Christian Cooke: Under His Spell

Christian is no stranger to the TV world, having done a lot of series in the UK. Now venturing into the big screen, there’s no stopping him. When Christian was nine years old, he was part of an amateur dramatics club where his mum, together with his younger brother, would take them. From there, Christian had an instant fascination with acting and couldn’t get enough of it.

A native of Leeds, he moved to London and has been based there for a while. “I live in London, but I spend a lot of time in Los Angeles, so I’m sort of back-and forth. I do get quite homesick and have been missing my friends a lot,” admits Christian. He played Freddie Taylor in the British coming-of-age comedy drama written and directed by English comedians Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, Cemetery Junction. Christian also starred in a bunch of TV series in the UK namely Demons, Trinity, where he co-starred with Game of Thrones’ Charles Dance, and The Promise after breaking through in the US soil. Now, he’s part of the US supernatural drama Witches of East End. STATUS caught up with the busy actor to find out about his upcoming projects, his experience working with a Lannister, and his new movie, Love, Rosie.

What have you been up to lately?
I’ve been busy. I’ve been asked to direct a short film by writer Ray Robinson, a British novelist who wrote his first screenplay. I did a film last year called Electricity; Ray wrote the novel to Electricity, which was then adapted to a screenplay. I’ve also been preparing for this movie that I’ll be directing and I can’t wait to get things together.

“Philip Seymour Hoffman was always and still is my idol. For me , he was sort of my acting god.”

How was it like working with the likes of Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant, and Tywin Lannister himself, Charles Dance?
It was amazing. I’m a fan of Ricky, Steve, and Charles; they are kind of my idols in a way. The part in Cemetery Junction was a part I thought that I wouldn’t get, so it was a surprise that I got it. For them to cast me in their film was really humbling and exciting. It’s incredible to work with people
that you’ve watched and admired for a long time, so it was an amazing experience.

Does it get intimidating working with these actors?
I’m not the sort of person who gets freaked out or overwhelmed with people who are well-known or famous. Ultimately, they’re just normal people doing their job that happen to be in the public eye. I really don’t find it intimidating because if it’s the people you admire, it’s more of exciting.

How did you know that acting was the career you should choose?
I just fell in love with it. I love doing it. When I realized that I could actually do it for a living, I started to get bits of work. I would audition and get parts. That started when I was young and I just thought that this is something that I want to do. I’ve always been very ambitious and I just carried on doing it. I never thought about doing anything else. Just as soon as I realized that this is a viable profession, I had my heart set on it.

How do you adapt to fit a certain role that you have to portray be it in a TV series or movie?
It’s different for every role; it depends on whatever the part or what the character dictates. At times, I have to do a lot of research. It’s all about thinking about the character, what would be  truthful for the character in terms of what decisions he would make and why.

Can you tell us about your upcoming movie, Love, Rosie?
It’s based on a novel called Where Rainbows End by Cecelia Ahern. It’s a great story. The actual novel is set over 50 years, but the film was adapted over 12 to 18 years. It’s this romantic comedy about two best friends that are meant to be together but different circumstances are pulling them apart. I play the love interest of the lead in the film, Lilly’s character, someone that she meets also in school that she ends up being with.

What is your dream role? And which actor would you want your dream scene to be with?
As I continue to get older, I’d like to do Shakespeare on stage or do some classical theater. Philip Seymour Hoffman was always and still is my idol. For me, he was sort of my acting god.

What projects are you looking forward to next?
I have Electricity that comes out this autumn. In terms of acting, there are a few lists bubbling that I’m looking to start in autumn, we’ll see which of them comes off. Then right now, I’m just working on getting this short film and getting the logistics of everything, so hopefully we’ll start shooting before Christmas.

Photographed by Ross Ferguson
Published in STATUS Magazine, October 2014

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