So far, 2017 seems to be the year of rising stars and one talented individual to follow is Moritz J. Williams. Originally from Dallas, TX, Williams is an actor, producer, and director who sets his sight on a goal and doesn’t stop until it’s accomplished. His resume includes Emergency Contact, Mind of a Single Male, and Will to Love with Marques Houston, Keshia Knight Pulliam, and Draya Michele. Two of Williams’ recent projects include the short film Dirty Laundry, which he also created & directed, and the critically acclaimed web series Giants.
Check out my interview with Moritz J. Williams where he discusses Giants, Dirty Laundry, what’s next for him, and more below.
1-How did you first get into acting?
As a kid, I think everyone knows that in any cultured home you get your first start into performing arts in the house of the Lord, in the Easter program(haha), then the Christmas program. In my professional career, I received my degree in Arts. I was a fan of the theatre and first started at the Academy of Black Arts and Letters in Dallas, TX, doing the adaption of A Christmas Carol. I remember going into the audition and thinking “You’re not good enough for this.” I almost turned around and drove home, but luckily I stayed. I had to sing in the audition, which I am always shy to do unless I’m at church, I chose Ne-Yo’s “So Sick.” I remember ending the audition by saying, “I don’t really sing much, I don’t consider myself a singer.” The casting director told me “Thank You” and to wait in the hall. I waited for them to come out and tell us “Thank you for coming”—I expected not to get a 2nd audition. She pulled me to the side and told me “Don’t ever do that again, you’re gifted, there will be enough people in the world not believing in you. You cannot be one of them.”
2-Who is your favorite actor and/or actress? Why?
I think anyone who knows me knows that I have the upmost respect for actors from Denzel[Washington], Viola Davis, and Meryl Streep. But my favorite actor would be Will Smith. I think he is everything an actor should be—humble, talented, and hardworking. When I think of my career, my future goals is to be parallel of Will Smiths career—from the roles he chooses to starring in television, movies, superheroes and now his production company with Overbrook.
3-You starred as Jayson Strout in Geno Brook’s critically acclaimed web series Black Boots. How was that experience?
The experience with Black Boots was very different for me. It was a learning experience, a growing experience, and a very trying one as well. It was different because I’m not Greek, I didn’t pledge in college and I know that BGLO’s take it very serious what they go thru and the bonds they build, so I wanted to make sure I was honoring that in my delivery of the character—showing the growth of being a stand alone, bad attitude, no one controls me type of person that Jayson is, having to become a brother to strangers and actually liking the process as time went on will play with your head. Although we were acting, the “process” was real. We didn’t just show up to set and shoot, we learned history, lessons, poems, brotherhood and accountability at the same time. I learned a lot in the process of producing the first season as well and the people and cast I met, on the journey, I am still very close with today.
4-Recently, you’ve guest starred on CBS’ Criminal Minds. How was it being on the set of a popular TV series?
Criminal Minds was a great experience, as always when working with television, and popular shows you want to make sure that you make the fans happy because they go hard for their favorite show. From the audition process to the seeing the episode live was fun. I am a people watcher so I am always paying attention to veteran actors and taking mental notes as well. It was a great feeling each day on set and once I wrapped, I got a letter from Rob Bailey, the director of my episodes, letting me know he appreciated what I brought to the character of “David Turner” and that it was a pleasure to work with me. I thought that was very gracious of him because I enjoyed working with him and the detail he gives in his direction.
5-You recently wrote, directed, executive produced, and starred in Dirty Laundry. How did you come up with the premise of this short film?
It sounds like so much to wear so many hats in a production. So they say the best stories come from real life situations—in this short the game of “questions” is a real game that my friends and I play so that is where it comes from, sometimes it can get a little intense. The idea of the story came from listening to music—I am a music head, which is where a lot of my creativity stems from. The lyrics emotions create a picture in my mind and then my pen takes me on a journey from there.
6-How did you get the role of Lawrence on Giants?
The role of Lawrence came from the creator of the show, James Bland, we actually connected because he saw me on the series Black Boots and we developed a great friendship. This guy is a creative genius so over the course of time, when he began writing Giants, he reached out to me and let me know he had a role he wanted to know if I would be a part of. So, of course, I said yes—no audition [or] anything, he trusted me with the character. Season one was very successful as we all knew it would be and currently a season two is in the works, so cross your fingers that Lawrence returns.
7-If you had the chance, what would your outcome be for Lawrence & Journee(Vanessa Baden Kelly)?
Vanessa is so talented and hilarious to work with, she made the process easy and smooth. The whole time we filmed, all while being pregnant with her adorable baby boy Ryder, a lot of women were a little upset with Lawrence about how he ended things with Journee, but not really seeing the side of Lawrence. He told her the truth, he told her to her face, and when you really think about it, they were each other’s escape—no one ever signed up for a relationship, just a connection that they would take slow. I would like to see the two of them become very good “friends,” maybe they can continue to help each other grow, and ultimately who knows. Things may not work out for Lawrence and his ex.
8-What is your dream role?
My dream role….I can never answer this question because I won’t know until it comes across my desk. I will say, I claim that I will work with Will Smith in the future. I claim that it will be the near future, so we will see how that plays out but I have a feeling it will come to pass so I can soak up the knowledge that he has to offer and be a student at the same time.
9-What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into acting?
I would tell anyone starting out to find your strengths. Write, create and star in your own projects until you define you’re niche. Take a class, learn, and be open to criticism. Stay positive and PRAY daily because you will need the strength from above!
10-What is NEXT for Moritz J. Williams?
A couple things are coming later this year. Be on the lookout for my next film The Big Payback, my new series In the Moment, and who knows, maybe we will see Dirty Laundry turned into a series.
Photo Credit: Moritz J. Williams