Jaylen Moore is a rising actor who's making quite a name for himself in television, film, and theatre. Jaylen can currently be seen in Showtime's hit show Homeland as "Eric Baraz," as well as in the feature films Hunger Games 2: Catching Fire, The Escape Plan (with Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger) and Aztec Warrior (2014).
1. Who or what inspired you to become an actor? My dad! Since I was young enough to remember, my father was obsessed with movies. He is from Afghanistan and has always loved American films. So as soon as I was old enough to speak, I was watching Superman, Batman, Conan, Rambo, haha yes Rambo, my dad didn’t care about the violence in it. He loved action and we would watch them even though my mom would tell him NOT to include me. LOL! Rocky, All the Bruce Lee movies, Charles Bronson, Clint Eastwood, the list goes on and on. One day my father took me to see, BATMAN with Jack Nicholson as the, "Joker." When I got home, I was so pumped from the film I ran into the bathroom grabbed my sister & moms makeup, and began to paint my face like the "Joker." When I was done I came out and my dad turned on the video camera. He began to do this crazy sinister laugh ala, "The Joker," and I would mouth it and act as if I was doing it. This was the spark! I loved the camera and to play characters. Also live performances. My older sister was a dance teacher and into musical theater, so I was in every dance recital and holiday show. Tap/Jazz/Ballet/Hip Hop, you name it my little sister & I would join my older sis. I was known for a mean Michael Jackson performance that won me Dance competitions as a kid. All of this fueled what my career coach, Barbara Deutsch calls your PILOT LIGHT. The creative light within that gets stoked when the applause happens or when you get acknowledgment while others are watching you on camera. That freeing, amazing, feeling. The Artist way!
So on that tangent, I guess you could say Jack Nicholson along with any action hero in the 80’s is what inspired me to become an actor. =)
2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? Oh man! There are so many talented actors out there that I would love to work with. Will Smith, Hugh Jackmon, Dwayne Johnson, Tom Hardy, Russell Crowe, Clint Eastwood, Meryl Streep, Tina Fey, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker, Bradley Cooper, Christopher Walken, Will Ferrell, Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, Jessica Chastain, George Clooney, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Al Pacino, Robert Dinero, Halle Berry, John Travolta, etc..
3. What initially made you want to audition for Homeland? One of my best friends got me hooked on it. He said, "Jay..You and your wife are going to LOVE this show! Borrow my first season on Blu-Ray and if you love it, order Showtime and catch up. Trust me!" On that note we did. Binged watched Season One, and most of Season Two till we caught up to the live feed. I told my wife Britt, "I must be on this show! The writing, the acting, the production value, everything about this show is AMAZING!!!" Then the right audition came around and wala! I now play the role: "ERIC BARAZ."
4. What do you like about being on the show? What do I LOVE about being on the show? Ha! I mean who wouldn’t LOVE being on this hit show? I love that on my first day, right away everyone from the crew, production, to the series regulars were all so friendly and inviting into their family. This is always what an actor wants. In that type of friendly and warm environment, it made it easy for me to just BE and do my job well! In addition to that, I always believe in order to grow in life in anything, involve yourself in a playing field with others that are better then you, & more seasoned then you! Working with Damian Lewis, Claire Danes, and Mandy Patinkin, was an amazing experience. Getting to "Play" with them in on the acting field, forced me to step up my game as an actor. And on scenes I was not in, I’d stay in video village, watch and learn. I love watching other talented actors. It truly is the best school. The school of life and experience!
5. You are going to be in quite a few upcoming films, Hunger Games 2: Catching Fire, The Escape Plan (with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone), and the action/comedy Aztec Warrior. What excites about the release of these upcoming projects? I am very grateful to have worked on these amazing projects! Escape Plan was so much fun to work on. I grew up idolizing the ACTION TOUGH GUYS, Arnold & Stallone! Ha! I mean come on…what young boy didn’t want to be an action hero with muscles like those guys? The child in me was so excited to be a part of a film with the old school action stars. As well as a great opportunity to act with Jim Caviezel. He’s a phenomenal actor! Catching Fire was so much fun! I am a huge fan of the books and when I got cast in the stunt/acting role, "PeaceKeeper," I was very excited to be a part of this amazing trilogy. In this film I work under the creepy villain, "Romulus Thread." I get to be his tough hands, taking down some of the lead characters and joining him in fights. As for Aztec Warrior, that for me was on of the most physically challenging roles I have worked thus far in my career. Man was it fun! I cannot give away too much yet, but a lot of martial arts, fighting, physical movement, in addition to acting scenes was required from me for this role. Working with Luis Guzman was a blast. It is so hard to take that guy seriously. He is so funny and can make you break in any moment!
6. In addition to your television and film career, you have a theatrical background. What do you enjoy about working theatre that you don't get from working in film/television? Do you have any plans to come to New York to do theatre? Theatre is a whole different beast! It is a different kind of rush compared to film & television. You cannot re-create the energy and rush you feel on a live stage in front of a live audience. That is the ultimate high! Especially when you nail it and get your applause & cheer. See in theatre if you screw up, keep going. HaHa! You can never stop and just hope the audience didn’t pick it up. If they did? Well then improv it and laugh it off. Film & TV you have the option of doing another take which is easier and so much more pressure taken off of you. Theatre has a certain magic to it. The stage, the seats, the darkness you look out to knowing those seats are filled. Especially Musical Theatre! That is my favorite. If the right opportunity came about for me to play a killer role in a musical on Broadway, believe me, I would not think twice!
7. You also speak Farsi, Dari, Arabic, Pashto, and Spanish. What do you like best about learning other languages? Well I grew up in a household with my father speaking Farsi/Dari to my sisters and I. My mom spoke Spanish occasionally, but it was mainly English & Farsi/Dari. I’ve become conversational in Arabic & Pashto due to all the voice over and looping jobs I have booked. As for Spanish I truly am not fluent yet, working on it, but conversational. I love to learn different languages. It’s my favorite thing to do when I visit another country. I love people. I love Human Beings and I love to connect with people in their native language. When my wife and I went to Italy I began to study Italian 6mo’s before we left, just so I could speak some to the locals and fully experience their culture. We had a blast and everyone actually thought I was Italian. Ha! When we went to Turkey I learned as much as I could in a few weeks and it got us by in the markets. They all thought I was a local. =) I guess that’s the benefit of being, "ethnically ambiguous" and having a good ear for languages.
8. How do you feel social media has helped your career? At first I was a slow learner and a little against the social media boom. I was on Myspace and thought I was so cool with my wallpaper background and music. Haha! Then when that died out, in came Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, Stage 32, and many more…Can you tell I’m on all of these? I now love it. I feel it’s a good way to keep those who support you, including your fans, up to date in your life and career without having to personally email or call. The flip side of that is I get to see what’s going on with all of my friends as well! As I said earlier, I love people and I have tons of good friends who all have busy lives. It’s nice to be able to catch a peek into their life and see what’s going on when we can't get together. Because of this, I have had some contacts of mine or friends of friends see a post of mine that I’ve been working on a project and that person will contact me saying, "Oh my gosh! We were looking for someone to play this role, saw your post and thought he is so perfect for this! Contact Jaylen!" Not everyone has had this kind of luck, but I have thus far.
9. What's the best advice you've ever received? "NEVER GIVE UP!" Plain and simple. I have received lots and lots of great advice in which I could probably write a book about. But to keep this from becoming a novel, I’ll stick with the one that keeps circulating around me from positive friends. Well, how about one more:
"Life is too short to not live in happiness. If you are not happy, STOP! Re-evaluate! MAKE a change and GO! It’s the only way. Take a risk, choose to live your ultimate Utopia or live life in darkness. Your choice and nobody else’s!"
10. If you could have any super power which one would you choose? Superman! I mean come on, who would not want that power? I would use my super powers to create a Happier and Safer world!
Monday: Rings & Martial Arts
Tuesday: Cardio (Swimming) & Pilates
Thursday: Power Yoga & Parkour
Saturday: Open (Bball, Football, Hiking, Biking, Beach Volleyball, Yoga, Martial Arts, etc..)
12. Boxers or briefs? Boxer Briefs! Comfortable, reliable, and as my wife would say, "Sexy!"
Jaylen Moore is on a roll having booked eight features since 2012. And it’s no wonder - he can sing, dance, make you laugh while shooting a semi automatic weapon, perform stunts, and kick ass in in the next. He also speaks Farsi, Dari, Arabic, Pashto, and Spanish – think of him as an "Action Hero and Renaissance Man" all in one.
Recently, Jaylen was seen in the Weinstein Company’s feature, Random, opposite Ashley Green, in the Tom Cruise vehicle Oblivion for director Joseph Kosinki, in the indie sci-fi thriller Sons of Liberty, and in the MTV comedy film, Ladies Man: A Made Movie. He has appeared on over six episodes of Conan as "Wolfboy" spoofing Taylor Lautner.
In director Andrew Niccol’s The Host, Jaylen played "Seeker Song," a role that required him not only to act, but to perform stunts using his training in martial arts and fighting. In The Host, he acted opposite Saorise Ronan and Diane Kruger and worked directly with writer Stephenie Meyer of the Twilght saga.
Jaylen brings to acting, his extensive background as a Los Angeles athletic coach and trainer. His exotic good looks are a result of parents that hail from Spain and Afghanistan. He began in theatre, studied at Chicago’s Second City, and appeared in the Ovation Award winning musical City Kid where he met his future wife, actress/screenwriter, Britt Logan - proof that musicals can change your life.