Actors need confidence. But Shameik Moore—who plays his first lead role in Dope, a Superbad-by-way-of-black-culture teen comedy opening this weekend—has more than that. Speaking to us months after a successful premiere at Sundance, he’s downright cocky.
“The way I think is: When I get the chance, it’s going to be the biggest movie out there. So did I expect this response? Yes, I did. I’m thankful for it—but I did expect it.”
Moore, who played tiny parts in a few movies and had been uploading his own rap videos to Youtube, was living in Atlanta when he got the call for Dope. Less than a week later, he was out West watching movies with his co-stars (“[A$AP] Rocky showed me Boyz n the Hood, Menace 2 Society, Superfly.”)
Then he was cutting the soundtrack—his character’s an old-school rap nerd fronting an indie band—with Pharrell. When we asked if he was concerned he’d been seen as an actor-first, musician-second, he (no hesitation) compared himself to Drake. Then he told us his master plan.
“It doesn’t matter if you see me as an actor first, because I can sing, and I can make great music. Period. If I put my heart and soul into what I’m doing, then you’re going to receive it the way I want you to receive it. I’m recording an album while I’m shooting The Get Down [a Netflix series directed by Baz Luhrmann.] Then I’ll hit you guys with the tour. Then I’ll blow up.”
Once he finishes all that world-conquering, Moore plans to work on his own films projects. (“I’m writing ideas. I’m a creative being; I want to do it all. If I see a director be great, then I want to be a great director.”) But he also concedes that this is all new to him. He’s still getting staggered by the attention, the workload, and all the mess that comes with it.
“The swag game at Sundance is strong, man. It’s movie-star stuff, and it’s the first time its happened to me. I’m still Shameik, you know, but life is changing before my eyes. I’m smiling all the time.”
DOPE. NOW PLAYING NATIONWIDE. YOUAREDOPE.COM