[INTERVIEW] Actor Jason R. Moore Breathes Life Into Characters, Takes On Role In ‘The Punisher’
The Punisher’s Jason R. Moore Opens Up About Hollywood and The Hustle
A wise man once said, “Nothing in this world is given; you have to earn it.” For Jamaican-born actor Jason R. Moore, it’s safe to say that he’s definitely earning his spot in Hollywood.
With an acting career that spans over nearly a decade, the road to the red carpets and the battle to the big screen certainly hasn’t been easy for the budding actor. However, it’s his unassailable dedication to the craft and “go hard or go home” hustler’s mindset that has gotten him to where he is today.
Moore gained recognition after appearing in the award-winning film, A Lonely Place for Dying, and the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced action-fantasy, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. As of late, he’s most notably known for his leading role as ‘Curtis Hoyle’ in Marvel’s Netflix series, ‘The Punisher’, which has since seen widespread acclaim. He’s also set to guest star in the hit BET drama sitcom, The Quad, starring the honorable Anika Noni Rose.
Without a doubt, Moore continues to prevail–innovatively and creatively breathing life into each and every character, time and time again, through his compelling on-screen delivery.
Check out our exclusive interview with the immensely-talented Jason R. Moore, as we talk Hollywood, the hustle, his role in The Punisher, and what’s next.
Parlé Mag: So, I want to dive a little bit into your background before you became an actor. Where were you born and raised?Jason R. Moore: I was born in Kingston, Jamaica.
Parlé Mag: Nice!
Jason R. Moore: Yeah! I grew up in Albany, New York. I spent pretty much grade school and high school there. Got out of there for college. That whole time, I was just doing sports. High school is when I started track and field, excelled in that. I was doing that all the way up until college. That’s when I was like, “I don’t know what to do with my life. What am I going to do?” You know? It was one of those things.
Parlé Mag: Right.
Jason R. Moore: I knew that I didn’t want to run anymore because it was just too painful. I wasn’t going to be able to run forever anyway. So, I kind of just looked at what my interests were–natural interests, without any sort of motivation. I was like, “Maybe I should do some acting stuff?” But, it really didn’t officially happen until I was at a track meet. I was in the middle of telling a joke on the bus, and one of my teammates said, “Hey, you should be an actor.” That resonated really hard and really deep with me. So, from that day, I went and looked at acting schools. The next semester, I was at Purchase [College] to start the beginning of learning the whole thing about acting and theater and all that stuff. That’s how I got into it. That was back in 2000.
Parlé Mag: So, from there, what jump-started your actual acting career? Like, in terms of you obtaining roles?
Jason R. Moore: In New York, I did a lot of theater, at first. I studied theater–the greats, like Shakespeare, August Wilson, Lynn Nottage. Those kinds of rich, cultural plays. Then, after leaving Purchase, I started doing soap operas. I was just doing small roles on soap operas. Around this point, Actors Access became available to actors. I was like, “Hold up! You mean to tell me that we can go find our own jobs?” That lit a fire in me, and I just went crazy on Actors Access. I started submitting myself for multiple things, and I got several of those jobs on my own. But, throughout that whole time in New York, right after graduating college, was when I started the daytime television, then I got into some small roles in primetime. I also got my first movie, which was The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. I had a small role on that, too.
Parlé Mag: So, you were really out here hustling!
Jason R. Moore: Oh, yeah! I had my mind made up, early on, that I wasn’t going to just sit back and allow an agent to dictate my career and what happens. With that mindset, you go through agents like you change drawers because you’re not going to stay with an agent who’s slacking, or who you feel is not even on your side or doesn’t believe in what you’re doing. So, I went through a lot of agents while I was in New York. But, then, like I said, with Actors Access, I didn’t really need one because they made it available for us to submit ourselves for projects. So, yeah, that hustler’s mindset was definitely on a hundred when I was back in New York.
Parlé Mag: What has been your most challenging role thus far, and why?
Jason R. Moore: Every role is challenging in its own right when you try to do it as honest as possible. I don’t think any roles come easy. The trap that we fall into, as actors, is if they say something like, “This character is a Jamaican-born guy, who grew up in the hood, and he’s street-smart and just making his way through life.” Now, that would be seeming like it’s written for me, right? And you approach it thinking it’s going to be easy. But, I think that’s a trap that actors would fall into. Every character requires a deeper understanding. You can see it when actors do it and when actors don’t do it. So, every role is challenging because I choose to go as deep as possible with that character.
Parlé Mag: As a black male actor, from your perspective and looking back at when you first came into the business, do you feel that it’s still tougher for people of color to prove themselves in Hollywood?
Jason R. Moore: Oh, absolutely. It’s tough because it’s not an industry with us in mind. We’re trying to hold a piece of someone else’s industry. So, yeah, it’s going to be tough because things have got to be different. The stories aren’t really catered to us. The audience isn’t necessarily catered to us. You know that it’s a business, and you have an industry, that’s over one hundred years old, that kind of taught people what heroes look like, what beautiful women look like, and taught people what are important stories. We were in none of that. So, of course, it’s a hurdle that we have to overcome. I’m definitely aware of that. Those challenges are always going to be there. No matter what success that I have, as an individual, it’s not really saying anything. It’s more like if you can see a group acquire some success, then you can say that it’s some change and it’s a movement. But, as long as it’s one individual, you still got to keep in mind that those challenges are there.
Parlé Mag: Absolutely. So, your latest role happens to be as ‘Curtis Hoyle’ in Marvel’s Netflix series, The Punisher. Talk to us about your character and how you got this particular role.
Jason R. Moore: It was a standard audition. But, here’s the thing with Marvel, you don’t know what it is that they’re casting. They always use code words and secret scripts; it’s always this cloud of secrecy when you’re dealing with one of these comic books, TV shows, and movies. They want to keep it all under wraps. So, I had an idea that it was a Marvel project, but I didn’t know that it was The Punisher. But, it was a standard audition. I sent the tape in; that’s the big thing in the business now. So, I sent the tape in, first. From that tape, they responded really well to it. They had a meeting with me, the showrunners, Steve Lightfoot, and Jeph Loeb, who’s head of Marvel Television, and the director, who directed the first two episodes, Tom Shankland. So, that was the first meeting that I had with them. I did an audition in front of them, and then they raved about it! Whatever I did, they responded to it well.
They told me that there was no one else for this role but me. That was a very comforting thing to hear. They just told me, “Hey, we want you for the role!” Afterwards, Jeph Loeb gives you a call, and he’s like, “The next three words are going to change your life forever. Are you ready for that?”
Parlé Mag: [laughs]
Jason R. Moore: Literally! [laughs] I’m telling you exactly how the call goes. He calls, and he’s like, “Hi, Jason. This is Jeph Loeb, head of Marvel Television.” You’re like, “Okay. How are you doing, Jeph?” Then, that’s when he tells you that the next three words are going to change your life… forever. And he says, “Welcome to Marvel.” That’s when you know that you’re a part of the team, you’re a part of the club, and you’re a part of this Marvel universe.
Parlé Mag: I know that had to be an amazing feeling.
Jason R. Moore: Yes! It was an amazing feeling. Here’s why… not because I got a job, but it’s more like when you work so hard towards something–in such a risky business and industry, and then you finally achieve what you’ve been working for. It’s more of that feeling that you get. You know, finally doing something or reaching a level or point that you’ve been wanting to get to and be at. So, yeah, that’s a great feeling.
Parlé Mag: What can we know about your character, Curtis Hoyle?
Jason R. Moore: Curtis is a military vet. He was a corpsman, so he helped other soldiers when they were injured, and he performed on-the-field surgical procedures. He’s injured in an attack, and he comes back home. So, now, he’s running this vet circle where he helps counsel other vets who have come back, and are dealing with PTSD. Curtis, himself, is dealing with it, and the people who he’s trying to help are dealing with it. The thing with Curtis is, the way that he deals with it is by helping others. On the show, you’re going to see Curtis deal with that struggle. He’s genuinely out there to help others because it’s actually helping himself. He’s really close friends with Frank; he’s one of the only people who know that Frank is alive, who’s ‘The Punisher’. So, that also plays out in the show.
You’re going to get some very heartfelt scenes with Curtis. His character is like the moral compass of the show, and he’s battling with Frank and trying to get Frank to do what’s right and steering him away from what’s wrong. Of course, with that, Curtis and Frank will bump heads, but these guys are buddies until the end. So, you can see the dynamic of that relationship throughout the season. Also, expect Curtis to throw down a little bit! You get a little action with Curtis, too.
Parlé Mag: So, how important was it for you to be apart of something that sheds light on an extremely important issue, like PTSD, that isn’t as talked about as it should be?
Jason R. Moore: It’s very important. Even prior to the show, I just don’t understand how people can go out there and sacrifice their lives for a country, and then when they come back to the country, they’re living on the streets. I just don’t understand how that happens. I don’t understand how the government can allow that to happen. It was also interesting to me that the government will spend so much money on training and arming these soldiers–millions of dollars, per soldier, and then once the soldiers get back, they don’t spend any money on post-war issues… like PTSD.
So, for me, it’s a good thing to be on this side of the argument, to have the voice and to help spread awareness of this kind of issue.
Parlé Mag: Definitely.
Jason R. Moore: I think it’s important, and we need to pay more attention to it.
Parlé Mag: Aside from The Punisher, we can expect to see you in BET’s second season of their hit show, The Quad, which premieres on January 23rd. Any details you can give us on that project?
Jason R. Moore: I get to work with the great Anika Noni Rose. I’ve been a fan of hers for a very long time. In the show, we have a little relationship. It’s one of those hot and sexy things there, between my character and Anika’s character, so it’s going to be interesting to watch. We shall see! But, yeah, you should expect something totally different from Curtis. I guess it’s my chance at being sexy?! [laughs]
Parlé Mag: Okay, okay! [laughs]
Jason R. Moore: [laughs]
Parlé Mag: Seeing where you are in your career, as of now, what are some things that you hope to achieve in your acting career this year?
Jason R. Moore: I hope to lead a studio film. I expect to be the lead actor in a studio film; that’s a goal that I have. I hadn’t really shared it with anybody, but it is important that–in terms of my stepping stones and stepping blocks, and the ladder that I choose to climb, I lead a film. So, yeah, I’m definitely working towards that. Also, just opening myself up to other aspects of the industry, like directing, producing, and things like that. Those are some other goals that I have and what I want the acting to lead to in 2018. Leading a film is definitely important.
Parlé Mag: What’s on the radar for you in the coming months?
Jason R. Moore: I’m also an entrepreneur, and one of my products, AnthemOne–with my partners, has officially launched. So, that’s out there. It’s a light system.
Parlé Mag: Wow, that’s awesome.
Jason R. Moore: Yeah! I plan on changing the film game with this light system. It’s a lot to go into right now, but AnthemOne.com, and I’m very proud of this. That’s what we’re rolling out now!
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