Being a normal kid might have been just what it took for Mason Cook to achieve his not so normal success. A love for reenacting his favorite shows and movies inspired him to try acting and his carefree attitude about rejection allowed him to bypass the rollercoaster of emotions that can come along with auditioning. A steady combination of talent, self confidence, optimism and well, normality make him the perfect fit for almost any role.
Where are you from and what brought you to Los Angeles?
Mason: I am originally from Oklahoma City. I moved out here with my family almost 10 years ago, for a change of scenery. I never really thought about being an actor. At that time I was just a regular eight-year old kid, going to public school, just being a ragamuffin. Growing up in Oklahoma, whenever I went to go see a movie or saw my favorite TV show with my brother, we’d always go home and reenact it. At the time I was like, wait this is the entertainment capital of the world and if anybody wants to pursue any form of entertainment, they come here. Why not give acting a shot? I decided to try it and see if I like it. I got my first job in Grey’s Anatomy. I instantly fell in love with it. I was like,”This is so, so cool”. I love watching what had been created from other projects and then being able to help create the project was really what caught me. I was like, all right, all right, I can see myself doing this for a while.
What did it feel like that first time you stepped on set, for Grey’s Anatomy? Who was the scene with, what was going on?
Mason: No spoilers! I don’t want to spoil it for people who are still watching it on Netflix like me. It was a certain someone’s first open-heart surgery. I was a patient who had asthma but also a heart defect.
The first day walking on set was somewhat surreal but I didn’t think anything of it. I was an eight-year-old kid with no filter. I didn’t really realize how big of a deal it was. I got to act like I was under anesthesia and had this massive animatronic corpse that they had set on top of me to make it look like they had cut me open and you could see my insides. They had a beating heart and all. It was really, really cool.
Was it surreal watching that episode, seeing yourself all cut open?
Mason: Definitely. Also watching now and seeing how much I’ve grown and matured over the years. I looked tiny and I have the fat baby cheeks and my voice was a million times higher than this. It’s crazy going back and watching it today.
Where did you go from there?
Mason: I continued auditioning. At that time I was going to public school. When school got out my dad would come and pick me up and would take me to like seven or eight auditions that were all over LA. I was such a normal kid, I loved climbing into a bush at the corner right outside of our school and then scaring people as they walked by. I would always get covered in dirt or I had leaves in my hair. My dad’s like “What have you been doing?” I was like, “I was climbing in a bush, it’s no big deal.”
I had a very steady stream of work. Way more steady than I thought it’d ever be. As someone who just decided to try it out and then ended up working nonstop 24/7. It was a very big change in my life, but it was a change that I loved and I want to keep it that way.
Do you feel that your attraction to just being a normal kid and having fun was what made you so perfect for these roles?
Mason: I think so, yes. A lot of times it’s not the kid who wants to get into acting, it’s the parent who wants the kid to get into acting. The kid doesn’t have the passion for it. You’ve got to have the passion for this business because it’s an acquired taste. I went into it not really knowing anything about it which I feel like made me who I am today. I didn’t go in with any pre-conceived ideas. I wasn’t stressed, like if I didn’t get this then I’m never going to get another acting role.
I was like,”All right I didn’t get this. I mean something else is waiting around the corner.” That’s definitely a motto I live by in this business. If something doesn’t go your way, that means something better is around the corner, and that’s so true. I feel like that really helped me come into the person that I am today.
Besides acting, is there anything else you ever wanted to try?
Mason: I definitely want to explore other parts of the business. I want to try directing, producing, writing. I wrote a TV show idea with my dad and we are in the process of writing a movie about his grandfather. Acting is definitely going to be something that is going to be in my life for a very long time, but I would love to branch out.
Tell us about Speechless?
Mason: Speechless has become such a big part of my life. When I first went out for the role I auditioned for Ray who at the time, was supposed to be like 12 years old and I was about 15. I didn’t look 12 years old. They’re like, “We like you for Ray but why don’t you come in for Dylan?” because at the time it was going to be three brothers. They were deciding if they wanted it to be two brothers and one sister or if they wanted it to be three brothers. Originally Dylan was going to be the older brother, Ray was going to be the youngest.
I went in for Dylan and they were like. “We just prefer you as Ray but you’re older than the age of the character.” They ended up having me test for Ray and they rewrote the age of the character to fit me which is like an insanely big honor. I also play the on-screen version of Scott Silveri, the creator of the show. It’s based off his life to some extent. There are fictional characters but the everyday challenges and some of the storylines are actually from his childhood because he grew up with a brother who had CP. His name was Gregory Silveri, he, unfortunately, passed away a few months ago. We dedicated the last few episodes of the second season to him. We gave it our all and wanted to make him proud and wanted to make him happy.
It’s a show that is unlike any other show on television right now. It’s representing a community that hasn’t been represented on television before. When it has come up it’s been sad and depressing. We’re representing it in a way that’s funny and comedic but also has dramatic elements and real moments that these families go through. Like having to talk about is JJ going to live with us? Is he going to live on his own, is he going to be able to have a family, is he going to be able to have kids?
Those are all real talks that these families go through and having it be fake but also having to act like it’s a real conversation was really hard because I really feel for these families.
What is a cause that you’re very passionate about?
Mason: A cause that I’m very passionate about is better gun control laws. Gun control is a very, very important thing in today’s society. It has been for the past few years but little action has been done or has been taken. There hasn’t really been any change and people continue to take lives unfairly and unlawfully.
I attended March For Our Lives. I was able to speak at the March For Our Lives here in Los Angeles which was an amazing honor. I love doing it, I loved meeting all the people that I met there. Being surrounded by a bunch of people who all had the same goal which was better gun control laws and the banning of certain weapons that don’t belong in our society and in the wrong hands. Yes, that’s definitely something I am very passionate about.
Do you feel that young people can and will impact the next election cycle?
Mason: I definitely believe that the younger generation will impact elections in the next few years. My generation is a generation that doesn’t give up. We are going to fight for something and we’re going to fight until we get it. We’ve made progress in the past few months. I can’t wait to see what progress we’ll make in the next few years and how that affects the elections for years to come. Yes, I definitely think they’re play an important role.
Who would you love to share the screen with?
Mason: I feel like one person that I could work with and then die happy is Leonardo Dicaprio. He has amazing talent and the range of characters that he can play is incredible. He can play anything pull it off. I don’t know how he does it but being able to work with him would be amazing.
What are your favorite three apps on your phone?
Mason: Snapchat, Instagram, and Youtube.
What’s the furthest you’ve ever been from home?
Mason: I haven’t been yet, but I’m going this summer. I’ll be going to London and Paris, which will be the first time I’ve ever been to Europe and I’m so so hyped. I’ve always wanted to go, my dad lived in London when he was a teenager for a while and he’s just like, “I cannot wait for you guys to see it, you guys are going to love it.” We were going to go last year but then some things came up and we had to cancel, unfortunately. I’m just so, so excited, two months away, two months away and I’ll be there.
If you could be invisible for a day, what would you do?
Mason: There’s so many answers to that question, so many. You can go super weird or just super basic.I feel like the thing that I would do is stay at my house and observe what my dogs do while we’re gone. They’re such goofballs when I’m there, I can’t imagine what they do when we’re gone. We come home, there’s torn-up tissue all the way down the hallway, my dog is just sitting there with tissue hanging out of his mouth, he’s like, “I didn’t do it.” I’m like, “Yes, you did, yes you did”. I would love getting to see what other cheeky stuff he does when he doesn’t know I’m there.
Is there anything else you’d like to go OnRCRD?
Mason: Yes, sure. Im super excited to start shooting the third season of Speechless this summer. You can go watch the first and second seasons on Hulu. They are on there right now. If you want to keep up with me and keep up with what I’m doing, you can go follow me on Instagram and Twitter @masoncook, or you can follow my Facebook page. I’d love to go on this journey with you guys. Thank you to all who have supported me throughout the years. I can’t wait to see where my journey takes us. Thank you.
Photographer: Mario Barberio
Grooming: Kimberly Johnson