I was introduced to Maurice “Mo” Moore by our mutual friend Melinda Taylor. I was excited to speak with him because I love movies and television. So we sat down and spoke about his career as an actor, writer/producer and teacher.
UM: Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to meet with me. Let’s get started by you telling me who is Maurice?
MM: I grew up in Wadesboro, NC. I was in the cast of the Color Purple as one of kids at the dinner table scene with several other children. We were asked to talk while they filmed us and I ended up talking the most and it gave me more presence in the film. After the taping, I received a standing ovation and the acting bug was born. I met some great people, two being Danny Glover and Whoopi Goldberg. They were really good to me and that’s why I do what I do.
I lived in Los Angeles for about 10 years. I lived in Austin before but moved to Kansas to get my degree. I came back to Austin in 1997, and back to LA in 2006 I have been in Austin now for about a year. I’m not sure you are aware that I worked in theater when I lived in Austin before. I was a part of the Pro Arts Collective under Boyd Vance. I learned a lot from him. I also participated in the Zach Children Theater as well and toured with them as well. I was able to see a financially solid company with Zach and a company trying to build with Pro Arts Collective.
UM: Has your acting journey been hard? How have you maintained the ability to do it?
MM: I have taught acting for the last 28 years. I speak to my students about this all time. I tell them they have to be passionate about the life of acting. You want to do it or you don’t. If you are passionate you willl do whatever you have to do to make it. The negativity can be used as a motivation for people who are passionate. You have to be okay with the sacrifices you make to get where you want to be. Many people suggested I stop doing acting and get a job. But people don’t realize I rather struggle doing what I like doing than something I don’t want to do. You have to train and focus. It is not easy but life is not easy but when you find something to make you happy, it takes a lot to not try. Everything I do is for my 14 year old daughter. My life is dedicated to making sure I leave something for her and make sure she is happy.
UM: What piece of advice do you have for someone who is pursuing acting and has not had the opportunity to be in a film like the Color Purple?
MM: I can’t stress this enough you have to train, train, train and be passionate about it and know it’s something you want to do. Acting is like any other job; you have to train and be good at it. People think they can just act but it is a lot of skill in what we do. If possible, go to college and do theater but any type of training you can get helps. I love theater and it is my passion. Even though I’m making films, I rather be on stage. It is a more personal relationship with the audience.
UM: You are writing and producing films. Tell me about your film making and movies coming out
MM: I’m a writer, director and I have been fortunate enough to have written screenplays for major studios in LA and for my company Anaik. Because I’ve been writing for about 20 years, it all goes together as far as what I’m passionate about. I’m a storyteller and as a Director I tell visual stories. I hope my films reach a mass audience and open their eyes and minds to personal problems, great relationships and little bit of societal change. The films I write show that no one is perfect we have flaws but it’s how we deal with the struggles. I like to show forgiveness, what love really means and can we grow, and all with a entertaining twist.
UM: When I was doing my research I was very interested in a film you have written called Honeymoon. What is it about?
MM: Honeymoon is a film about a couple where the man is blind and in a wheelchair. The young lady that come to care for him looks find but it becomes clear she has some emotional baggage and when they come together they open up each other.
UM: What is the process for getting film to studio?
MM: The process is very difficult. There are many variables. The door to Hollywood is hard to open. You have to know people for certain walls to breakdown. If you are not connected you have to be diligent. Your work has to be quality and you build relationships. I have been very fortunate to build some significant relationships. I am able to put my movie Founding Fathers and Honeymoon into the hands of people through my relationships.
UM: Is there any work that people can see now and when will your latest film be ready for release?
MM: I have a short film called Break that was released on BET Lense a talent competition. You can also see me in the Life of David Gale, Chainsaw Massacre just to name a few. Founding Father will hit theaters within the next two years.
UM: What about your acting classes? Tell us a little about them.
MM: I teach Tuesday and Wedneday nights at The Space. I offer a variety of classes from beginners to advance. We work on different techniques such as body control and understanding the character. I teach ages 15 years old to adults. I’m very interested in teaching kids again but scheduling is more challenging. So for now it is more convenient for me to work with teens and adults.
If you want to learn and understand the craft of acting and grow to be a productive actor not a movie star, take my class. I don’t teach fame, I teach acting. I teach connecting relating to the character and understanding the moment.
UM: You mentioned that you work with two brothers on all your films. We can’t go without mentioning them. Who are the Rios Brothers from Barcelona Alex and Frank?
MM: I have worked with Alex and Frank for 8 years. We met in LA and they are directors of photography and the most visual and creative artist that I know. Great part about them is I come from passion and a relationship storytelling perspective. They come from the analytical consciousness that allow them to create shots that tell the story I may not see. We make a very good team. I will not do anything without them. They come back and forth from Spain. Hope to get them here permanently. They are my right hand men.
UM: Do you shoot in Austin at all?
MM: Yes, I shoot a lot around Austin. My goal is to shoot mostly in Austin and open opportunities for Austin actors to to be on the scene. That is why the actors need to be trained so they can get cast and found. I plan to cast people from Austin to allow them to be showcased with major actors. They will need to do the work to be apart of the process.
UM: Before we wrap up. You seem to always be working. What do you do during your down time?
MM: To be honest, I watch movies because I am a movie junkie. I have over 1000 movies and I go to movies as well. I love watching them. My second passion is cooking. I like to invite my friends over for a Sunday brunch. I’m a people person so all my down time is spent with my friends. As much as I work because movies and acting is my passion, I don’t feel like I’m working. As I said before If I put in the time it better be something I like to do. And I can’t go without saying my daughter is the most important thing to me. We have the summers and talk or Skype everyday. If we are not in sync, none of it matters. She is my balance.
Look for Anaik Films soon. Visit their website and follow them on social media.
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