Interview With Actor – Jasper Cole by Stuart Anderson

Interview with actor, Jasper Cole.

When I was growing up I, like many kids of my age I suppose, had dreams of becoming an actor. In fact I pretty much had it all mapped out for myself. In my particular case I had no real desire to be a future James Bond or Count Dracula. No, for some reason I always saw myself as one of those familiar, but not too famous horror movie character actors that seem to pop up in seemingly every other film. You know how it goes –  ” oh that’s whats-his-name from that thingamajig movie”. My idea of an acting career was in part to be more concerned with the craft of acting but just as importantly (well in truth, probably more so), I wanted to spend my days biting the necks of beautiful bossomed Hammer horror actress’s rather than simply being famous. It was quite a few years until I realised that this was never going to happen, the fact that I had absolutely no tangible acting bone in my body may have had something to do with that.

It all came to a depressing head during auditions for the School Nativity play when I was 12 and losing out to Craig Witherspoon for the role of shepherd number 5 – Not only did I lose out to the only other boy left in the class, he also had a bloody speech impediment that made ‘Jesus’ come out as sounding more like “JESHUSH’. In my nightmares I can still clearly hear “Hail baby Jeshush, the Messhia!”.

I knew at that point that my career as any sort of actor was dead right there…..not that the painful memory still lingers, you understand.

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Well I’m not going to mess with him – are you?

So It is my absolute pleasure this week to have the chance to speak to an experienced actor (I won’t use the word ‘veteran’ as I always think it makes one sound decrepit and ready for the knackers yard) who has well over a century of television and film credits, not to mention a veritable string of theatre and writing credits to his name.

Jasper Cole definitely has that familiar “I know him from something” look, being a long-time stalwart of TV and film. As recently as 2013  he appeared in the much maligned (well I liked it actually) hit horror film,Hansel & Gretel as “John”, the son of the legendary actress, Dee Wallace. His film credits also Include 18 Again, Alien Nation, Get Your Stuff, Friday the 13th Part VIII, andUrban Assault-TKO. Jasper is perhaps most well known for his portrayal of the genuinely creepy Zeke Pleshette in the film MacGruber, alongside a certain Mr Val Kilmer.

As well as film he’s also appeared in numerous theatrical and television productions, with his TV work continuing notable appearances on shows such as C.S.I., Married With Children, Saved By The Bell, Touched by An Angel,Party Of Five, La Femme Nakita, Tales From The Crypt,Baywatch,PacificBlue and Clueless. Jasper has been regularly nominated for awards (nominated for best actor in the stage production of A Quiet End in 1996) besides achieving best supporting actor in the Drama-logue Awards for his role in Fool for Love in 1995. As recently as he received critical acclaim for his work on Michael Eisner’s Emmy Nominated series, Prom Queen.

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Prom Queen

It’s clear that Jasper’s career has been somewhat varied, though it would be fair to say that in recent years he has become a firm favourite of the contemporary horror community. In the last few months he has become a Facebook friend of mine (I know, get me) and not only is he talented and successful, he’s also a bloody nice guy. As you’ll now see for yourself.

Me) Firstly many thanks for taking time out of your schedule, Jasper. how’s life treating you at the moment?

J) All is good and thank you…just chillin here at my house in Palm Springs. If I’m not working in Hollywood I’m here every chance I get.

Me) For those foolish enough not know much about you, could you tell us a little about yourself – I understand that you are part Native American for example?

J) Yeah I’m part Cherokee Indian and part Irish so needless to say there was a lot of alcohol involved lol…I grew up in Athens Georgia and moved to LA when I was 23 so I have been here 27 yrs this coming September. It’s been an AMAZING journey!

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Jasper & Val Kilmer in the ‘who’s bum looks best?’ competition
Me) I know you’re probably sick of being asked what Val Kilmer was like to work in MACGRUBER – BUT,  I’ll ask you anyway!!  I think he’s often had something of a raw deal over the years in the press. What was the experience like?

J) Well, I was and am a big fan of Val’s so it was an honour to just work with him at all and it was a great time. He’s very funny and eccentric in the best way possible. We shot out in New Mexico and Val actually lives there as well and in fact at that time there were rumours he was gonna run for Lt. Governor of that state so we had some “interesting” conversations about politics. Needless to say he was GREAT in the film and a true highlight of my career.

Me) I’ve often thought that it would be preferable to be a regular working character actor than a more wider known famous figure where the craft of acting might be lost in the publicity machine. Would you exchange being well-known within horror and other genre’s but perhaps lesser so in the wider public consciousness as you are now or to be transported into the fame and money stratosphere of a Val Kilmer? 

J) lol the “grass is always greener” right? Honestly, all I ever really wanted when I started out was to be a working actor who is respected within my industry and it has taken me many years to get here but I wouldn’t change a thing…HOWEVER as I get older I would really love a steady television gig….second or third side kick maybe just recurring who shows up periodically and does his thing. Otherwise I’m good to go!

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Frank Giamona (left) & Jasper with ‘mum’ Dee Wallace

Me) Does it bother you (as it does me) that horror is still regarded as the poor man of movies and something merely to “move on from” for an actor?

J) Its a real mystery to me because horror is one of the most profitable at the box office consistently…low budget or studio level and for me I have moved “into horror” rather than “move on” from…I’m truly grateful to be a part of this genre on any level. The fans are the most loyal and diligent in the world.


Me) You have a distinctive look (you know, good looking with more than a hint of menace) 🙂 . Have you had to fight against being typecast in movies as ‘bad guy number 1’ ? 

J) Thanks,,I always laugh and say it took me so many years to be TYPECAST that I hope to stay on this beloved “list” til the very end…Theatre is the place to stretch as an actor and try different parts….TV/film is where you do your consistent thing and I am forever grateful to be typecast.

Me) It seems that you’re not that busy at the moment – well that is apart from appearing in THE PURGE ANARCHY opening in July. You apparently also have two horror thrillers coming out soon, CAPTURED and MODEL HOME. In addition to those I hear that you are about to start the horror film SAVAGE SISTAS.   Oh yes, if that wasn’t enough you’re in the middle of shooting DARK SPIRITS  opposite the gorgeous and talented Lynn Lowry and Mindy Robinson. What can you tell us about some of these productions? 

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Jasper and Erica Renee Johnson from the set of Savage Sistas
J) Wow..when you put it like that I do seem busy..lol…seriously I’m beyond blessed to have worked on these great projects Obviously to work with Michael Bay and Jason Blum in THE PURGE: ANARCHY was a huge  honor and its an amazing script and film. I play a “Homeless Man” who lives in a dipsy dumpster trash can and appears during the purge in a very scary way…….CAPTURED is another great script written and directed by Joe Arias and its stars Brittany Curan and Kristin Prout and a ensemble of amazing young actors…I Play “Shelly” the creepy groundskeeper who holds a lot of family secrets that get revealed throughout the film……MODEL HOME was a thrill to work with Monique Gabrilla Curnen and Emmy winner Kathy Baker. I play “Walker” a desert rat who stumbles into a nightmare and cant get out. Patrick Cunningham was a superb director to work with and his script is one of the best ever and a concept we haven’t seen before…… SAVAGE SISTAS is my first lead in a horror film and it’s a blessing to actually play a “Cop” for a change although he’s not necessarily a good cop after all. Dan Smith has written and directed a true original film and the female leads are unique to the horror genre and KICK BUTT!……DARK SPIRITS was a chance to reunite with one of the CAPTURED producers Ewan Bourne and I play a “Dark Butler” who is up to no good but is enslaved to his “Master” who is played by the stunning  Mindy Robinson.

Me) Would you possibly be ably to tell Lynn Lowry that I’ve been more than a little smitten with her for quite a while and that I’d love to interview her…….pretty please? 

J) Lynn is so lovely and kind and I will most definitely tell her and I’m sure you will love her too!
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The lovely Lynn Lowry

Me) Have you ever worked over here in the UK? 

J) have not worked there but two of my goals left for my career are to do theatre in both New York and London.

Me) Finally, the most important question (remember, I’m a psychologist) – Alien or Predator?

J) Wow that’s a tough one but I’m gonna have to go with PREDATOR

Me) Thanks Jasper, mate for taking the time to answer the questions. Take care!  

J) Thanks so much and keep up the great work!

So there you have it. He has a varied & successful career that keeps on going from strength to strength. He lives in Palm Springs, works in Hollywood but has managed to stay a genuinely nice guy with a good line answering my inane interview questions. So I will forgive him for getting the Alien or Predator question wrong – though obviously the man can look after himself so maybe I’ll keep that piece of information from him…..

Seriously though, I would like to thank Jasper Cole for the interview. A good guy & a good actor.
Jasper can be viewed, contacted and researched at the following links;

An Interview with Jasper Cole by Dean Sills

jc1An Interview with Jasper Cole by Dean Sills

UKHS – Hello Jasper and welcome to UK Horror Scene. Thank you for giving us your time especially when you are busy. You are a superb veteran character actor with over 100 credits, well done! How did you get into acting?

JC – My pleasure, thank you as well. I started acting right after high school with a few years of college at The Atlanta Alliance Theatre School where I studied all aspects: writing, directing, acting etc…. I co-wrote and co-starred in a play WILLOW SPRINGS NOW with Becky Canady and after a brief run in Atlanta we moved with the show to LA in 1987 and the show was a hit and the rest as they say is History! lol

I stayed here in Hollywood, got a MGR and agent and started to work in commercials and TV/Films and lots of more theatre. I have done over 20 plays and 50 commercials, Thankfully!
jc2UKHS – UK fans will probably know you best for your unforgettable co-starring role alongside Val Kilmer in ‘MacGruber’. In the movie you play Zeke Pleshette, one of Val Kilmer’s henchman. What was it like working with Val Kilmer and did you enjoy filming in New Mexico?

JC – Val was fantastic in every way. I was and I am a fan of his work so for me it was a real privilege to work with him and he was very funny in the film. He wasn’t know for doing a lot of comedy so I know he really loved the script and was hilarious as “Cunth”. We talked politics a lot cause at that time there was rumors that Val was interested in running for Governor of New Mexico where he also lives. I’m blessed that ‘MacGruber’ has garnered a cult following on DVD etc and there is talk of a sequel as well.

 

jc3UKHS – Well done Jasper. I actually remember Val beginning his acting career in comedy playing Nick Rivers in ‘Top Secret!’ back in 1984. Can you tell us about some of your upcoming releases, including ‘The Purge: Anarchy’, ‘Captured’, ‘Model Home’ and ‘Fields of the Undead’ and the characters you play?

JC – I am really blessed to be working on these great films starting with The Purge: Anarchy…. I play a “Homeless Man” who lives in a dimpsy dumpster trash can during the 12 hour purge and it’s creepy and scary. It was an honor to work with producers Michael Bay and Jason Blum and of course director James DeMonaco and it comes out in June. I was a huge fan of the first Purge and this one will definitely make the fans happy.Captured is another great film about a group of young musicians who return to the lead singer’s family home to shoot a music video and I play “Shelley” the groundskeeper who has been there since she was a kid and knows lots of secrets.

Its stars Brittany Curran and Kirsten Prout and it’s directed by the amazing Joe Arias. Model Home is one of the best scripts I have read ever…it’s a thriller about a foreclosed home that is “staged” by hiring a single mother and her young son to actually live in the house while they try to sell it. Monique Gabriela Curnen stars as the mother who also happens to be bipolar and lives in a paranoid delusional state. I play a desert rat named “Walker” who is in the wrong place at the wrong time when he stumbles into her nightmare. Director Patrick Cunningham is one to watch out for and the film also stars Emmy winning actress Kathy Baker.
Fields of the Undead and Spirit are two films that came to me via one of the producers of Captured, Ewan Bourne who offered me these two roles and I am thrilled to be in them. They are both grindhouse films that are gritty and raw. In Fields I’m opposite two horror legends Michael Berryman and Kane Hodder and in Spirit I co-star as a creepy Butler opposite Horror veteran Lynn Lowry.

 

jc4UKHS – You are about to start work on a new Horror movie called ‘Savage Sistas’. In the movie a group of street smart women ( including the actresses Erica Renee Davis and Denee Busby ) get stranded on a lonely highway to Vegas, they must fight for survival against a family of psychotic rednecks. Can you tell us about your character Badcop and will the movie be similar to ‘The Hills Have Eyes’ and ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’? 

JC – Savage Sistas is another unique horror film especially since the four leads are beautiful African, American women who kick ass and really aren’t victims at all….Daniel Smith is a new director in this genre but has a long impressive resume. I was first and foremost thrilled to get to play a COP even if he isn’t a very nice one..lol..because I’m usually always on the wrong side of the law and yes there are shades of Hills Have Eyes and Chainsaw in this film but it’s really driven by the amazing female leads. Rarely if ever do you see four strong women in a Horror film who don’t get killed in the first 5 minutes (SPOILER ALERT) lol

Savage Sistas (Trailer)

 

[youtube=www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yRoV77QXZU]

UKHS – What would you consider to be the three main ingredients that you
need to make a classic horror flick?

JC – Blood, a knife and a really LOUD scream!

 

jc5UKHS – If you could have dinner with three guests (living or dead), who
would you choose and why?

JC – Wow that’s a tough one….first up, well for being a comedy legend and for having the most amazing work ethic ever….Joan Rivers….I’m not star struck easily but that would be a moment for me. Our paths have almost crossed over the years and hopefully they will. Second, I wish I had known and worked with my favorite all time actor Montgomery Clift so just to sit down and talk with him would be a gift and lastly I would love to be able to meet and talk with legendary director/producer Roger Corman…I was fortunate enough to be invited to his home for a Christmas party some years back but only spoke briefly because there were so many people but for me to actually have the time to hear all about his journey and the ups and downs he has conquered along the way would be a real gift!

jc7UKHS – Finally, what is the hardest role that you have had to play and do
you go to extreme lengths to prep for your parts and stay in character?

JC – I will answer the second part first…every actor is different and we all have our own approach to what we do..for me….I always say acting is REACTING and staying in the moment and just keeping it simple and real….I don’t over analyze it too much at all because I know its not brain surgery and I like to have fun when I work.

Tv/film is all about playing it small and the camera picks up every little moment so you have to keep it small and remember that whatever you are feeling the camera will show it. Probably playing the mute son in HANSEL & GRETEL last year opposite Dee Wallace was a challenge because I had never played a character that really didn’t talk in the film and yet I had to try to make him real and not a caricature.