A Little More of Moore
Shemar Moore is back with his next big project — only this time, he’s stepping both in front and behind the camera
It’s a few days into the Toronto International Film Festival and Shemar Moore is running late, but his evening companions don’t seem to mind. About 400 adoring fans, fellow filmmakers and camera-wielding media members are content passing the time by chatting with each other about the Criminal Minds star and his self-produced film The Bounce Back as they wait at the edge of the red carpet outside Toronto’s Uniun Nightclub, where tonight Moore and his co-stars host an invite-only wrap party for the flick. Smushed together with their iPhones at the ready in case of any potential selfie-taking opportunities, the crowd faces west, anticipating the moment when a shiny SUV pulls in carrying its tall and talented cargo.
The crowd inches closer to the barricade as Moore and his fellow cast and crew appear. Moore hugs, high-fives and autographs his way into the spotlight, where the cameras flash and questions are thrown at him from all angles — something he’s used to by now.
“This actually isn’t too bad,” he says of the commotion. “Whoever’s here, I’m just excited and humbled and nervous and proud, because we’re showing the industry and getting the fans excited that we’ve got this movie, a little train that can.”
Moore, a California native, was deemed drool-worthy after stepping foot on the set of The Young and the Restless in 1994 to portray Malcolm Winters, a role he kept until 2005 when he was cast as Derek Morgan on the successful crime drama Criminal Minds. More than a decade after his acting debut, Moore is now tacking the title “executive producer” to his list of feats as he brings The Bounce Back, a romantic comedy, to life.
The Toronto-filmed production, which is tentatively set to hit theatres in 2015, tells the story of Matthew, a relationship expert on tour promoting his best-selling book when he runs into fellow love guru Kristin (Nadine Velazquez) who challenges his work as phony. Matthew, played by Moore, is taken by even further surprise when he and his opponent unexpectedly fall for each other. (Cue a dramatic sound effect à la Y&R).
That’s all that the Internet will share about the film for the time being, but at tonight’s bash everyone on the guest list will be treated to an exclusive preview that promises to reveal more about the self-produced project, which is putting Moore on the map as not just an on-camera staple, but a whiz behind the scenes, too.
Moore’s fans — which he affectionately calls his “baby girls” — have a particularly special relationship with The Bounce Back, since many of them are investors. Moore took an unconventional route when getting the show on the road, launching an Indiegogo campaign to raise the $500,000 needed to fund the production. By the time the campaign closed in August of 2013, supporters from all over the world had pitched in nearly $700,000, raising 128 per cent of the project’s initial goal.
“I found out first-hand as a producer how hard it is to get a film made,” says Moore, who made a brief return to The Young and the Restless this fall for two special episodes. “But through the help of the fans — and I mean this not just to say the right things and be politically correct — we raised more than what we needed.”
The star’s thankfulness shows. Since his arrival 10 minutes ago, Moore hasn’t turned down a single request for a kiss, embrace or picture, interacting with every fan, and giving each one a moment of his attention. It’s a kind of humility that isn’t often exercised by Hollywood folk these days, but Moore is bringing humbleness back to Tinseltown not only through his affection for his fans, but by having turned to them as a source of support for his next big thing.
And it is a big thing. For an actor who’s successfully conquered the prime-time realm, he’s taking on the been-there, done-that rom-com — a risk he thinks might be worth taking.
“They’ll compare us to other movies, I’m sure, but The Bounce Back is a different take. It’s going to make you laugh, cry, think and self-reflect,” says Moore. “Love stories have been told a million ways, and obviously I’m biased, but I think we’ve found a million and one.”