It was less than a year ago that actor Shemar Moore raised
over $630,000 on Indiegogo to help fund his feature film "The Bounce Back," which
he stars in and also executive produces.
Directed by Youssef Delara ("Filly Brown") and written by Delara and Victor Teran from a story by Staci Robinson, the romantic comedy stars Moore as an author who's marketing a relationship book but hasn't gotten over his own heartbreak. Bill Bellamy co-stars as his friend and manager, and Nadine Velasquez as love interest.
As "Bounce Back" recently wrapped production in Los Angeles, Shadow And Act spoke with Moore and Bellamy about the movie and what other projects they have coming up, including a possible sequel to their 2001 comedy "The Brothers."
On executive producing "The Bounce Back":
SHEMAR MOORE: It's been an exciting five weeks. Without sounding corny, it's kind of a dream come true. Wearing an executive producer hat, I've gotten a firsthand look at how hard it is to get a movie made. It's nice to be on this side and see it because I've always been on the acting side, where you just audition, learn your lines and show up to work, but you don't really know the machine of how it's all put together.
As executive producer I'm in control of the vision, the story, the creative process. There's nobody taking my idea and turning it into something that I really didn't have in mind. What's nice is myself, Youssef Delara and Ray Brown, we all share the same vision of what we think the script is, how we feel it should look, and the story that we want to tell.
On teaming up with producing partner Ray Brown:
SM: "The Bounce Back" will be the first movie out of our production company called Ankle Socks and Baseball Pants. There's a funny story about when I met Ray playing flag football. He had ankle socks with no elastic in them and I was a baseball player, so I was playing football in baseball pants. We were teasing each other that he needed to find some success so he could afford ankle socks with elastic and I needed to realize what sport I was playing and put on the right uniform.
We became best friends and I spent 20 years working on my craft as an actor. He spent 20 years really understanding the business side of Hollywood and bringing ventures to life, and so we've collaborated. And so it's nice to do business with a friend because now it's like a "we started from the bottom, now we're here" sort of thing.
On working with Nadine Velasquez:
SM: Nadine was in "Snitch" with The Rock, she was in "Flight" with Denzel, she was in "My Name Is Earl" on television. She's beautiful and stunning, the camera loves her. But she's also subtly brilliant. Being a true actress is so important to her.
On casting Bill Bellamy:
BILL BELLAMY: We were both on "The Arsenio Hall Show" and his dressing room was right next door to mine. I hadn't seen him in a while and we started catching up and he was like, "Yo B, I'm doing this project. You've got to do it with me. You'd be perfect to play Terry, my best friend."
So Ray sent me the script and when I finally sat down and read it, I was like, "Oh yeah, this is it."
SM: Bill, he's ridiculously funny, but he knows how to maintain the truth of the story. So he's not just in there for slapstick one-liners. It's such a challenge working with him because you never know what's going to come out of his mouth. He stays true to the words, but then he puts his Bill-isms in there. And just the facial expressions, and his timing and cadence.
And the thing about Bill, yes he's very funny, but he's a universal funny that appeals to so many different people. There's nobody else who could play this role, to be believable as my best friend and have all the qualities that his character needed. Bill embodies not only the punch lines, but the essence and theme of what the movie is about, at the same time running his mouth and being a fool.
BB: Terry is absolutely neurotic, charismatic, fun, and sickly intoxicated with the success of Matthew Taylor. We came up together in the game and we're trying to go get it. He wrote the book Bounce Back after coming off this horrible divorce, and it has become a hit and everybody's starting to catch onto it. So you see me fighting with him and believing in him more than he believes in himself sometimes. It's a fun ride.
SM: Going with Indiegogo, I didn't know much about it to be
honest, so I was a little wary and unsure. The idea of asking complete
strangers over the Internet for money just felt a little weird. But I learned that
it's not really all about looking for money.
What people need to realize is that crowdfunding helps show the industry that there is a demand for the movie. Hollywood's about numbers and people in the seats. So by raising the money through Indiegogo, we were able to create a buzz and we knew there was a demand. So now the trick is to make the best movie we possibly can, and I think we've done that. We are on the verge of what I call a big little movie. There's not a lot of eyes on us, which is nice for now because it leaves us alone to really just be creative and make the best movie possible.
On improvising and creating laughs:
BB: You can't write what comes out of this crazy mind! I definitely have done some fun stuff that was right off the top of the head. And Youssef wants those moments that are just priceless. So I think we got a lot of real moments between me and Shemar, we got some funny as hell moments, we got those business moments, so it's everywhere. It's not a straight comedy, but it's sort of a comedy with heart.
On finding the truth of the film:
SM: The words say one thing, but it's starting to evolve now that we're shooting it. There's many colors of life and relationships, whether it's family or lovers or heartbreak. On the first day of shooting we did a big seminar scene where my character had seven pages of dialogue and I was pitching the Bounce Back book. We had an audience of extras playing the women in the seminar and one of them yelled out, "This isn't a freaking movie, this is my freaking life!"
It was funny, but it was a great compliment. Not just that we were doing a great job, but if she represents the audience that's going to watch the movie and she can see a correlation to her own life, then I think we're on to something. So I want you to leave the theater feeling like you had fun, but also thinking, "Wow, that feels real." And if we can accomplish that, then I don't think we can ask for more.
On the resurgence of the '90s style romantic comedy:
BB: Timing is everything. The '90s was the era that blew me up, so all the people who were 15, 20, or 30 at that time, years later they're still my fans, still Shemar's fans. So literally it's nostalgic for people to see us and be like, "Yo, when I was in high school you were my dude!"
Now that everybody's grown, people from that generation are the new decision-makers. So they want to see things they saw in their childhood and their high school and college days. It's starting a trend now and I hope we make more, and give more work to other actors and directors. I hope that it keeps going.
Favorite nostalgic and romantic films:
BB: I have to shout out a couple great movies from back in the day. I want to say "Love Jones" 'cause it's all that. I want to say "The Five Heartbeats," "Love and Basketball," "Brown Sugar." And "How to be a Player"!
On future projects:
SM: What's wonderful is, you believe Bill Bellamy and Shemar Moore as best friends, because we have a great rapport off-camera. We have some ideas and some other things we want to do, similar to what he did in Fastlane years ago, or Bad Boys with Will and Martin. We have all these ideas, because this experience has been so fun.
BB: "The Brothers II" is on deck, we already have the script and we've got all the guys. So now it's about budget and when we're going to go into production. So we'll see. I think work begets work and once people start seeing you they’re like, "There go Bill and Shemar, they're doing the damn thing."
The Bounce Back is slated for release in 2015.