New England Fan Fest 7 brought legends to Warwick, RI
June 18, 2019
The BIGGEST show in the smallest state!
November 8, 2019
Exclusive: Producer David Gere
Joseph Bruen: Let's start from the beginning David. Tell us about your childhood and what you did for fun growing up.
David Gere: I sort of had the classic 80's childhood. A lot of great memories and experiences. I grew up in what was back then was a more rural version Cromwell, Connecticut. My neighborhood was a playground. Woods, BMX bikes, basketball hoop in the driveway. Posters of Michael Jordan, Hulk Hogan and Cindy Crawford on my bedroom walls! I was a serious student growing up, both of my parents were educators in the local school system, so that was a priority. I have a national record of having never missed a day of public school from Grade 1-12. I guess I was always a workaholic or just didn't want to sit still. Sports became a big part of my life, and to this day I've hung onto a couple of track records at my high school. And of course I spent a few summers chasing girls around town before we had texting!
Joseph Bruen: You studied at Providence college for film. How was your experience there?
David Gere: I really found myself at PC. I started out pre-law. I randomly took a film class, and the professor, Ken Gumbert pulled me aside after I had written a fairly strong paper on 'The Catholic Imagination of Four Filmmakers: Ford, Capra, Coppola and Scorsese' and asked me if I would be interested in helping him develop the new Film Studies curriculum at PC. He quickly introduced me to Peter Farrelly, the famed comedy director who did 'Dumb And Dumber' 'There's Something About Mary' and many other movies with his brother. Peter was a PC alum. I met those guys, did some internship work on set, next thing I knew, I had some bit parts in major films. That was the start. Had I not taken that film class, I probably would not be here talking to you about my career.
Joseph Bruen: When was it decided that film was what you were going to be involved in?
David Gere: I had actually signed a modeling contract with NEXT in NYC. I had some great experiences but knew it wasn't right for me. I wanted to be in movies. In 1996 I worked on my first feature film set in Providence, 'Code Of Ethics.' Shortly after that I was cast in an Alec Baldwin film called 'Outside Providence.' I also did stunts on that set, it all started around that time when I was still in college.
Joseph Bruen: Were you always a fan of pro wrestling? You are now a pro wrestling manager known as DG Haven. Tell us all about your character and what you're all about.
David Gere: I was always a big pro wrestling fan since the mid 80s. Of course I watched the then WWF brand, but I enjoyed the characters and story lines more from AWA, NWA and World Class Championship Wrestling. I would never have imagined that I would be involved at all with pro wrestling. A few years ago, I began portraying DG Haven, the villainous heel manager at Tommy Dreamer's 'House Of Hardcore' and I am currently on the roster. I take it very seriously, I put the time in to be trained properly, and I am very active on the independent wrestling scene, having performed all over North America. DG Haven is a throwback to the old school wrestling managers with an updated, edgy twist. The character is intense and almost always mixes it up in the action of the match. I use a flask during the matches. I have taken some pretty big bumps. Most recently I took ROH star Donovan Dijak's finisher at a Blitzkrieg Pro show which Dreamer actually headlined. It was Tommy's idea. I want to give everything I can to the match because the other guys out there go so hard. I respect that so much. So Haven certainly is a physical performer in addition to being strong on the mic, riling up the crown.
Joseph Bruen: You have done a lot of work with HOH (House of Hardcore). Tell us about your experiences there and what it's like working for Tommy Dreamer.
David Gere: Tommy is one of the most respected guys in the business. And he is a masterful promoter, teacher and a great friend. It's amazing to watch him in the back setting up the show, going over matches with the younger talent, and pushing and motivating everyone. The crowds, especially at the 2300 Arena in Philly are truly intense. There's not really anything else like it in pro wrestling right now. It's incredibly raw yet the scope of it is really well constructed. We were on cable for FightNet TV. I am very fortunate that I am part of the roster at HOH.
Joseph Bruen: Who have you managed in the wrestling world so far and which promotions have you worked for?
David Gere: I've managed Carlito and newcomer Alex Reynolds at HOH, Donovan Dijak at Blitzkrieg Pro and XWA, Sean Burke at BTW against Kevin Nash which was a thrilling experience. Managing Abyss at WOH in a 'Monster's Ball Match' was so wild when the tables and thumbtacks came out! I've also worked closely with Josef Von Schmidt at his PWA promotion. I briefly held the 'Ox Baker Old School Championship.' Ox was a mentor to both JVS and I. I've done best storyline work at PWA. I am grateful that Pete has given me a big opportunity there. The feud I had managing multiple wrestlers against Bull Dred chasing down that title was memorable. Pro Wrestling Illustrated even covered it in their magazine. I managed the Puerto Rican legend, El Leon Apolo during that time. He is my favorite guy to work with. I recently cast Apolo and Pete in 'House Rules,' an action/thriller I produced.
Joseph Bruen: Let`s go back just a bit to your pro wrestling debut. Give us the where, when and everything in between including how it came about.
David Gere: I debuted at 'House Of Hardcore 3' in Poughkeepsie, NY on November 9th, 2013. Tommy Dreamer and I had been working together as I had cast him in a sci-fi thriller 'Sensory Perception' I was producing. We hadn't talked much on wrestling. I attended the first few HOH events to show support. He called me a few days before the third show and said, "I need a solid heel manager, can you do it." I assumed he wanted me to cast someone, maybe an outrageous actor, that's what I do in movie world as a producer - cast stuff. He then told me, "I want it to be you." I thought he was joking. But he wasn't. It took us a few days of back and forth to come up with the name and gimmick. He told me to study Jimmy Hart and Bobby Heenan on YouTube. I did. I pitched him my name as 'David Woodhaven,' a play on my production company. In classic Dreamer delivery, he said "I hate that, you are DG Haven." I still laugh when I think about it, because it was sort of the same name. It is a huge honor to have this legend of wrestling ask me to join his promotion and work on my character with me. I'm so grateful that it all happened. I was scared out of my mind when I first went down the ramp that night to the ring. The crowd was insanely hot. I could feel their shouts and beer spew on my back. I managed 'King Danza' as part of a crazy battle royal. I listened to, and did everything Tommy showed me. It was the most thrilling thing I have ever done. My heart was racing the whole time. I was instantly hooked.
Joseph Bruen: What was your first experience with film? Whether it be a short or just messing around, fill us in on how that began.
David Gere: Wow, it seems so long ago now. I had a best friend named Nick. We grew up watching the great movies of early 90s and both wanted to act. We would do scenes back and forth from our favorite films like 'Goodfellas.' In high school we began writing some short film scripts and shot something on a lousy VHS camcorder one summer. It was really awful, some crazy mashup of 'Rambo' with Batman type villains! Our props were things like Super Soaker water guns, cheesy Halloween masks and firecrackers. We used my buddy Matt's pool for the 'ocean scenes.' It was really that bad! I later went on to produce a decent short film during my senior year at PC called 'The Cross.' It won an award. So I guess I was batting .500 by that point.
Joseph Bruen: Woodhaven Media, when did it start and what was your involvement?
David Gere: Back then known as Woodhaven Productions. By 2010 they began pre production on a film called 'Loosies.' Big cast in that one and ironically the lead was Peter Facinelli from the 'Twilight' franchise. I knew Peter previously from a business venture we got together on. I bugged the hell out of Tommy DeNucci to get me formally involved with Chad Verdi and the company. Peter also helped me land a bit part in the movie. It's a great film, and the production was first class. I was impressed by both Tommy and Chad. They invited me onboard a film called 'Self Storage' as an Executive Producer. I am truly grateful I met these guys. Now Tommy and I run Woodhaven Media and Chad has Verdi Productions. We've all had a huge run together, and there is so much coming up.
Joseph Bruen: How did you first meet Tommy Denucci and what is your relationship to him in terms of the film industry?
David Gere: I met Tom about ten years ago. We both had interned at different times for a well established East Coast director. The guy sort of sold both of us short. We were both hungry to make it in the business. Tom and I are like brothers. We are competitive, sometimes even with each other. He had partnered up with Chad Verdi and brought me in a few years after they started Woodhaven. Chad has done so much for the both of us. I can't really talk on Tommy and I without mentioning Chad. The guy can get into any room. He is Martin Scorsese's producing partner on multiple films. Last year Chad produced 'Bleed For This,' with Scorsese as the EP, Tommy had a great role, and I was heavily involved with casting. That really shows you how we work. If I hadn't gotten close to Tommy, it probably wouldn't have happened that way. I talk to him daily, we have big plans and a 'No Surrender' attitude about the entertainment business. I couldn't have better partners - these guys are my close friends too, we laugh like crazy at some of the outrageous stuff that has happened along the way.
Joseph Bruen: Let's talk about your experience working on the film Altitude starring Dolph Lundgren and UFC legend Chuck Liddell. What was that film all about and how were they to work with?
David Gere: Two years ago I got a Facebook inbox message from movie producer Richard Switzer. He introduced himself and asked if he could call me. I had just been cast opposite Jamie Kennedy in 'Buddy Hutchins' by the film's director, Jared Cohn out of LA. So Richard called me, I assumed him to be maybe my age, the guy had a pretty deep voice and talked like a pro on the phone. At the end of the call he said, "Hey DG, you do know that I'm only 18, right? Kinda want to meet some girls on the set in LA, what do you think!" I thought to myself what's going on here, he's a kid? Well it turns out Richard had just been chronicled on Entertainment Tonight as the youngest producer in Hollywood. He's the real deal. A young master at packaging and distributing films. We have partnered on a bunch of movies including family films, 'Arlo The Burping Pig' and 'Christmas All Over Again' and the action films include 'Blue Line' 'The Getter' and 'Altitude.' That one is about a terrorist takeover on an airplane and stars Dolph Lundgren, Denise Richards and Chuck Liddell. Yeah, Dolph and Chuck were pretty cool on set. I hope to work with them both again. I brought Chuck Zito to the set a few times, seeing them hangout was like watching a deleted scene from 'The Expendables.' I would bet on those guys in a bar fight every time!