IAR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Shemar Moore Talks 'The Bounce Back,' Crowdfunding, 'Justice League: War' and 'Criminal Minds'

Tuesday, 10 September 2013 12:52 Written by  iamrogue
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 IAR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Shemar Moore Talks 'The Bounce Back,' Crowdfunding, 'Justice League: War' and 'Criminal Minds'

Shemar Moore isn't interested in resting on his laurels.

Thanks to his role as Derek Morgan on the ABC series Criminal Minds, the former The Young and the Restless star has earned legions of new fans over the previous eight seasons. 

As the series enters its ninth season, though, Moore isn't just keeping an eye on the future, he's actively building towards it.  Moore is returning to features for this first time since 2005's Diary of a Mad Black Woman with his crowdfunded passion project The Bounce Back.  He's also jumping into the animation game as the voice of Cyborg in the upcoming DC Universe movie Justice League: War.

Moore is spearheading The Bounce Back as both star and executive producer.  The film centers Matthew Taylor, who pens a bestselling book an creates a whole philosophy as means of self-defense following the death of his first love.  In order to continue hiding his heartbreak, Taylor mounts a year-long speaking tour espousing the benefits of his system, which keeps him from experiencing such vulnerability ever again.  When he meets the beautiful and unpredictable Kristin Moreland, however, Tyler must renounce his book and his philosophy for a second chance at love.

In an IAR-exclusive interview with Managing Editor Jami Philbrick, Shemar Moore recently shared his enthusiasm for The Bounce Back, the process of using social media to secure funding for the romantic comedy-drama, and the project's current status.  He also joining the DC Universe as the voice of Cyborg in Justice League: War, and his fervent hope to play the superhero in a live-action Justice League movie.

The Bounce Back came about because Moore was looking ahead, past the conclusion of his hit television series. "I sat with my team and they just asked me 'Okay, what kind of projects?' because you know Criminal Minds has been great and I’m in my ninth season, but you know we’re probably going do season nine and hopefully last season ten. I know, for me, season ten will be the end of it for me, so I’m looking at life after Criminal Minds. So we just sat and talked about what kind of projects I’d like to do," he said.

"So we just said, 'Let’s just have fun with a story about love.' Love never gets old," Moore continued. "The idea of falling in love and the heartache of love and all the craziness behind love and believing in love."

We're all familiar with love stories, but Moore said that The Bounce Back will balance different elements in a unique manner, saying, "I believe we found an original way of adding a little drama. My character, Matthew Taylor, loses his first true love to an automobile accident so there’s gonna be some weight to it. There’s gonna be some heaviness of enduring and losing and enduring, losing what you think is you only true love, but believing love is still out there. But in a fun way he writes a book to teach women what they’re doing wrong, how to keep a man. It’s just a fun way to look at all the antics that go with putting your heart on your sleeve and falling in love, losing love, but it’s also believing that you can find love again. It’s a real simple [story], but we’re gonna do it in a really fun, but dramatic way."

With Youssef Delara (Snap) on board to direct, Moore turned to crowdfunding to make The Bounce Back a reality outside of the studio system.  It's increasingly common for high-profile filmmakers to finance unique films online, avoiding the creative concessions necessary to making a film with a studio and instead taking the project straight to the fans.  This June, Moore launched an Indiegogo campaign for The Bounce Back.  By the time the effort concluded in August, Moore had surpassed his $500,000 goal, bringing in $638,483 through the Indiegogo page.

"It’s a way of kicking down doors and creating awareness and getting Hollywood’s attention because I’m going to match those funds and then some," he explained. "This movie’s going to get made whether I’m using my own money, whether I go to private investors or what have you, so come next spring. The success of Indiegogo has green it a movie that I would’ve had to sit on the folding chair and go audition for assuming and hoping that this is something Hollywood is ready to put out and that they would consider me for. I get to avoid those channels and just create myself and work with people that I had good relationships with and that I admired as actors and director of photography, there’s directors and so we were able to bring new ideas and content on our own without using a Hollywood machine."

Still, harnessing the power of social media didn't come naturally.  "This is all such a huge, fast learning curve for me," he said. "Because a year ago I simply had a really cool career and got a good job with Criminal Minds and I’d go to work every day and I’d play a tough guy and I’d come back and I didn’t do Facebook and Twitter, none of this stuff. I didn’t do any social media stuff because I just didn’t understand it."

"At first I was very hesitant. I was like I don’t want to just go asking people for money, I’d rather go ask the bank for money or ask the studio for money or go through the normal routes. Then I realized that I can create my own product that I can no longer just be a puppet where I’m a puppet in the sense of yeah I got a good job, but I’m doing someone else’s work and bringing somebody else’s idea to light."

"So through social media seeing I’d be able to really connect with my fanbase, see how broad my fanbase is," Moore said. "I’ve been to a couple auditions in the last couple years and you study the line and you do all the work you do as an actor and at the end of it they ask you 'What’s your Facebook following?' And I was like, 'Really? I get this job because I have x amount of Facebook followers?' Once I started to really understand the power of social media and the impulse that it had, I was like ok. I do have these ideas. Right now there’s The Bounce Back which is a romantic comedy, a little of a dramedy. I also have an action piece, a suspense thriller piece. I’ve got all these ideas of things I want to do. Some of them obviously would have me involved as an actor and some of them I would strictly just be producing kind of like what Tyler Perry has done, what Mark Wahlberg has done."

"I have relations with people in Scotland, in Belgium, in Australia, in Brazil, and the numbers and the noise that we’re making in social media is getting attention of other investors and companies that want to do business, that want to advertise," he continued. "It’s a road to bring people together where you’d normally have to get on a plane to set up meetings or make calls. Now there’s this whole infrastructure where the access is way more immediate to where you’re able to develop new relationships and do potential business together. The success of bounce back is very flattering that my fan base is so loyal. It’s very flattering that they’re very excited by a thing that I created out of my heart and imagination. In five, six weeks we were able to raise $500,000 to $600,000. Plus, because there’s just genuine excitement for this project to be made. It’s been a little overwhelming, but very flattering. It does show that this is the direction. I mean Spike Lee is doing this."

So where does The Bounce Back stand now?  "Right now we’re using the next month to get the script [polished], I’ve got a few notes on the script that I want to tweak, make sure the story is really there. Nadine Velazquez (Flight) is already on board," said Moore. "She’s been so excited and such a supporter. She did me a solid and we shot a teaser piece that you might have seen that was shot at my house just to kind of tease the audience and give people a sense of what it was. I don’t want to throw out any names just yet, but we have a list of people that we think. We’ve got our A team and we’ve got our B team and we’re just gonna get it out there and see what the response is.  We’ll probably start looking at casting in the next two months because we want to have all this in place by the holidays so that we know coming to you we’re gonna be pulled into production as soon as [Criminal Minds] ends so looking early May. It’ll probably be a twenty to forty day shoot."

"I think once we get the right talent and then the production quality is there, independent studios are gonna come to us and if we get the people in the seats, if we get that demand, and my social media numbers are proving that, they just want to know they’re gonna make their money back," he concluded. "Based on the numbers and the amount of money that we raised from the amount of people that raised, they clearly know that if we make a movie for $3 million, they’re going make that money back in the first weekend."

While The Bounce Back will provide Moore with an opportunity to shine as a romantic lead, Justice League: War allows him to shine in an entirely different type of role.  Hitting Blu-ray and DVD next year, it's the latest feature from director Jay Oliva (The Dark Knight Returns).  With the likes of Alan Tudyk (Serenity) and Michelle Monaghan (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) as Superman and Wonder Woman, Moore voices fellow League member Victor Stone aka Cyborg.

"I am so excited by this just because it’s fun doing it," he said of Justice League: War. "I wasn’t a big comic book guy. I knew the basics of Superman, Spider-Man. What I like about Cyborg is I got to do this about a year ago for the first time, really a fish out of water. I had no idea, the offer came to me to be the voice of Cyborg. He’s this half black, half white human, but he’s half machine, half human because of an accident that happened to him. But he’s a black superhero. But I like that he’s a bi-racial superhero because I’m bi-racial. The president of the United States is bi-racial."

Though he is accustomed to live-action sets, Moore said, "This is different because you’re talking into a microphone and you have to give all the emotion and then they layer it, create the animation which takes over a year to match to your voices and the sounds of your mannerisms. Ultimately voice overs is where the money is at, that’s why you see these big stars doing it, but it’s really fun to do and the Jutice League it is what it is. It’s legendary in its own right, but I’d be a liar if I didn’t say I have a fantasy or wish that [hopefully] I should be able to play Cyborg in a feature film. I’d love it if they were able to do something with the Justice League to where I could join a group of actors and go out there and be Cyborg. This is just the beginning, but this is another avenue of entertainment that I now get in to play in and I really had a ball. Once they showed me the ropes and what it was, it was one of the most fun things that I’ve done as far as performing."

It's not secret that Warner Bros. is planning several years ahead with a potential Justice League team-up film that would feature Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck.  "If I could get out there and play Cyborg, that’s the ultimate goal," Moore reiterated. "It’s an honor to play a part of the Justice League family and to be on these DVDs, but I would be a liar if I said I’m not aiming to be Cyborg in a feature film."

"I’d love to," he continued. "I’m still doing my push ups, my back hasn’t cracked yet so I can still run and jump. Every actor wants to win an Oscar, every actor wants to win a Golden Globe and do this role and do that role and there’s so many stories I want to tell, but to me I don’t know there’s just [a] vibe when you get to play an action hero. There’s something really fun about it and also because of what it represents. When we go to Comic-Con you see these legions and legions of fans that just love this world. So for me to go out there and play Cyborg, he’s just an interesting character and what I know of him thus far. For me to be half machine, half human, kicking ass, that would be a dream come true."

Moore may very well end up portraying a superhero on the big screen, but for the next two seasons, fans can count of seeing him as Derek Morgan on Criminal Minds. "I think ten is going to be the last season. Criminal Minds is gonna do a strong ten I think everybody involved in-house," he said. "The studio might have other ideas, but I know the actors and the writers and the producers we’re just very proud of what we created because we’re the little train that could. Not a lot of people were in our corner when we came out with season one and we didn’t know how long we were gonna last. We’re such a dark show so we don’t get a lot of press, but we have a loyal fanbase that just gradually found us especially when we hit syndication. All of a sudden we got approached from all around the world and we’re just very proud of the work that we put in to make the show what it is. I’ll never say Criminal Minds is better than another show, but I believe we are a very unique show. I’d have to say that we’re Silence of the Lambs meets Seven because we are dark, it is a little gruesome. These crimes do happen in reality which is kind of eerie, but it’s a very smart show. The writers are able to create these very dark story lines with compassion and so we just want to go out with a bang. We want to give the best we got for nine and ten and then I think everybody is gonna take the next step."

Check out the official Indiegogo for The Bounce Back by clicking here.

And stay tuned for more news on both The Bounce Back and Justice League: War.

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