Exclusive: Shamier Anderson On ‘Love Jacked’ And Highlighting Black LovePosted by Wilson Morales
October 23, 2018
Hitting theaters on October 26 from Inner City Films is the romantic comedy Love Jacked, directed by Alfons Adetuyi and starring Amber Stevens-West, Shamier Anderson, Lyriq Bent, Keith David, Mike Epps, Marla Gibbs, Angela Gibbs, Demetrius Grosse and Nicole Lyn.
Written by Robert Adetuyi and Linda Eskeland, LOVE JACKED is centered around MAYA (Amber Stevens West) a headstrong young woman with artistic ambitions with a family, who wants a dutiful daughter to run the family store. Her father, Ed (Keith David) is shocked when Maya, asserting her independence, decides to travel to Africa for inspiration and returns with a “fiancé” (Shamier Anderson), sort of…Uncle Rufus, (Mike Epps), a self proclaimed African culture enthusiast is especially intrigued which brings a lot of funny.
For Anderson, this is his first crack at doing comedy, and a romantic film as well. Best known for playing U.S. Deputy Marshal Xavier Dolls on the TV series Wynonna Earp, he was also seen opposite his real-life brother Stephan James in the Jesse Owen biopic Race as well as the Fox series Shots Fired. He will next be seen opposite Nicole Kidman in Destroyer.
Blackfilm.com caught up with Anderson as he spoke about Love Jacked and working with the cast.
What made you say yes to this romantic comedy?
Shamier Anderson: To be able to highlight black love and show the diversities of black relationships outside of the normal what we see in Hollywood today. And reading the script, that really attracted me to it. Aside from also comedy. I’ve never done comedy before so that a great opportunity for me to show my stuff alongside Mike Epps, Amber Stevens West, Marla Gibbs, Angela Gibbs, Keith David, you know, comedy gods. So it was amazing.
How would you describe your character Malcolm?
Shamier Anderson: Spontaneous, wild, but super sweet.
How would say his traits relate to yours?
Shamier Anderson: I mean he’s just a man on a mission. The similarity between myself and Malcolm, we’re one in the same in a sense, but the thing I admire about Malcolm the most is just his ambition to be great. And in all the sticky situations that you see him in the film, he just always tries his best just to be great to make people happy. And that’s similarity that I have.
How was working with Amber? When you’re working on a film and doing this romantic comedy, the audience has got to believe that there’s chemistry there to root for them in the end.
Shamier Anderson: Right, right. I mean Amber’s such, and I don’t just say this because I’m being interviewed, she is such a sweetheart. She’s so amazing. She’s so down to earth, but such a professional. She has a lot of experience in the sitcom world and her comedy timing and just being open and available was just such a gift to work with, especially in such an intimate setting and we can see the transition of her not liking me, to her kind of liking me, to then fully immersing, and the intimacy that we have on screen. And she’s just such a, such a talent and she’s so great.
You’re working alongside Marla Gibbs, Keith David, Mike Epps, folks who’ve been in this game for a long time. When you’re working with this ensemble, what is it you’re picking up as an actor?
Shamier Anderson: Working with this ensemble, there’s so much and if I can just specify to one thing, it would just be just showing up ready to go. At that level, they’re ready for anything. Mike Epps is ready for anything. Those guys have comedic timing, their timing in general is just so spot on, and to be open and available is such a treat to see that in a real time. And so that’s something I took away, just to be available and ready when you hit that mark. Even before you hit the mark, just be ready because on and off camera, they’re quick, they’re spontaneous, they’re witty, all those great things.
Now you’re playing a character who’s pretending to be African. Have you ever been to Africa? Do you even know the dialect?
Shamier Anderson: Yeah. We shot in Africa actually. We shot in Cape Town, South Africa to be specific, and so I had a dialect coach for the film named Lucky. He was super incredible and helped me out so I spent some work months before … perfecting it, but not too much because the key thing is he’s not supposed to be very good at it. And so I got to learn the history and the different dialects from the different countries within Africa and it was a great experience.
Besides you, there’s Nicole Lyn in the film, and when you include your brother (Stephan James, who has his own projects coming out, we’re seeing these host of Canadian actors burst on the scene. They’ve been there, but they’ve never been in the spotlight.
Shamier Anderson: Right.
What can you say about putting Black Canadians on the map?
Shamier Anderson: I mean, like you said, we’ve got some incredible Canadians that have paved their way from James Cameron, Jim Carrey, Mike Myers, Steve Martin, Martin Short, but the list goes on and on and it behooves me that I can’t say enough people of color, other than Sandra Oh growing up. But to be able to essentially be a pioneer in that sense. My brother and I, especially reigning from Toronto, Canada, I think it’s a privilege, it’s a gift, and it’s also a responsibility. Now that we have a crack open to keep bursting through and showing people that there are actors in Canada, not only just actors in Canada, but all over the world, but specifically Toronto, my home. We’ve got great acts like The Weeknd, Drake, myself, my brother, Daniel Caesar, the list goes on and hopefully people in the next few years can see more and more of the talent that spews out of our beautiful city.
What are your favorite black romantic comedies that you’d see over and over again?
Shamier Anderson: Oh, man. I mean, Boomerang is obviously a classic. I think that’s an incredible piece. I’m a big fan, I mean it’s not a comedy, but I’m a big fan of Sanaa Lathan’s joint with Love & Basketball. Omar Epps, Sanaa Lathan, that’s my classic. And so I love that love story. Beautiful.
You mentioned Sanaa Lathan and she just did a film with your Love Jacked co-star, Lyriq Bent.
Shamier Anderson: Yeah. Nappily Ever After. Small world, man. Everyone’s working with each other, once, more than once, together. It’s really such a small world and small industry and it’s beautiful to see Lyriq Bent as well, another Torontonian, Jamaican Torontonian being in films opposites of heavy hitters, as well.
Now you’ve got another film coming out, Destroyer. Totally different film with Nicole Kidman. How was working with her on that film?
Shamier Anderson: I got to be her partner. It was a great part and I got to support her in her scenes. It was awesome. I got to work with a legend in Hollywood and to be able to show up on set every day and work with such a master at the craft was literally a class that was priceless for me. And every day was a learning experience and I was so happy to show up every day and work opposite her.
People have seen you on Race, they’ve seen you in Shots Fired, and they’ll see you in this movie so between TV, film, and other projects, what makes you say yes to them?
Shamier Anderson: Well, how can I transform myself more and more beyond what you saw in the last film that I did. I’m all about changing it up. I’m an actor and I want to play different parts. I try to stay away from staying in the same pocket or the same characters. It makes it more interesting for me and also for the viewers to be able to see me in different lights. And so what makes me want to say yes to a script is the dynamics, the relationships, and also most importantly, the story and the impact that it’s going to have on our viewers and the world. And those are huge factors for me.
At the end of the day, we have a lot of movies coming out, whether it’s on Netflix, Hulu, on TV, or on film, so what’s a good reason to see Love Jacked?
Shamier Anderson: Good reason to see Love Jacked, I’m in it and it’s of the time. It really is. We get to see another light of what black individuals go through outside of what we see in the cinema. It’s not a period piece. It’s nothing to do with oppression. It’s literally just a slice of what it looks like to be a black man and black woman falling in love and going through the trials and tribulations of love in a comedic atmosphere and that’s why you should see Love Jacked. And it’s also a great movie. I love it. My mom’s seen it 13 times. I’ve seen it too many times and I really love the film and I’m a big fan so hopefully you guys can watch it too.
Clip – Come Home Now
Clip – Airport Reveals Mtumbe
Clip – Uncle Rufus
Clip – Wedding Dress
Clip – Beach Goat Suggesting
Clip – Can’t Blame A Girl