One of the most prolific character actors in Hollywood, Jasper Cole has over one hundred television and film credits to his name, more often than not being cast as the villain. Along with his acting, Jasper hosts his own successful podcast, One on One with Jasper Cole. Jasper joins OutTakes to discuss his career in acting, radio and more!
OT: Congratulations for your recent appearance on ABC’s The Rookie (April 9th) as “Crackhead Fred”. How was that shoot?
JC: First of all, I LOVE the name of the character! For me, it was exciting because I generally play really bad nasty guys. I’m either killing people or getting killed. But Fred was actually kind of sweet and vulnerable. He was clean for 30 days. He was a druggie for the neighborhood, but is becoming an informant for the cops. Fingers crossed that Fred will make a return appearance next season.
OT: When you play a role such as a drug user, do you research that role as an actor?
JC: What is funny is that I don’t drink. I’ve never done drugs. No judgment against people who do, but it is ironic that I don’t have that in my real life. But I’ve certainly had lots of addiction around me – in family and friends. So I am well aware of the effects of it. I bring a certain vulnerability to these characters; and that’s a certain something about myself that I just bring on camera. Even with my bad guys, they are often sympathetic; and people pull for them for some reason. But a lot of the character comes from the script and the look. I’m not very Method when it comes to acting. I’m really more about being in the moment and listening and reacting. But everybody has their own process. Whatever works.
OT: With all the villain roles that you have played, have you ever played a role so bad that you had difficulty acting out the role?
JC: I did a horror film called Hansel and Gretel where I was one half of a set of twins. Dee Wallace played the mom. There was so much killing and stabbing. I do these parts, but they’re not necessarily things that I watch. And that had a lot of blood! The only redeeming quality of that character was I decided he was clearly a little affected mentally. The mother had been so abusive all through their lives that I blamed it on her. But that was a hard one to shake at the end of the day because we were just killing constantly. And the gore of it all. But in general, it’s make believe. You have to have a lot of laughter going on the set and keep it light. It’s all an illusion. Actors really live between “Action” and “Cut”. Those are the great moments. There’s a real adrenaline rush going on.
OT: You have over 100 TV and film credits as a character actor. What is the secret to your longevity in this business?
JC: Thank you. Well, what that really means is that I’m old! (laughs) When I moved to LA in 1987, I was not a Hollywood lead guy, but I also wasn’t a character actor either. I looked a lot younger at the time. But I was lucky to work. I would play the college kid or the best friend. But really, it wasn’t until I turned 40 that I made a conscious decision that I really needed to create something that would set me apart. So I really grew out my hair and the beard. I got cast in a Michael Eisner series called Prom Queen playing an abusive stepfather. That was one of my first mean character parts. After I did that, I decided that I really needed to try to get in my own niche. So I changed my look and reintroduced myself to the casting agents in the business. It was the greatest thing that ever happened. In TV and film, you want to get typecast because typecasting gets you on that list where people will know you for certain roles. And it is a fact in our business that character actors tend to work more as they get older. As we get uglier and older! (laughs) More grizzled.
OT: You are originally from Athens, Georgia. How did you find your way into becoming a professional actor?
JC: I grew up the youngest of four boys. We were all athletes. I grew up in a college town; and I was always a closeted thespian. I wanted to act, but it wasn’t considered cool at my school. I was secretly very envious of the drama department; and I was always really into watching television, especially sitcoms. I went to college for two years; and again, I was fighting that urge of wanting to be an actor. Finally, I gave in to it; and I moved to Atlanta and enrolled at the Alliance Theater. They had a two-year all-acting program. I immersed myself in in it. And that’s where I met Becky Kennedy who was a fellow Georgian; and we workshopped plays. We created a play called Willow Springs Now. It was set in a cable access station; and we played these two hosts. We put it up in Atlanta; and there was a producer in LA, Ivan Spiegel, who saw the show. He basically said to us, “If you ever come to LA, I’d love to produce your show”. Well, we packed up the cars and drove to LA a month later with our little show! And he was surprised that we really did it. It is such a classic and embarrassing story now, but it all worked out. He didn’t know what to do with us, but there was a long running play called Bleacher Bums that was playing in LA at the Century City Playhouse. So he let us go on as the late night comedy act after Bleacher Bums. The show ran for two years; and that kind of set everything in motion for me 32 years ago.
OT: What is your dream role?
JC: My dream job is to be part of a police procedural ensemble where I am the sidekick. Now that I’m getting older, I don’t want to work every day for 14 hours. Any time I’m on one of these one hour shows, it would be so nice to have that consistency of a place to go back regularly. As a guest star, you pop in. It’s always like the first day of school, but you only go for one or two days. I’m putting out to the universe. It’s time for me to be a series regular on one of these ensembles. That would be fantastic.
OT: Out of all the roles that you’ve had, is there a certain one that you are the most proud of?
JC: I was on a show called The Forgotten with Christian Slater where I was a character who ran a rundown motel. On the comedy side, I loved doing Brooklyn 99 playing the oolong slayer. I love comedy, but even on comedies, I get cast as the weird creepy guy. So I’m not really ever the funny guy. I might sort of be the set-up of the joke.
OT: Along with your acting, you also have your own podcast, One on One with Jasper Cole. What inspired you to start your own podcast?
JC: I did a movie called MacGruber, a big S&L comedy back in 2010. When I went on the press tour for that movie (which was really my first big principal role in a studio film), I went on a show called On Air with Tony Sweet here in Los Angeles. My basic personality is funnier and lighter; and I have kind of a caustic sense of humor. I’m nothing really like the characters I play. Tony suggested that I do my own show We came up with my first show called On the Set with Jasper Cole. It was really a show that I created where I wanted to highlight people in the industry besides actors. We did that until 2015. Then I wanted to do a show that was a lot more one on one where I could sit down and talk to people. I fell in love with doing it. Luckily I gained an audience; and now I’m on my seventh year. I enjoy really talking to people and interviewing them; and I love being funny on the air as well.
OT: What is the biggest challenge with being a podcaster?
JC: Sometimes it’s just getting the listeners. On the business side of it. Getting the advertisers. For me, the challenge has been making sure my schedule allows me to be available to do it. Sometimes it’s ironic and challenging when you have a guest on One on One; and they don’t want to talk, so they give me one word answers when we have 45 minutes to go! (laughs)
OT: What advice do you have for people who want to get into acting?
JC: If there’s anything else you can do and be fulfilled and generally happy, you should do that. Acting can be a very difficult and challenging road. It comes down to quality of life. You have to really love it where you want to do it above all else. There’s not a lot of security; and you have to be willing to sacrifice a lot. But young actors are so blessed now. There is the freedom now to create your own content. You’ve got YouTube and SnapChat. You don’t have to just wait to be called into a room to audition anymore. Also, just act wherever you are. You don’t have to come to Hollywood. Do theater and student films. Make your own stuff. And know that there’s no right way to do it. Everyone’s path is different in this business.
OT: Any up and coming projects that you can tell us about?
JC: I have two indie films that are coming out. In Model Home, I play Walker, this sort of desert rat character. It is a thriller movie that stars Kathy Baker and Monique Gabriela Curnen. The other one is a murder mystery called Captured about a group of young rock and roll singers. I play Shelly who is the groundskeeper at the mansion where one of the leads grew up. Those are coming out this summer. I’m producing a docuseries right now with Bill Alverson (one of the creators of Insatiable on Netflix) and Tony Tripoli (executive producer of Fashion Police). We’re doing a red carpet show like you’ve never seen before that goes to a deeper level beyond shallowness and the paparazzi. I’m also a producer on a digital series called Bronx SIU that actually just got three Daytime Emmy nominations this year. So I try to keep my hand in all kinds of pots
OT: You’re one busy guy!
JC: I’m very grateful. Blessed and grateful. Hashtag blessed as overused as that is!
JASPER COLE’S BIOGRAPHY ON IMdB
As a veteran character actor with over a 100 TV/film credits, Jasper continues his villainous streak having co-starred in the box office smash hit film, The Purge: Anarchy as a “Homeless Man” produced by Michael Bay and Jason Blum, in Captured, as “Shelly” starring Brittany Curran and Kristin Prout and Model Home as “Walker” opposite Emmy winner Kathy Baker and Monique Gabriella Curnen. He will soon be seen in the lead role of “Bad Cop” in the horror/thriller Savage Sistas and as “Dark Butler” in the horror film Spirits opposite Lynn Lowry as well as “Peter” in Awaken The Shadowman, starring Jean Smart.
He appeared as “Jacques De Leon” in the new CBS Drama, Training Day, opposite Bill Paxton. He guest starred in the 2017 season of American Horror Story and booked roles on Baskets and WestWorld. He also played a “Homeless Man” opposite Tatiana Ali in the TV movie Second Sight. He was seen in the third season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine as “The Oolong Slayer” opposite Andy Sandberg and Andre Baugher. Jasper also co-starred in the 2013 hit horror film, Hansel & Gretel as “John”, iconic actress, Dee Wallace’s son.
Jasper has appeared in dozens of theatrical productions and national TV commercials and has guest starred on some of television’s top shows, including, C.S.I., Married With Children, Saved By The Bell, Touched by An Angel, Party Of Five, LaFemme Nakita, Tales From The Crypt, Baywatch, Pacific Blue and Clueless.
More recently, Jasper obtained critical acclaim for his work on Michael Eisner’s Emmy Nominated series, Prom Queen, his unforgettable stint on Everybody Hates Chris and his recurring role on the ABC series, The Forgotten, starring, Christian Slater. He has also guest starred on HBO’s hit series Funny Or Die Presents and appeared regularly in various comedy sketches for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Film and TV audiences will also remember Jasper as “Reno”, the bad cowboy, in the award winning Showdown at Seven commercials for the popular movie website, Fandango, and he appeared in the popular national Direct TV commercials opposite Rob Lowe. You can see him worldwide as a Pirate in the 1-800-contact commercials as well. Nickelodeon fans know Jasper as “Oswald” in the final season of their hit series Victorious and he appeared in several episodes of the hit syndicated series, Outlaw Empires.
Once established as Hollywood’s “bad guy”, it was a matter of time before Jasper graced the big screen. He has appeared in multiple films such as 18 Again, Alien Nation, Get Your Stuff, Friday the 13th Part VIII, and Urban Assault-Tko. Jasper flaunted his sinister side and became an International sensation as Val Kilmer’s sidekick, “Zeke Pleshette” in the blockbuster MacGruber alongside Ryan Phillipe, Kristin Wiig and Will Forte. The film is gaining cult status on DVD and TV. Jasper is also the host of the nationally syndicated Radio/TV show….One On One With Jasper Cole.
JASPER COLE ON SOCIAL MEDIA
OUTTAKES INTERVIEWS ON SOCIAL MEDIA