A pair of related events in October gave Marc Moss a clear reminder, and a gratifying confirmation, that moving back to Virginia Beach from Los Angeles two years ago was one of the best decisions of his life.
Moss is a screenwriter, a successful, Hollywood (now Virginia Beach) screenwriter. A wordsmith and visual creator whose work can be heard and seen in such movies as Kiss the Girls, Runaway Jury and Along Came a Spider, Moss is one of the few people who has been able to make a successful and lengthy career in the finicky and demanding writing end of the entertainment industry.
His most recent work, for which the Norfolk Academy grad received star billing, was as the screenwriter (with Kerry Williamson) for the movie Alex Cross, based on a James Patterson novel. Starring Tyler Perry as Detective Alex Cross (taking over the character already established by Morgan Freeman), the film also features Edward Burns, Matthew Fox, Jean Reno, Rachel Nichols and Cicely Tyson.
On October 15, Moss traversed the red carpet at the Hollywood premier of Alex Cross, along with his wife Stacie, daughter Hannah, 21, sons Tom and Max, both 17, and other close family members.
“Premieres are always kind of fun because you’re celebrating something that’s so hard to accomplish. You’re getting a movie made, regardless of all the obstacles in your way,” Moss says.
“But I’ve been around a while and I’ve become cynical of the industry. What made the premiere different and much more enjoyable for me this time was being able to bring the kids along. They were younger when those other movies came out and we didn’t have the opportunity to take them. So this was their first one and they had a blast. It was a memory they’ll have forever.”
Photos taken at the event show a beaming Moss family, accompanied by Moss’ sister Amy Levy and her husband Kirk, and Moss’ parents, Marcia and Burton Moss, posing with director Rob Cohen, stars Tyler Perry, Edward Burns and in one photo, a surprise guest, Olympian athlete Oscar Pistorious.
“The boys especially liked meeting Oscar. Everything else was good, but that, to them, was great,” Moss says.
Cut to less than a week later, when Moss and his family returned home for the East Coast Premiere of Alex Cross at the Beach Bistro on Laskin Road in Virginia Beach.
“The theater was filled with friends and family. To me, it was far more memorable and far more amazing than the Hollywood premiere; to be in a movie theater and look around and realize, ‘Hey, I know everyone here,’ it was just great,” Moss says. “We would never be able to sell out a 120-seat theater in L.A., not even after living there for over 20 years.”
After 21 years in California, and work on eight well-known films under his belt, credited and uncredited (an outstanding record for a writer Moss says), he and Stacie decided to move back to Virginia. Their roots were firmly established here—both are locals with large extended families, and each summer they would bring the children out for lengthy visits.
“I’ve thought a lot about why we finally decided to move back,” says Moss. “It’s just nicer here. The people are nicer. The community is nicer. L.A. is kind of going down the tubes; it’s kind of a messed up place and we were lucky in that we were able to raise three great kids in that huge city.
“The kids have acclimated better than we thought. Hannah’s at college at JMU and Tom and Max are seniors at Norfolk Academy. From the first day of school, the boys knew people in their classes and they have eight cousins who go to school there. They’re still trying to figure out who all of their cousins are!”
Living outside of Hollywood has not hindered Moss’ film work. Currently, he’s doing a “ghost” rewrite of a Sylvester Stallone produced and written film called Homefront. Scheduled for release in 2013, the movie stars Jason Statham, James Franco, Winona Ryder and Kate Bosworth.
by Laine M. Rutherford