Shameik Moore Talks the Pressures of Starring in 'Wu-Tang: An American Saga'

In an interview with In Studio, the actor also discussed the unlikely success of the rap group and his intricate preparation process for a role.

Actor Shameik Moore has been riding high from multiple successful projects in both film and television, including Dope, Netflix’s The Get Down and voicing Miles Morales in the Oscar-winning animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Now Moore is stepping into the shoes of Sha Rayder – a.k.a Raekwon from ‘90s hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan in Hulu’s new series Wu-Tang: An American Saga.  

The 10-episode series from RZA and fellow creator Alex Tse tells the origin story of Wu-Tang Clan and its members in early ‘90s Staten Island, their rise to the top and how they changed the world of hip-hop.

Moore told In Studio With The Hollywood Reporter that Wu-Tang member and creator of the Hulu series RZA brought him onto the project to play Raekwon, but he felt the pressure to perfect his portrayal of the rapper and make it feel different from his other roles.  

“I felt pressured, I can speak for myself,” he explained. “I was focused on what I needed to be doing so, the pressure on me was that I didn’t have to audition like everybody else but I never wanted it to be The Get Down. You know, that was my concern on paper for me and my team. It was like, how does this differ? But it is a totally different story, it’s a different time, the approach is different, it’s gritty all the way through.”

“This person that exists, how he walks, how he talks, how he laughs, how he looks when he gets mad, how he sounds when he raps, how he eats food, that’s what I’m doing. And the decision that he made in the actual story,” he continued. “So the pressure is there for me, for sure. That was the biggest thing. That is my audition to myself, to the world. Because this ain’t Shameik, this is somebody else. Can he make me believe that he’s Raekwon?”

Moore also discussed the success of Wu-Tang Clan and why they’re a group that can’t be duplicated in music, saying, “They just stuck to the script, they never sold out. They were unique especially for the time. Entertaining and inspiring people, that’s what Wu-Tang became.”

He continued: “They were the most unlikely situation to become a success story out of America, which is why they call it Wu-Tang: An American Saga.”

Wu-Tang: An American Saga is now streaming on Hulu.