Beverly Hills, CA -- Criminal Minds star Shemar Moore last night breezed into CBS' all-star party at the Television Critics Association Tour ready to answer any and all questions about the current controversies in his personal and professional lives. He was cool, calm and collected and had a lot to say.
About co-star Mandy Patinkin, who did not show up for work last week when Minds began its first day of production on its third season, Moore said, "Mandy has a volatile personality. He has his good days and he has his bad days. I was just with him and his wife in Monte Carlo four, five weeks ago [doing publicity for Criminal Minds]. Mandy was fine. [We] developed a pretty good friendship."
"If he reads these quotes, I'll say this to his face: 'I don't like what you did, Mandy. The way you did it. But I still learned a lot from you and respect you and I want the best for you.'"
"Nobody saw an unhappy guy," Moore continued. "Everybody thought he got the breath of fresh air he needed with the hiatus. The last day I saw him it was he and his wife's anniversary. He was leaving Monte Carlo, going through London and back to New York to go enjoy his anniversary. I said, 'I'll see you on the 11th' and he said, 'Yep.'"
"I don't want to speak against the network. It's not my place. But I can say this: It seems like the network is looking for a way to forgive him, like they're looking for an excuse as to why he would do this. The bottom line is he didn't show up to work, with no warning. He didn't tell anybody that he was going to do this. We showed up Wednesday [July] 11th for a table reading at 3 o'clock. Supposedly he called somebody an hour before that and said, 'See you in an hour.'"
"Since that conversation with Mandy nobody has talked to him. I left him a message. We just haven't heard from him. We don't know what he's doing. We know he's okay. We know there are people who have seen him. He's not in harm's way. He's fine. He's just not speaking to anybody. There's nothing wrong with him. Mandy's issues are his own issues."
"He's an emotional guy," Moore explained. "Sometimes he's the strongest man in the world, the proudest man in the world, and sometimes he was very much like a little child and you almost got the sense you had to take care of him. He felt safe around me and I was flattered by that. He would say to me that he was always uncomfortable as an actor because he's so meticulous, such a perfectionist. You can't take away from his talent. You really can't. You talk about a guy who has no shame, a guy who's not afraid to look like an ass, who will take risks. He never played the safe card. I really was inspired by that."
"When he sang is when he felt great. He feels that's the gift he was given from above. I know he's a family man. I've seen him with his children. I've seen him with his wife. He's not going to commit suicide. It's not that kind of thing. I knew he didn't like being far away from his family. His wife was always in New York holding down the fort, so to speak. His kids are grown and traveling and don't spend a lot of time in L.A. so I know at times he was lonely."
"The hours on our show are crazy," Moore continued. "We're doing 12 hours, 16 hours and the content is tough. The content doesn't bother me. It's a job. I'm an actor. I learn my lines, I say my lines and then I distance myself from it. I go back to my life. He took it a little more personally, so that's why I say, 'In the end, if you need to leave the show to kind of feel better about yourself, that's fine. You want to be closer to your family, that's fine. You want to go sing songs and travel because it makes you feel good, that's fine. But give us a head's up. Give us a warning. We just want the courtesy and the respect that we deserve. We felt like if he had given us that initially this would be much easier to deal with. But he essentially slapped us in the face. That may sound extreme, [but] he simply didn't show up for work and hasn't told us why. Collectively, we don't know what we did wrong, because we always did what we could to make him comfortable. We just don't know what happened for him to make this decision."
Asked about the future of the show and finding a replacement for Patinkin, Moore said that many names have been mentioned, including Michael Keaton and Geena Davis. "But Criminal Minds is not about Mandy Patinkin, it's not about Geena Davis, it's not about Shemar Moore. I think we have an opportunity with Mandy being gone to show this is a quality show without a particular star name. I do think there needs to be a captain. That slot needs to be filled. But I don't think we need a name for us to be successful."
Of his recent arrest, Moore admitted, "My problem is I like fast cars. Since I was a kid I've always liked fast cars and trucks. I'll drive fast late at night on the 5 [freeway]. That particular night the mistake I made was I was driving too fast. As far as any alcohol related charges, they were all dropped because they really were not an issue. The lesson I learned the hard way is I've got to slow down. I was speeding. I do it a lot. I know there are children out there. I don't want to send the wrong message. I'm not a reckless person. I'm really proud of my image. I'm really responsible as a person. I got a hard-headed momma who raised me and I got to answer to her. I'm a risk taker. I'm not above the law. I was taking my chances and I got caught."
On a lighter note, Moore smiled when he was asked about the very revealing photos of him naked on a beach that turned up on the Internet last week. "Are you talking about me 'frolicking' on the beach?" he laughed. "The worst part of that whole thing for me was the [word] 'frolicking.' To me that sounds like I'm skipping or something like that. I have no problems with it. What I have a problem with is they're making such an issue out of me being gay!"
"I'll say right now, I'm not gay. Not even a little bit. I love women. Women are God's greatest creation. But I have no problems with people that are gay. My godfather was gay. He died of AIDS. I have dear friends that are gay. I'm very straight."
"The article said that I got 'caught.' I didn't get 'caught.' I willingly went to Hawaii. I willingly went to Maui with two girlfriends of mine. I'm a single man, I had two girlfriends out there, and we wanted to go skinny dipping. They wouldn't let us do that at the hotel. I said, 'Okay, there's a nude beach down the street.' I had never been to it but I said, 'As far as I know it's a famous unisex place.' So we go to the beach. It's interesting that when you see the pictures you don't see the two girls, because that's not interesting. 'Let's make him gay and we can sell some papers!'"
"Will I do it again? Probably. I don't have a problem being naked. I just don't. We're there gay women and men on the beach? Maybe. In the article they said, 'Shemar seemingly wrestled another naked guy in the water.' Seemingly! The best part was, 'Shemar was on this beach, which has a unisex section and a gay section, and Shemar was near the gay section.' So that makes me 'nearly gay.'"
"It's been funny to me, but I know this town is very fragile with perceptions and images and a lot of people don't read articles and they only see the pictures. Even my friends were like, 'Why were you naked on a beach?' Because I had two hot chicks with me who wanted to go skinny dipping! I don't want that to be misconstrued, but I'm single and I don't have a wife. I got me."
"Let me just say this," Moore concluded. "Thank God the water was fairly warm! It wasn't my best day, but it wasn't an awful day. That's all I'm gonna say!"
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Originally posted at Jack Myers MediaVillage.com: Where television fans, industry professionals, and advertisers meet to read and discuss original columns, blogs, reviews, interviews, videos, photos and more. MediaVillage is dedicated to enabling viewers to SoundOff to TV executives and talent, and provide ongoing feedback to TV programmers and advertisers on TV viewers' passions, preferences and emotional connections.