Mason Cook: From 'Monday Mornings' To 'The Lone Ranger'
July 3rd, 2013 12:25pm EDT
If you're headed to see Disney's The Lone Ranger today, you'll get to catch Mason Cook. The young actor joins Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer in the summer blockbuster, after playing the small but pivotal role of Quinn McDaniels in the first two episodes of TNT's Monday Mornings this spring. BFTV recently connected with Mason to ask him what it was like to work on Gore Verbinski's big movie, as well as to be on the operating table at Chelsea General.
"The Pirates of the Caribbean movies are among my 5 all-time favorite movies, so getting to work with the same team who did those was and is totally surreal!" Mason told us. "There was never any question that it was going to be a huge blockbuster because with this group, it’s “go big or go home.” But the cool thing to me is that with The Lone Ranger, Gore Verbinski, Jerry Bruckheimer, and Johnny were determined to make a blockbuster that wasn’t all CGI or green screen, so they used real locations in the middle of nowhere and lots of authentic sets. I am honored to be a part of anything that puts my name next to these guys."
Mason plays the character of Will, and he's sworn to secrecy about most of his role, since it involves a "surprise element" that he doesn't want to give away. But he didn't leave us hanging. "What I can say is that all of my scenes in the movie are just Will and Tonto, and that it is our meeting that frames the entire story of The Lone Ranger," he explained. "Since I worked one-on-one with Johnny the whole time, I really got to know him and how he works, which was so cool. He was always very supportive of me and when he would give me compliments on my acting, I would be speechless!"
"We just had the world premiere at Disney’s California Adventure theme park, which was insane," he continued. "That was the biggest and most energetic red carpet I have ever done. There were thousands of fans lined up and tons of press and the red carpet wrapped through the park. They had one of the gigantic trains built for the movie there for all the fans to see.
"The final cut of the movie was everything I pictured when I read the script brought to life in a big way – it was unbelievably awesome!"
On the small screen, Mason played a similarly significant role on Monday Mornings; it's Quinn's death which brings hotshot neurosurgeon Tyler Wilson (Jamie Bamber) down to earth, and continues to haunt him throughout the entire season. "It a was pretty intense story and it was intense to film as well," Mason reflected. "I wore a prosthetic scalp piece that looked like half my head was shaved for the surgery, and [executive producer] Dr. Sanjay Gupta organized the surgery scene. Since he is an expert neurosurgeon, he did all the markings and placed all the equipment where it would be in real life. My dad had a hard time watching me film that scene because it looked so real - and when it aired, my whole family was crying."
"I have done some really awesome things in my five years as an actor," he told us, "but not a lot of the projects I have done are really for kids, except for Spy Kids: All the Time in the World. That is one of my favorites for a couple of reasons. It is what really launched my movie career and I had so much fun making it. I got to do all my own stunts and there were so many cool special effects to work with and, of course, Jessica Alba!" he added with a laugh. "I get stopped every day by kids who know me from that movie."
"Acting will always be where you will find me. I really feel like I have found my passion. That probably sounds weird coming from an almost 13-year old, but it is really true," he added. "Growing up on sets and learning everything else that goes into making a movie makes me like the idea of directing someday. I love everything about making movies – except waiting to hear if I got the part."
That doesn't mean he's letting his growing career stop him from having a normal life, though. "Even though I have a job, I am still a kid and I still like to act like one," Mason said. "My favorite things to do are definitely surfing, skateboarding and soccer. I just did a soccer camp, which was so much fun. Other than doing a phone interview during lunch one day, I was just a regular kid.
"I also work with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (www.cff.org) to help raise awareness and money to find a cure for the disease. I have a close personal friend with the disease. She fights through every day by taking 40 pills and doing breathing treatments. Most people don’t know this, but CF research programs are not government funded, so all the money used to find a cure is raised by donations. I help in any way I can. I emceed a big fundraiser in Dallas earlier this year and look forward to getting more involved."
In addition to being a sports fan and working with charity, he's also a movie buff. "I love all kinds of movies – comedies and dramas. Some of my favorites, other than Pirates of the Caribbean, are Anchorman, Top Gun, all the Iron Man movies and Zero Dark Thirty. My dad’s favorite movie is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, so we watch that every year as a family and I love that too!
Then there's this fun tidbit: "When I did press interviews for Spy Kids, I was asked who my favorite actors are and who I wanted to work with in the future," Mason revealed. "Every time, I answered Johnny Depp and Steve Carell. What’s weird is that was two years ago, and now I have worked with both of them!" So he's already made some of his dreams come true - and he's on track to achieve a lot more in the entertainment industry.
The Lone Ranger is in theaters starting today. You can also follow Mason on Twitter (@TheMasonCook).
(c)2013 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.
Photo Credits: Zimbio