Tyler Jacob Moore was instantly smitten when he first read the script for the pilot episode of Hallmark’s new multigenerational family drama centered on a rodeo dynasty, Ride.
Moore quickly embraced the idea of this small town, rural ranching community led by a formidable matriarch, Isabel McMurray (Nancy Travis).
He was also struck by these three strong and independent female characters at the center of Ride: Isabel, Missy McMurray (Tiera Skovbye), and Valeria Galindo (Sara Garcia), who have had to struggle with loss, the hardships of life, ranching, and trying to keep their beloved ranch afloat, while also supporting each other while pursuing their own dreams.
The series begins with the aftermath of tragic loss and reveals how each character embarks on an empowering journey of transformation and self-discovery while also uncovering a twisted web of secrets, threatening to tear the family and their small Colorado town apart.
Moore portrays Gus Booker, the charming son of an oil baron who has long admired the rodeo career of Missy McMurray and wants to invest in the ranch as a way of distancing himself from his family, but along the way, faces backlash from members of the McMurray family.
Best known for his roles as Tony on Shameless and Prince Hans on Once Upon a Time, in his 15-year acting career has also appeared in Seal Team, Chicago Fire, Perry Mason, and Grey’s Anatomy.
“When it comes to my character, Gus, I was drawn to the fact that it is complex,” Moore exclusively told Monsters and Critics. “He grew up in affluence but never felt at home and is drawn to a simpler way of life.”
Moore added that the well-written scripts and extraordinary chemistry between the cast members authentically feel like “that rare lightning in a bottle when everything is going so well, and you don’t want to miss a second of it.”
Read on for Moore’s behind-the-scenes look at the Hallmark series Ride, working with Nancy Travis as the show’s matriarch, and what it is like to spend time on a working ranch.
Monsters and Critics: Let’s start with what attracted you to this series and your character, Gus Booker.
Tyler Jacob Moore: I appreciate that Gus views life as being more about relationships and people than money and things. He didn’t feel at home where he grew up, and now he’s going into a world and sort of falls in love with this ranching community, as well as Missy McMurray.
So he also feels sort of a bit of an outsider here, too. They view him as an outsider because he grew up in affluence and wealth. He yearns for this home, this thing that they have, that the McMurrays have, which is this lovely, familial love and support and sense of home. I was drawn to that part of the character.
M&C: Does Ride take place on an actual working ranch?
Tyler Jacob Moore: Yes. We shot up in Calgary on a working ranch. Which was wonderful acting-wise because we didn’t have to imagine much. Sometimes you do video games or movies where it’s all green screen, and you’re on a sound stage, and some prop guy is holding a stand-in for a real animal. But, thank goodness, on this show, it was all very real.
When you see us doing chores or working on the ranch, we’re actually doing those things. One of the amazing perks was actually getting to do some of these things and actually getting to go out into a ranch and be part of the life there.
M&C: What was one highlight for you?
Tyler Jacob Moore: I get to nurse a baby calf, and that happened in real life, and I got to do that. My character had to act like he was just enamored and so happy to be doing it, so there was probably zero acting involved because I also was equally enamored with the whole situation and loved working on the ranch.
M&C: Can you ride horses?
Tyler Jacob Moore: Yes. I grew up in a rural community in southern Illinois, and so a lot of my friends and neighbors had horses and farmland. I come from an area where I was bailing hay at the McGee farms as a kid. It’s been a while because now I’m an actor, and I live in LA, so I had to sort of get back on the saddle – pun intended. But it was lovely.
M&C: What was it like to ride again?
Tyler Jacob Moore: It was lovely to get back on a horse and get back into that community and that lifestyle. And thank goodness we had wranglers and trainers that were lovely and helped me get back on the saddle and helped some other cast members get on one and navigate it.
M&C: How do you relate to playing the outsider?
Tyler Jacob Moore: Well, I think growing up in a rural community where there wasn’t a lot of access to the arts – my gym teacher and my fifth-grade teacher basically invented a theater program for my small school because it didn’t exist and we had a lot of very talented kids in my class.
And so, I always sort of felt having a bit of an artistic bend, I felt a bit of an outsider growing up like I didn’t quite fit in there. I also, in real life, felt like a bit of an outsider because I had come from a rural community where the people are more provincial, and it is sort of a different way of life. So, I really related to that aspect of Gus, only maybe in reverse order. It was close to me. I immediately sort of resonated with his plight of wanting to find a place where he felt like he had community and a sense of belonging and struggling with that.
M&C: What do you think you’ve learned, both personally and professionally, from this series? What are the takeaways for you?
Tyler Jacob Moore: Oh, a ton. Professionally I learned a lot about production and how it all works. And being on location for four months shooting up in Calgary, I learned a lot about how all that works and the logistics of that. And how this is an ensemble cast so everybody works a little differently artistically and prepares in a unique way. So, that was great to work with the other actors and collaborate and figure out how each other worked and work together and compromise and find ways into the scenes and the characters.
Then personally I think working on the show gave me a lot of hope, which sounds cheesy but true. This is my first Hallmark project in general, and I was ignorant of a lot of who they are and what they do. To find a company that professes to put the idea of love and hope and positivity into the world while entertaining people is one thing.
The takeaway for me was a lot of hope and a lot of positivity and knowing that there are people out there who are trying to make the world a better place and provide good entertainment for hard-working people who appreciate and embrace romance and drama. Hallmark provides all of that. I honestly couldn’t be more thrilled to be working on Ride and to be a part of the Hallmark family.
M&C: Do you feel after these episodes that you’re more inclined to listen to country music or to yearn to be back in that world?
Tyler Jacob Moore: I think you’re right; I think I actually am. Just the other day I had a country playlist on Spotify and, yeah, I probably would not have done that previous to this. It’s funny because I grew up in that area and was surrounded by country music and listened to country. I hung out by campfires and did all that fun stuff. It’s like coming back home in a way of everything comes full circle. Here I am, working for 15 years professionally as an actor and living in cities, and then I find myself back on the farm and loving every minute of it. Yes, you’re absolutely right.
M&C: How do Shameless, Once Upon a Time, and your other roles all kind of meld together? Or don’t they?
Tyler Jacob Moore: Yes, they do. I think Shameless, especially, was my first sort of big break. It was an ensemble with a big cast, and it was about family. That was the original concept of the show. Obviously very different as far as content and subject matter, but the theme of working with a big cast and young actors who are all very talented. On the show Ride, I have a younger family member that we work with that you meet later on in the season and she’s lovely and so sweet. All those previous roles really prepared me to work with kids and to work with a big cast. And the subject matter of family and trying to tell a story that revolves around families loving each other and doing their best and trying to survive in a very sometimes difficult world to do so.
I think Once Upon a Time and Barry and all the other things I’ve had the great fortune of working on really helped prepare me in my acting and in just preparing for how to navigate sets and crew and deal with this job that can sometimes be overwhelming if you’re not prepared for it. So I feel very fortunate that I’ve been able to work long enough to sort of have a good sense and be prepared for most things that come my way for this show.
M&C: Talk about Nancy Travis’ character of Isabel, kind of as the matriarch on the show, but also maybe the matriarch of the ensemble family, the acting family.
Tyler Jacob Moore: That’s easy to talk about because she is the matriarch of the family, and she is the matriarch of the cast. We all adore Nancy. She is as wonderful and charming and goofy and sweet and caring and smart and talented as you would hope she is. You see her resume; she’s been doing wonderful work for so long, and she’s so successful. To then meet her and get to work with her and know that she is just as amazing of a human as she is an actress; it was a real joy. We have bonded just as a cast, and she is sort of the leader of the troupe. And I couldn’t ask for a better example to all of us on how to be professional, how to move in the world, and on sets. And in performance, in the craft of acting, she’s just fantastic.
It’s funny when the other cast members and I are asked about Nancy Travis, we get tongue-tied because she has so many wonderful attributes that we are at a loss for words sometimes because we can’t always eloquently describe how wonderful she is. But she is all the things I mentioned and much more.
M&C: What are a couple of reasons you want us to watch Ride?
Tyler Jacob Moore: I think everyone is going to love it. I think I don’t have to sell it. I think the best part about doing this show and promoting this show is we don’t have to put anything on. It is good. You’re going to like it. Your readers are going to love the romance and the drama. There’s something for everyone in the family.
I remember when Sunday was family TV night. But now if the generations of a family are in the same room, they are all on separate screens and some people have their Air Pods in or headphones on; everybody’s sort of doing their own thing. This is one of those few shows and bits of entertainment that everyone can enjoy; there is absolutely something for everyone.
M&C: Such as?
Tyler Jacob Moore: There is a family drama, there’s romance, there are intense moments, emotional stakes are high, and the stakes of the show are high. Some of this is life and death and families trying to survive. Overall, it’s really a great deal of fun.
It’s wildly captivating, and I think everybody in the family will enjoy it. I really like that you could all watch it. Whatever age, gender, culture, or background, you can all sit down together and watch something and equally be entertained and have something that you can do together as a family. So, I couldn’t be happier about that.
Ride premieres on the Hallmark Channel on Sunday, March 26, 9/8c.
Next, Exclusive: Hallmark star Erica Durance on love, loss, and rediscovering joy in her new movie, Unexpected Grace
Not a family show when you inject two gay guys. SHAME Done watching/