The star of Final Destination 2 chops it up with IGN DVD.
A.J. Cook top-lined one of the most over-looked movies of the year: Final Destination 2. While drawing in the horror hardcore with promises of blood-scrunching yumminess, the film also surprisingly connected on a series of disturbing psychological levels. Cook plays Kimberly Corman, a young woman who forsees a terrible and fatal pile-up. When she blocks her fellow motorists from joining the freeway, death (just like in the first) begins stalking and executing the potential victims that got a second chance.
Horror and Cook have a history. She starred in Ripper, Wishmaster 3: Beyond the Gates of Hell, and Wishmaster 4: The Propechy Fulfilled. You may have also seen Cook in Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides alongside Kirsten Dunst, James Woods, and Kathleen Turner. We were able to spend some time with Cook recently to talk about her work in Final Destination 2, the pros and cons of being an actor in horror films, and her new television series for Fox, Tru Calling. Cook was a friendly and relaxed person and we are now officially fans. We are also jealous. I mean, who wouldn’t want “Beyond the Gates of Hell” somewhere in your resume? Maybe we’re in the wrong profession after all…
Steven Horn, IGN DVD: I was talking to David [Ellis, Director of Final Destination 2] earlier in the week and he said he might be up for an FD3. How about you?
A. J. Cook:Yes. We’ll have to see. I knew from the beginning, from signing on to the second one, that there was a possibility for a third. They do have that in the contract. So …
IGN DVD: Do you like Kimberly [A.J.'s character from the film]?
Cook: Yeah, she’s just a typical girl, trying to figure life out. She’s a little serious. But who knows, maybe in the second one they’ll lighten her up a little bit.
IGN DVD: She is rather intense huh? Are you a fan of the genre? I guess by genre, I mean horror, although FD2 feels a cut above horror to me. Stylized.
Cook: It doesn’t come across to me as your typical horror film because I’ve done a couple of horror films
IGN DVD: Wishmaster is one …
Cook: (laughs, sighs), yeah. We all do them. It’s part of the acting experience. I really like the Final Destination movies because they were a little bit different. It wasn’t a guy in a mask chasing you with a knife. You had to think a little more and I like that aspect to it. I personally am not a huge fan of really gory, scary movies because I’m a wimp. (laughs). I really like a suspenseful movies and movies that make you think.
IGN DVD: Is it the gore that troubles most people about FD2 or do you think it’s more psychological? The nastiness was kind of cartoony and strange. I was just freaked out by the idea that death is stalking you.
Cook: Personally, I found the movie to be funny. The death scenes are so out there and so bizarre that you can’t help to laugh. That’s what we’re going for. I definitely think it messed with people on another level because so many people that I talked to tell me that they’re still afraid to get on an elevator, or they’re tripped out whenever they’re driving on a freeway. So I think it affects you on a psychological level and just sticks in the back of your head.
IGN DVD: I’ve made people watch the pile-up. It’s really disturbing. I think a lot that is because, we all drive [and can relate to the scene.]
Cook: Yes, especially here in LA. You live in your car.
IGN DVD: I want to ask you a little bit about the DVD. Have you had a chance to take a look?
Cook: I haven’t seen all the extras yet, so I’m excited to see all that.
IGN DVD: What are some of your favorite DVDs?
Cook: I really like The Three Kings DVD. I love that movie and all the extra footage and documentaries. Let me look at my DVD collection. The Fight Club DVD is great. I like anything that has really good extras because as an actor, it’s really great to see the behind-the-scenes stuff and see how different actors approach their particular project. That interests me. I like The Talented Mr. Ripley DVD as well.
IGN DVD: I was looking over your bio, and you’re pretty much all over the place. You’ve done horror but also some of the more “intellectual” fare with Virgin Suicides. What kinds of scripts are coming across your desk, and what are you looking for? What do you like to do?
Cook: I never liked to be pigeon-holed and I never liked people to think that they know who I am. I like to keep people guessing. Right now I am trying my hardest to stay away from the genre movies just because I feel like people are thinking that’s what I do, that I’m a scream queen. I’d like to stay away from that. Right now, I’m looking at projects that are just beautifully written, unique, and that have great characters. That’s what I’m into right now. I’m character-driven. If it’s a great character and something different … because I find that a lot of the times you do get pigeon-holed, you do get the same characters over and over again because that’s what producers are comfortable with. They’ve seen you do it, they know you can do it. I’m kind of getting a little stir crazy (laughs) …
IGN DVD: It must be a little frustrating if you do want to branch out because it strikes me that there are not a lot of projects out there that people our age, younger people, can get into that don’t involve some kind of shenanigans … getting naked, or playing with poo …
Cook: (laughs) Lovely.
IGN DVD: You know what I mean though? Going the gross out way. There are not a lot of dramas or …
Cook: … they’re hard to find. A lot of times you have to dip into the independent world to find the really great projects and the really great scripts. They’re out there, you just have to search hard.
IGN DVD: You had mentioned that you didn’t want to be the scream queen and that makes sense to me. But doesn’t it raise your profile when you do a movie like this? [A movie] that a lot of people will see versus an independent film. It’s a catch-22, yeah?
Cook: It is. You’ve got to do the big studio movies to get your name out there, but as an actor and for your own well-being you kind of need to step back from that occasionally and do the smaller films. In the end, that’s what helps you learn and makes you a better actor.
IGN DVD: Working with a variety of people …
Cook: Yeah, and just taking on different characters that a big studio wouldn’t necessarily trust you to take on because that’s not how they see you. You definitely have to go both ways and that’s what I’m doing now. Studio movies are a great thing because tons of people see it. I’m definitely not bagging on studios…
IGN DVD: Oh I know. Okay, don’t take this the wrong way, but I think of it [working with studios] as a necessary evil. I don’t mean to suggest that it’s evil or somehow compromising to do one of these big films but it definitely seems like it helps out. Look at Jamie Lee. Ms. Curtis. Sorry, just rambling there …
Cook: No, I agree with you 100 percent.
IGN DVD: What are you up to now?
Cook: There’s a movie called Living Neon Dreams which is a great script. I also have a series going. It’s called Tru Calling for Fox. We start shooting that this summer. It’s a really fun character for me, and something a lot of people haven’t seen me as before.
IGN DVD: Have you done a lot of television before?
Cook: I had a series called Higher Ground with Hayden Christensen. We did 22 episodes of that. I just did a guest spot on Showtime’s Dead Like Me and we’re in talks about maybe turning it into a recurring role. I love the show. I think it’s brilliant.
IGN DVD: Sometimes when I talk to people who have done both television and movies, they tend to prefer one over the other. Do you lean toward one particular medium or treat them as individual experiences?
Cook: I enjoy them both. I like TV in the way that it moves quickly, I like the pace of TV because I’m that type of actor. I like to go-go-go. I don’t have to do 50 million takes of something. I guess I’m not that patient. I really like the pace of it.
IGN DVD: Anything you want to add about the character or film? Was there anything bizarre that happened during filming?
Cook: I wish there was something because it would be a great story. (laughs) Whenever I get on the plane to fly up to Vancouver to shoot the movie, I just kept seeing that scene [the plane crash from FD1.]. I thought about the headlines. It plays with your mind. Nothing happened. But you’re always looking out for signs.