Jefferson Shimoyama Sanders on Acting and His Role in The Grievance Group – Screening at The Levoy Theatre in Millville, NJ 6/23


Film Courage: Where did you grow up?  What was life like at home?

Jefferson Shimoyama Sanders: I grew up in Newark, New Jersey and West Milford, New Jersey. My home life was good.

Film Courage:  Which one of your parents do you resemble most?

Jefferson:  I resemble my dad the most. Some say I look like my mom.

Jefferson at age 5

Film Courage:   Did your parents lend support toward creativity or encourage another type of career/focus?

Jefferson:   Yes, they have supported me in all that I’ve done.

Film Courage:  What were your plans after high school?

Jefferson:   After high school I went to college.

Film Courage:   What prompted you to be in fitness since your teenage years?

Jefferson:   My uncle was a wrestler so I would do push-ups and sit-ups with him and my aunt’s boyfriend was leaving for the Air Force so I would lift weights and go running with him.

Film Courage:   How did you get into fitness modeling?

Jefferson:   I got into fitness modeling through an ad that I saw.

Film Courage:   When did you win your first bodybuilding competition?

Jefferson:   I won my first competition in 2012 it was for “Hottest Beach Body in NJ.”

Film Courage:   Since you’re athletic and into sports/body building, were you ever bullied as a kid or did people stay away because of your strength/sports affiliation?  How do you handle any detractors at sporting events/competitions?

Jefferson:  I was never bullied as a kid but I had to fight sometimes. As far as sporting events went,  I go in with the killer mindset of ‘I’m the best’ and I soak up all the energy in that place and I just explode!

Film Courage:   Why is New Jersey home for you?

Jefferson:   Jersey is my home because I love the quiet nights and the Jersey shore. I plan on moving to South Jersey because of the peacefulness.

Film Courage:   How do you balance your time/structure your day between having a fitness business, acting, the Laundromat and working out/being healthy?

Jefferson:   We sold the Laundromat so now my time is broken down between the gym and acting which is easier. It was easy before because of the family support.


Film Courage:   What is your biggest obstacle to time management?

Jefferson:    It’s not an obstacle now because all I have is time so I’m ready to film at any time.

Film Courage:   If you could magically have dinner with one deceased celebrity, person of note, musician, etc., who would it be and where would you take them?

Jefferson:   It would be Jimi Hendrix and I would take him to a Hibachi Restaurant (Laughs).

Film Courage:   Most memorable line from a movie that still gets to you?

Jefferson:   “Nice guys finish last and winners go home and f*ck the prom queen” by Sean Connery in the movie “The Rock.”  It affected me because to a certain degree it’s true! (Laughs).

Film Courage:   Toughest decision of your acting career?

Jefferson:   My toughest decision was to get rid of all my video games so I could fully focus on acting and reading scripts I said to myself if I can put all these hours into acting I would be great!

Film Courage:   Most joyous decision of your acting career?

Jefferson:   I was booked as a stand-in and hand model.

Film Courage:   How did you get involved with the film The Grievance Group?

Jefferson:   My good friend Rob Hawk was telling me about this idea he had and I told him it sounded good.  When he finished the script, he cast me as “Justice.”

Rob Hawk, Write/Director/DP of The Grievance Group
Film Courage:   Who is your character?  If you met him in real life, would you like him?

Jefferson:   My character is a vigilante and if I met him I would like him as a person.


Film Courage:   Any memorable moments on set?

Jefferson:   The most memorable moments were filming in Seabreeze, NJ.   It was a test to see if you really wanted to be an actor, as it was almost 100 degrees we were running around in military outfits.  There were plenty of green head flies trying to eat us alive!

Film Courage:   How many shooting days for The Grievance Group?

Jefferson:   We filmed for about a year before it was “The Grievance Group,” it was called “Suits.” So it took a year to put the whole film together. We had to keep bringing on new cast members because others quit and having to re-do scenes. It was all filmed in Runnemede, NJ.

Film Courage:   We understand a screening is coming up on June 23rd, 2015, at 7p.m. at The Levoy Theatre in Millville, New Jersey?  Will you be in attendance?

Jefferson:   Yes, I will be walking the red carpet with the whole cast, including Brandon Jacobs who confirmed will be at the premiere and I will be around to answer questions and do interviews at the end.  (More on the screening here.)


Film Courage:   Something a director said to you which has always stayed with you?

Jefferson:   I was told to know where the cameras are and make love to them! (Laughs)

Film Courage:   Do you plan to move to Los Angeles one day?

Jefferson:  Eventually I would love to move to L.A.  I will make it happen.

Film Courage:   You say “It costs nothing to be nice.”  Can you give an example of how being courteous at the right time/place opened doors for you?

Jefferson:   I say that because your personality helps out tremendously.  I have seen plenty of actors with nasty demeanors and they are not easy to work with. I have also worked with actors that are nice and very professional. These actors give good energy and are always on time.

Film Courage:   Can you provide a few Do’s and Don’ts to future/current fitness models on staying healthy/in shape?

Jefferson:   Always get plenty of rest.

Do 10 sets and 10 reps of a weight you can handle.

Don’t over eat because you’ve had a good workout.

Don’t run on concrete, try the grass, sand and artificial turf.

Also, do what you can and make sure you stretch and remember you are in competition with yourself not anyone else!

Film Courage:   Upcoming creative plans?

Jefferson:  I plan to do some directing and writing.




Jefferson Shimoyama Sanders is an actor and fitness model. he has worked on Boardwalk Empire, Person of Interest, and The Good Wife. He’s also worked on The ID Channel and independent films such as “The Grievance Group 1 and 2” and he is currently filming new projects.