What’s 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? 😀
Had you ever thought about a career other than 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.
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!
Do you know when work will start on Kenzo?
We are in soft prep. Hopefully there will be solid dates and news soon.
What are your music plans?
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!
Are you able to say what you’ll be working on in 2019?
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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