Image Credit: Getty Images

Even if you don’t recognize Jason Moore, you definitely know his work.

For the past 20 years, the director has moved seamlessly through mediums—theater, television, film—to deliver some iconic moments in pop culture.

Moore’s first major breakthrough came in 2003, when he directed the puppet-friendly original musical Avenue Q, which went on to earn three Tony Awards, including Outstanding Musical. Since then, he has directed Broadway’s adaptations of Steel Magnolias and Shrek, and gave the Goddess Of Pop the musical tribute she’s always deserved with The Cher Show.

On television, Moore’s worked on EverwoodOne Tree Hill, and multiple of episodes of Dawson’s Creek, a few of which featured major moments for landmark gay character Jack McPhee. And, in 2012, he made a major splash in the film world with the surprise blockbuster Pitch Perfect, which forever changed the way we think of acapella groups.

This year, the director debuts his biggest feature yet: The action-heavy rom-com Shotgun Wedding starring legends like Jennifer Lopez and Jennifer Coolidge (among others), now streaming on Amazon. Between its star-studded cast and over-the-top story, Moore hopes his fellow gays will find a lot to love in Shotgun Wedding.

Before the film’s premiere, Queerty invited Moore to guest in our rapid-fire Q&A series, Dishin’ It. In our shotgun conversation, the director tells us all about how the music of Whitney Houston helped him come out, shares how he always brings a gay sensibility to his work, and tells us what we all want to know: What’s it like working with Jennifer Coolidge?

QUEERTY: Is there a piece of media/pop-culture—whether a movie, TV series, book, album, etc…—that you consider a big part of your own coming-out journey? Why does it stand out to you?

MOORE: I think Whitney Houston scored and emboldened my coming out journey, especially her first two albums which came out… um…. were released while I was a teenager. From the album Whitney Houston, the track “All At Once” made me feel longing for a heart connection, “Greatest Love of All” reminded me to love my true self, and “How Will I Know” made me dance, want to direct music videos, and experiment with styling oversized bows!

Two years later, From the Whitney (how quickly she moved to the status of “only one name needed!”), the tracks “I Know Him So Well” reminded me how much I love musicals (it’s from Chess!), “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” amplified my longing (and my loneliness), and “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” picked me up and moved me to the dance floor where I would continue to dance to her music for decades—including this one!

Most of Shotgun Wedding was shot on location in the Dominican Republic. What was the best part of assembling your entire cast and crew to shoot in such a beautiful place?—and what was the worst part?

The best part was probably how all of these people who didn’t’ know each other came to shoot a movie in COVID and couldn’t bring loved ones—so they turned to each other for friendship, support, laughter and they really became a family, like the family on screen. It was incredibly rewarding.

The worst part was that they were enjoying dinners together, having pool parties, and late night group talks…and I was jealous I couldn’t be a part of it since I was working crazy hours. Though I did move in with them the final week and got my dose of fun, hot tub time, and laughs with them.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by J A S O N M O O R E (@jasontmoore)

Among Shotgun Wedding’s very talented and funny cast is the iconic Jennifer Coolidge, who’s been stealing scenes—and our hearts—for years. Do you have any favorite memories of working with her on the film?

She stole my heart in Best In Show and I will also let her steal other vital organs of mine because she’s just that wonderful. My favorite memories are of the way she would make the set really quiet before improvising something that made the whole crew and cast explode with laughter—she’s very in the moment and you can’t take your eyes off of her! I adore her.

@jennifercoolidge Trying out TikTok! 💋👀 @jlo ♬ Jenny from the Block (Bronx Remix – Edit) – Jennifer Lopez

Related: Jennifer Coolidge says she’s slept with “like 200 people”, confirming she may be a gay man after all

Where’s one of the first places/spaces you can remember that made you feel a part of a queer community?

The Theatre, in general. I grew up doing children’s plays at the University of Arkansas. There was always an air of acceptance in this community—though I didn’t understand fully why as a young kid playing a Lost Boy in Peter Pan. At age 16 I played the part of the gay soldier in a University production of Biloxi Blues and it was the first time I ever had someone refer to me as gay—even though it was scripted and I was playing a character (I was not out yet). The theatre made coming out a much less scary process overall, as it was about expression and individuality. In college, the theatre kids were where I fit in… and where I met my first boyfriend.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by J A S O N M O O R E (@jasontmoore)

Since you directed the fantastic jukebox musical The Cher Show, we have to ask: What’s your favorite Cher song and why? Why do you think she’s become (and always will be) such a legendary gay icon?

This is nearly impossible as there are so many good ones, but I think “Song for the Lonely.” It’s about battle-scarred people coming together, finding each other, joining together, and the song has a sense of triumph about it. All of these elements remind me of the queer community.

Cher’s both a planetary star and a relatable funny person… She’s an individual who speaks her mind and tells the truth. She wears the clothes! Also she’s been a part of our lives for six decades and supports us and acknowledges us—even with her own very personal journey—and that feels like family.

Related: This underrated Cher track scandalized with its softcore Andrew Christian-clad music video

Even when your projects (Pitch Perfect, Avenue Q, Sisters, to name a few) aren’t specifically about queer characters and themes, they’ve always attracted LGBTQ+ audiences. How would you say you bring a gay sensibility to your work? What does it mean for you to connect with the LGBTQ+ community in this way?

Those three projects you mentioned are all about finding family—or re-finding it. They also all have protagonists who are outsiders, who are trying to find their purpose, and who are trying to reconnect to—or create—family. Those are all experiences I’ve had as a gay man, but are also experiences that resonate with most people. But those deeper themes are coated in music, laughs… and sequins.

I love queer wit from so many decades and sources, and the queer community learns to observe and tell truths from an early age—and keen observations and truth usually make people laugh. Storytelling and making things for people to watch, laugh at, or connect to makes me feel a part of an audience or a family. If any of those stories make someone feel like they can find their family, their purpose, and take some of the existential dread out of that process by using humor, I want people to feel like they belong. I need to connect and feel like I belong, so I also make them to remind myself that I belong too.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by J A S O N M O O R E (@jasontmoore)

Who is a queer or trans artist/performer/creator that you think is doing really cool work right now? Why are they someone we should all be paying attention to?

Miranda Haymon is a writer, director, performer, and filmmaker (among many other things) who is an artistic associate at the Roundabout Theatre in NYC. They just performed at The Public Theatre’s Under The Radar Festival under their alter ego, bb brecht, in what they call an anarchic, queer, and very Black cabaret series. Miranda is inclusive, challenging, and very funny and we will be seeing lots of great work from them in the future.

Scroll down for more pics from Moore’s Instagram page…

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by J A S O N M O O R E (@jasontmoore)

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by J A S O N M O O R E (@jasontmoore)

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by J A S O N M O O R E (@jasontmoore)

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by J A S O N M O O R E (@jasontmoore)

Don't forget to share:

Help make sure LGBTQ+ stories are being told...

We can't rely on mainstream media to tell our stories. That's why we don't lock Queerty articles behind a paywall. Will you support our mission with a contribution today?

Cancel anytime · Proudly LGBTQ+ owned and operated