10 THINGS – Mustafa Shakir
10 Things with Mustafa Shakir
Prior to working in the entertainment industry, you had celebrities in your chair, cutting their hair. What made you make the transition from barber to actor?
I was a barber because I enjoyed the artistry of beautifying folks, and it was a great way to stay off the corner hustling! I always knew I’d be leaving at some point, I just wasn’t aware that it would be to take strides toward acting. At the time, when I started, I was on track to go into international banking and law. Go figure! Acting itself, has always been something that I wanted to pursue. It just wasn’t encouraged, so I didn’t get “serious” about it until way later. I became an actor because…um…it kind of happened to me. Long story, but when I finally decided to get closer to the arts my aim was to write, but fate said that I was to do more and the rest is history.
Were there any actors work that you admired and that influenced your career choices as an actor?
I hung around Michael Kenneth Williams and Gano Grills back in the day at the Gerard Dure hair salon on 125th St. and I got to see them in a play called “Endangered Species”, and that changed everything for me. I was hooked! I wanted to get up there on stage and show & tell the world, life changing stories too. I began to see the art as an ART and not just a fun thing to do. But, Morgan Freeman’s career is my cup of tea. He played a pimp or two in the beginning, but that he got to play “God” in a movie as a black man is enough for me to want to emulate LOL! I love that he side steps the stereotypes, a fair amount of the time.
You’ve had the opportunity to work alongside many talented actors. If given the opportunity, who do you have on your wishlist to work with?
Wow, that’s a hard question. Idris Elba, Regina Hall (she is the funniest person to me) Daniel Day Lewis, Tom Hanks, Denzel, Meryl Streep, Viola Davis, Kevin Hart (I love Kevin, he’s just hilarious to me) Jennifer Lewis, Jennifer Lawrence…there’s really too many. Chris Nolan on the other side of things!!! He’s brills!!
Let’s talk about your latest project, Quarry on Cinemax. How were you first introduced to the series and what made you decide to take it on?
Quarry happened pretty standardly, got the audition, did it, got feedback, did that, booked. Pretty much a no brainer. I’m a series regular, playing a bad ass bass player and assassin named Moses!! Are you kidding me?! In Nawlins (New Orleans) too…I might of paid them to do it, given the right circumstances. LOL!
As you mentioned, on the series, you play the role of Moses. What are the good and bad sides of him?
Moses is “bad” because he isn’t one way. He’s endearing and sweet, but simultaneously, he will kill you. That’s enough of a contrast to stop there, regarding any further contrasting qualities.
What do you enjoy most about bringing your character to life?
I enjoy the fact that he plays music. It gives him a dimension that is immediately and easily accessible to the audience. And, that is the scary part about him, he can make you love him without saying a word.
The show looks exciting to watch. What can viewers expect to see from Moses and the rest of the cast on this season?
You guys can expect to see everyone get settled in terms of their respective missions and basic character arcs. By the end of episode 8 you pretty much know who everyone is and what you think they are capable of. Leaving you hungry to see the intrigues continue.
You’re also talented as a musician. Any plans on developing your music career further?
Musically, I am in the process of getting some songs together. I am working with Lisa Cortes to find some folks to play along with and make a joyful noise! I really love music and what it allows us to feel and process. It’ll always be in my life in some shape, form, or fashion, creatively.
Who are some of your favorite fashion designers and styles that we would find in your closet?
In terms of fashion, I’m not a designer whore…yet. LOL, just kidding. I like to dress completely based on vibe. I shop wide and far too, incorporating many different motifs into my wardrobe, thrifting, repurposing, etc…that is, when I’m not wearing my all black uniform.
We look forward to seeing more of you on Cinemax’ Quarry. What other projects do you have coming up in the near future?
Thank you! I just finished wrapping The Duece with James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhaal for HBO. I’ve got a spot on Timeless coming up 11/14 on NBC, a film by Ernest Dickerson called Double Play, set in Curacao to premiere in January 2017. Another film opposite Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Carpenter called Brawl in Cell Block 99 is also slated for 2017. Peace!
Facebook Page: M Shakir1
Photo Credits: Michelle K. Short/ Cinemax, Joel Grimes, Amon Focus