As Hollywood’s “go-to Bad Guy,” veteran character actor JASPER COLE never fails to hit his marks — or depending upon the project, his co-stars on-screen. COLE is tasked with the responsibility of turning sweet dreams into scary nightmares for audiences of the countless TV shows and films he has appeared in. COLE is not someone you want to meet in a dark alley.
So, VENTS met up with COLE in a well-lit patio bar in Palm Springs — the infamous desert mecca where he escapes to while not on-set. However, with a laundry list of upcoming projects, as well as the just-released indie hit, AWAKEN THE SHADOWMAN, it is safe to assume that COLE’s schedule doesn’t allow for many road-trips to Palm Springs.
Here’s our conversation with the “Bad Guy” who is actually a “Good Guy” being paid to be a “Bad Guy.”
VENTS: Awaken the Shadowman just released — tell us about the film and your role.
COLE: AWAKEN THE SHADOWMAN is a thriller based on two estranged brothers who come together to search for their missing Mother played by Emmy winner Jean Smart. As the brothers dig deeper they start to uncover potential corruption and demons. I have a cameo as “Peter” who works at a scrap metal yard and may hold information about the whereabouts of their missing Mother. It was a chance for me to reunite with my director from HANSEL & GRETEL, Anthony C. Ferrante, who produced the film. I was most impressed by the 3 young filmmakers who also star in the film and who assembled an impressive cast that includes Robert R. Shafer best known from THE OFFICE. The film is available on VOD, iTunes, red box and Amazon among others.
VENTS: You have become labeled, “Hollywood’s Go-To Bad Guy” –how did you earn that recognition?
COLE: Getting labeled “Hollywood’s Bad Guy” is a strange but welcoming thing because for the first part of my 30 years in Hollywood I sort of fell between the cracks of “knowing my type”. I wasn’t classic leading man nor specific character actor although internally I’ve always been a character actor at heart. I just had to “age into it”. I was told constantly when I was younger that if I stuck around long enough my look would catch up to my age..and it did. lol It took me years to get on any list so I’m forever grateful to be in casting rooms and on sets with fellow character actors whose work I admire and learn from daily. So I guess there’s an actual upside to getting older and creeper looking in Hollywood!
VENTS: What has been your favorite Bad Guy role to date?
COLE: I’ve been so blessed in the past 15 years to get to play some great characters but I guess my favorite would be the most popular one so far and that’s “Zeke Pleshette” in the comedy MACGRUBER in 2010. It was so great to be a part of the SNL family with Will Forte, Kristin Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Seth Meyers and Lorne Michaels. Then when you add in Val Kilmer, Ryan Philippe, Powers Booth, Timothy Murphy and Andy Mackenzie, it was a game changer for my career. I’m forever grateful to caster Sheila Jaffa and director Jorma Taccone for that opportunity and 7 years later it has built a cult following and allowed me to meet fans at Comic Cons and conventions from all over the world.
VENTS: It is rumored that you have joined the cast of the highly anticipated film, The Wish Man — is there any truth to this?
COLE: Im honored to have been offered the role of “Leon” in the upcoming film WISH MAN”. This is based on the life of the founder of the Make A Wish foundation Frank Shankwitz. Filming has begun now in Prescott AZ and here in Anaheim CA, it’s directed by Theo Davies and has an amazing cast led by veterans Bruce Davison, Frank Whaley, Tom Sizemore, Robert Pine, Dale Dickey and Larry Wilcox.
VENTS: What would your dream role be for a future project?
COLE: My dream role would consist of being part of a television episodic ensemble playing an undercover agent who gets to infiltrate the crime world as a criminal, drug dealer, homeless guy..all the roles I’m known for playing now. I love the pace of Television and an ensemble and being able to play the same character over a period of time.
VENTS: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
COLE: In ten years I’ll be 63 years old and I hope I’m in what I like to call my “Sam Elliott-Jeff Bridges” phase of career. I had the honor of working with Sam in 1998 and it’s a highlight of my career. I learned a lot from him about not taking it too seriously but being serious about the work. I auditioned for TRUE GRIT with the Cohen Bros and that’s about as close as it’s come to working with Jeff but to me they both embody the true meaning of great character actors who also have balance in their lives and career. To me as a character actor, hopefully I can only get better and work more the older I get.
VENTS: Off-screen you host the sleeper hit podcast, “One On One” which first crossed our radar when comments regarding Kathy Griffin were made on your show leaked and the story was trending — is this a professional detour from acting?
COLE: I love doing my show ONE ON ONE WITH JASPER COLE for many reasons but primarily it’s a chance for me to show another side of myself. I’m basically a conisseur of pop culture, Entertainment, news and Politics. I grew up loving all things Television and talk shows and anything to do with Hollywood. I’m also a huge reality TV fan and so my show gives me the opportunity to meet and interview great people from all these genres and to let my natural personality come through which is a departure from the great dark characters I get to play on screen. I see most things through a very dry, sarcastic and sardonic lens. My favorite comedians are the likes of Lenny Bruce, George Carlin, Joan Rivers, Sarah Silverman. I like people who aren’t afraid to tell it like it is and that’s what I try to do with my show, just be myself and keep it real.
VENTS: What else is in the pipeline for you professionally?
COLE: I was lucky enough to work on an upcoming episode of AMERICAN HORROR STORY so I checked the “working on a Ryan Murphy Show” off my career bucket list and I hope to do more. I just complete a film called THE COLLECTOR and I have 2 indie horror/thrillers coming out: CAPTURED and MODEL HOME. I’m auditioning every week as that’s really the “job” booking a show is the icing on the cake. I have my website www.jaspercole.com which has pretty much everything I’m up too including my show ONE ON ONE WITH JASPER COLE.