Shameik Moore & Jake Johnson Interview: Into the Spider-Verse

Shameik Moore began acting in smaller roles on shows such as Tyler Perry’s House of Payne, Reed Between the Lines, and Joyful Noise. He gained wider recognition with his character of Malcolm in 2015’s Dope, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.  His most recent role is voicing Miles Morales, the new Spider-Man, in the animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

Jake Johnson has appeared in dozens of films and television roles including Principal Dadier in 21 Jump Street, Randy “Chilli” Chilliano in Tag, and Sergeant Chris Vail in 2017’s The Mummy, opposite Tom Cruise.  He is best known for playing Nick Miller on Fox’s New Girl for seven seasons. Now, he voices Peter B. Parker, an aging Spider-Man, in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

Screen Rant: Jake, you and I talked about this way earlier on in the year.  And finally seeing it. Oh my God, this is something that's special.

Jake Johnson: Yeah. I think so too.

Screen Rant: I'm a huge Spider-Man fan. It’s something special. So, Lord and Miller have been on this for the last two and a half years. Now, that you're finally seeing it come to life, and you're seeing all the fan reaction, what's that like for you guys?

Jake Johnson: It's what you just said. I think your reaction is the same as my reaction. I had been working on it for two years with them, two years plus.

Same with Shameik. We'd been in that booth over and over. We talked, I think when we were doing press for Tag, and I was like, “I can't say anything about it but it's going to be good.” And I thought the reason it was going to be good was the work that Phil was putting it in, Chris, our directors were putting in, the animators. And now that it's all come together with the music and the feeling of this movie, it's really nice to be in a movie that's special. We don't get to make that many special movies anymore. So, when you're, as an actor, when you get put in one, that’s a lucky thing.

Shameik Moore: Yeah.

Screen Rant: Now, Shameik, I heard that you were recording your lines all the way up until like last week. So, this has been a long process for you. What's that collaboration process been like? And how much of you is actually in Miles in this version of Miles?

Shameik Moore: There’s a lot of me in Miles, I would say. But Chris and Phil said that it was the sweetness and the swagger that came through the character.  And I'm thankful to be a part of it.

Screen Rant: Now, obviously, in the Spider-Verse, besides Peter and Miles, which of the other Spider-characters is your favorite?

Shameik Moore: Favorite or who we want to be?

Screen Rant: Well, who would you want to be?

Shameik Moore: You said favorite. So, we're going to say that.

Jake Johnson: [LAUGHTER] Not giving the man a break. Well, I've got two young daughters, so I'm really excited about Spider-Gwen. I wouldn't necessarily want to play Spider-Gwen.  I'm pretty happy being Peter Parker. But I'm really glad that when they see this movie, they are going to see a Spider-person who is a hero and who saving the day. Not just kissing the person saving the day. Who's kicking butt, just like everybody else. I'm wearing pink and looking cool doing it. And so, I'm really glad she's in this movie.

Shameik Moore: Same. I would say she's my second favorite.

Screen Rant: Another strong relationship too, is Miles’ relationship with Jefferson, his father. Talk to me about that, about just that relationship alone, because he has a lot of role models, whether they be positive or questionable. So, talking about his relationship with his father.

Shameik Moore: Miles, his relationship with his father is pretty straightforward, you know. I mean, I was about to say it's the basic relationship of a father and son, but that's sadly not the truth. It's not the truth. I mean, it's a loving situation. His dad is in his life.  And taking care of him. He's a police officer and Miles is a smart kid. House taken care of, wife is my mother, and they’re cooking breakfast in the morning. Making sure I have my books. I'm walking to school and he wants to take me. And like, “I'm walking now. No, I'm taking you now. I'm walking.” Miles, it's all that. It's like that's a family family. They're strict. My Dad wants me to do what he wants me to do. I'm his son and you know, I comply because that's my father and I think there's a lot of love between them too.

Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse Miles Morales

Screen Rant: So, I mean, that's one thing. Like I'm not going to lie, like I teared up a little bit in a few scenes. Because that was almost a very similar relationship I had with my father. And it hit home for me. So, obviously this movie has a great message, which is, “Anybody can be a hero, anybody can be Spider-Man, or Spider-person. What are you hoping audiences take away besides that message?

Jake Johnson: I mean, that's the big message I hope they take away.

Shameik Moore: That is the message.

Jake Johnson: That is the message. Honest, I hope they have a lot of fun. It's a really fun movie. A movie like this, that does have a lot of messaging, is about inclusion and it is very two thousand eighteen. If the movie wasn't really good and really fun, it wouldn't matter. This movie isn't a lesson in class.  This isn't like you're not in school learning Spider-Man into the Spider-Verse. So, what I want people to take away is, I want people to walk out that theater and go, “Man, I want to see that again. I just liked it.”

Screen Rant: I want to see it again.

Jake Johnson: Yeah, I liked it. And then the message behind it is that any of you guys can do it. You can be a superhero. You can change the world. But while you're watching it, just have some fun and eat some popcorn.

More: Read Screen Rant's Into the Spider-Verse Review

Key Release Dates
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) release date: Dec 14, 2018
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