A.J. Cook recently turned 24, has been married for 16 months to her college sweetheart, and just relocated to a quiet beach community south of Los Angeles. So why has the Whitby-born actress been thinking so much about death lately? It could have something to do with her new teen thriller, Final Destination 2, which opened yesterday.
Cook- best known for playing opposite fellow Canadians Hayden Christensen and Jewel Staite in the once popular Vancouver-shot U.S. cable-TV series Higher Ground- stars as Kimberly Corman, a teen whose premonition of a horrific traffic accident saves the lives of six strangers. Now having “cheated death,” they all must race against time and fear to avoid a series of deadly events intended to catch up with them.
“It’s like a train wreck- you can’t help but look,” the newly blonde Cook says of her film’s gruesome death scenes. “It’s a cool concept: everybody dies but there is no killer. You know somebody is about to die, but you don’t know how it is going to happen … and you don’t have time to cover your eyes.”
Cook admits she is “not very good with gore,” but signed on because making the movie seemed like fun.
“We didn’t set out to change the world or win an Oscar or anything like that,” she says with a smile. “We set out to make an entertaining movie and have a rollercoaster ride. You take on certain roles for certain reasons in your life. Everyone’s got ‘em in their career somewhere. That’s how you start.”
Andrea Joy Cook- a competitive tap, jazz and ballet dancer since age 4- started acting professionally when she was 17. Her first big break came in director Sophia Coppola’s 1999 drama The Virgin Suicides. She has also appeared in a handful of high school plays, including Romeo And Juliet.
“In high school, I pretty much kept to myself,” she shares. “I wasn’t a big partier and I didn’t drink.”
That’s because Cook, the second youngest of four children, was raised a devout Mormon, and still takes her strong religious beliefs into consideration when choosing roles.
“I will not do nudity. I will not do a sex scene. There are just certain things I will not do. I have certain morals,” she says.
Otherwise, Cook insists: “I am just your everyday, average girl. I live by the beach. I wear flip flops. I don’t wear make-up. I go to the gym. My husband and I are just really laid back people.”
Her husband is American Nate Anderson. They met at college in Salt Lake City, where Cook attended classes for only one semester before opting to concentrate on acting.
“It was one of those love-at-first-sight things, as cheesy as that sounds,” she says while blushing.
The happy couple married in September, 2001, raising the concern of Cook’s father Mike, a college professor, and mother Sandra, who works for a psychotherapist. “My mom was like, ‘Who is this guy?’” she remembers, laughing.
“They didn’t really know him because he was in the States. So my parents were a little weary, I would say.”
So far, family life seems to be agreeing with the actress.
“I am a really good wife. That’s the most important role in my life. I have really gotten into cooking, which is hilarious because I used to be the worst cook on the planet.”
Her acting career seems to be on a roll as well.
Cook is about to begin production on a new movie called Living Neon Dreams. She describes it as “a contemporary whacked-out mix of Alice In Wonderland meets suicide and drug overdose.”
“My biggest goal in life is to start a family. But I’ll give it a couple more years. We’re young. There’s no rush.”