Comic Cons stole my life!
Having procured roles on hit TV shows like The Vampire Diaries, The Flash and Quantico, Rick Cosnett has proven himself as not only a talented and versatile actor but, as a person truly dedicated to his craft. I was given the privilege to sit and chat with Mr. Cosnett during his appearance at Heroes and Villains Fan Fest (HVFF) Atlanta. I was fascinated to learn of his journey into show business, what drives his passion, and his thoughts on what the future holds for him.
Relatable Rick Cosnett
The handsome Mr. Cosnett greeted me warmly as we were introduced and his openness was apparent from the start. As we chatted, it was easy to see that he is a truly genuine and caring person. Speaking with Rick Cosnett is like speaking with a friend you have known for years; he makes you feel comfortable and has a laugh that can’t help but make you smile. The world could use a more people like Mr. Cosnett; I for one simply feel blessed to have met him.
ComiConverse: I was doing a little research and see you have a background in theater. How did the passion for acting start?
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Mr. Cosnett: I always wanted to be an actor. My parents used to do community theater in Zimbabwe and at a very young age, I was about 3 or 4 was when I fell in love with it while watching them (parents) in rehearsal and watching the productions at Campbell theater in Kadoma. I just did theater at school and then when I moved to Australia, when I was 16, I joined the repertory theater and did a lot of productions there. I just did as much as I could and then I went straight to acting school after high school in Australia. I got a degree and then I moved on to Sydney for 6 years working on and off, struggling a bit. I was doing plays, musicals, kids shows; I also was a mad scientist. I played a mad professor that was 400 years old and tried to delight the kids. My first audience was this group of high school girls and they were so brutal, they hated me. Laughs. The little kids were a lot easier. I think my professor was a little too over the top for them (high school girls) and then I had to learn to ‘doctor’ my professor to the audience. You can never talk down to kids, especially if they’re teenagers. You have to speak on their level. Those teenage girls will let you know. Laughs.
Never Say Die!
ComiConverse: I was looking at the ‘big 3’ roles for you… The Vampire Diaries, The Flash, and Quantico. I have to just say, I was reading an interview where you referred to yourself as the ‘Sean Bean’ of the TV World.
Mr. Cosnett: Laughing. That’s what they were calling me on Twitter. I didn’t come up with that myself. I thought it was hilarious. I felt privileged to be compared to Sean Bean in any sense even it was for being killed so many times.
The Vampire Diaries: Bloody Good Break
ComiConverse: It seems Vampires Diaries was the first big role for you. What was that like?
Mr. Cosnett: Yes, it was. It was a huge leap for me in terms of exposure. It was terrifying as well as being so exciting and I was just so enthusiastic about doing it. I mean I arrived on set and they were all like cool and chill and relaxed and grounded and I am just like so psyched up! Know what I mean. Like I knew all my lines in the rehearsal and acting the hell out of the rehearsal and everyone is kinda looking at me like um “Is this guy ok?” Laughs. “What is his deal?” I had so much nervous energy, which in hindsight I can just laugh at. Poor me , I was kinda like… I am gonna be on international TV, this has to be an academy award winning good. I’ve always wanted to be such a good actor so I’ve always put this immense pressure on myself. I’ve since realized that lifting that pressure off makes you a better actor. I’ve learned a lot over these past 3 years.
Change Comes In A Flash
ComiConverse: You’ve done a lot in quite a short amount of time. Can you tell me how The Flash came about?
Mr. Cosnett: It’s been quite a journey, quite a roller coaster. I had so much fun on The Vampire Diaries. My character was so much fun. Everyone hated me so much, I loved it! I loved all the hate mail I got. I just cherished it. “Don’t go anywhere near my Damon!” Laughs. They were so apologetic when they killed me off. I said, don’t worry about it. I was kinda sad but I didn’t realize I would last 12 episodes. They said I could do one episode, potentially six so I was really happy that I got that far. But it turned out to be a blessing because it was my third audition after that in early January that was The Flash. I put my heart and soul into that audition. After three auditions and lots of network and studio approvals which was also completely nerve-wracking but also intensely exciting… I got that role. We didn’t know that it would go to a series, you never know. But, it worked out really, really well and it’s become such a huge success. Then of course the producers were very apologetic that I was getting killed on that show. Laughs. It was kinda random. I think when they kill people off in the first season it really adds to the success of the show so I mean I was happy to be a casualty. That kinda pushed me into getting this role on Quantico which I really, really enjoyed.
Good Guy/ Bad Guy: Embracing Variety
ComiConverse: They’re very different, these roles. Are you drawn to certain types? The good guy, the bad guy….
Mr. Cosnett: Yeah, it’s kinda good that I haven’t been type-cast so far because I’ve had the opportunity for people to trust me in very different roles even if they’re a similar type of genre. So that’s been really fun… someone really, really evil and then someone really, really nice and then someone who is just a little bit of a bitch but you really wanted to be friends with him. But then he just got into some deep shit.
ComiConverse: Do you have a preference though? Do you like playing one type over the other? Does it matter?
Mr. Cosnett: I think when you play one thing for too long you kind of crave playing the opposite so, I don’t have a preference. Sometimes characters aren’t written ‘layered’… it’s our job as actors to fill in all the blanks. I’m learning a lot still, I think actors are always in the process of learning. Learning is part of the human condition. I always say through all the ups and downs… On a day when I learn something about acting, that’s a good day, that’s a happy day, that’s a winning day. The only thing I really care about in my career is if I can get better and be better, every day hopefully.
Living, Learning, Loving
ComiConverse: You really love acting, that really comes across.
Mr. Cosnett: Yeah, I really, really do. I am so, so, so… I just have this deep, deep, deep love of it. I am so grateful that I get to do it all the time. What I’m saying is that I’m learning so much. I am doing a TV movie at the moment and it’s called Happily Never After and it’s on PixL. I feel completely different in this film now. I feel so much more relaxed. I feel a lot more free and I’m ready to take over the world… babe!
ComiConverse: Good for you! I like that.
ComiConverse: Since we are here in the Heroes and Villains realm, I’d like to talk a bit more about The Flash. Are familiar with the comics? Are you into the comic genre? Were you ever?
Mr. Cosnett: I was never familiar with the comics. When I auditioned for it, I had to do a lot of research. Also, I realized that often they are looking for someone to portray a human being, literally for Eddie. So you just have to bring all of you and all of the facets of you that fit into that character because then the creativity, the possibilities are endless. So you fill in so many different blanks. So if you are just trying too hard to play a certain thing then it comes off as two dimensional. Acting is a very elusive art form and it’s cool when you very slowly get the hang of it. It’s been a good twelve years since I graduated from acting school and I am still trying to wrap my head around it.
Positivity And Focus
ComiConverse: I almost feel like it’s better that you didn’t know everything about it (The Flash), so that you could bring yourself into it.
Mr. Cosnett: Yeah, I think that’s a great way to look at it. It’s a great way to look at life as well. When things happen, when struggles happen it hopefully made me better at my job, better at acting… a better person. Of course people who made it later in life say this. I know Sarah Paulson said in an article I was reading “Don’t succeed early.” Things come along at a time when you’re ready for them, what a blessing that is. To be able to take that opportunity once you are prepared and then hopefully really run with it. I’m just trying to be as ready as I can because the opportunities are coming. All you can do is stay very focused.
ComiConverse: You just spoke of Sarah Paulson, who is amazing. Is there anyone you would love to work with?
Mr. Cosnett: Absolutely. I’ve always wanted to work with Toni Collette. She’s an Australian actress, winner of an Oscar for The Sixth Sense. Also Daniel Day-Lewis is definitely up there on my list. I would also say, there’s so many… Meryl Streep. Who wouldn’t say Meryl Streep. She channels the creative gods. She’s a vessel, she’s such a hard worker… people always say she’s the hardest working person on the set. You know Julianne Moore , I would love to work with Jennifer Lawrence. In terms of male actors, I would love to work with some of the English ones like Derek Jacobi. I could go on and on fantasizing.
Keeping It Real
ComiConverse: Who was your greatest inspiration?
Mr. Cosnett: Toni Collette. Yeah, she really was. All the films that she did were so awesome. I think she does amazing films and amazing TV and she chooses really carefully and really well. She seems to have this embodiment… when I first saw Muriel’s Wedding when I was younger I thought to myself , I couldn’t believe that someone would put on weight and wanna be so wonderfully human and wonderfully exposed. I thought that was the most incredible thing because what we’re doing is we’re trying to explain a human experience. We’re trying to mirror life, real life and that’s what excites me. Playing real people and seeing their real struggles in everyday life and here was this girl, Muriel, from this little beach town in Australia living this normal life that people live in all it’s depression and all its terrifying awfulness as well as it’s beautiful, ecstatic craziness and that film PJ Hogan is a genius because he wrote something right from the heart. So real. It was that moment when I saw that film that I kind of…
ComiConverse: That was IT right?
Mr. Cosnett: Yeah. Yeah.
ComiConverse: I’m always impressed by what you actors put into roles physically, mentally. I love to see real life as well. I think that’s what impresses me the most. If you weren’t into acting was there ever any other option for you? Was this (acting) just always it?
Mr. Cosnett: I always wanted to be an actor and there was nothing else I would have ever done. My dad wanted me to be a lawyer so I did think about it because I was also good at legal studies. I was really enthusiastic about it because I started thinking for myself. We had a teacher who was actually a real detective who I saw one time by coincidence downtown chasing some people under cover while I was in High School. I came out of a club in the middle of the night and there he was chasing some guys in an alleyway. It was crazy. He inspired me so much. I started thinking for myself… Who are these people writing this textbook and why? I realized a lot then, why should I listen to things that I’m fed, why shouldn’t I question them and why can’t I be that smart. So yeah, I think I coulda been a lawyer but it also woulda been just the same difficulty for me. I thought about this a lot because I was very shy and I also get very nervous and sort of ‘stage frighty’. If I was a lawyer I would have really had to work on my courtroom persona. You’re not just reciting lines, you actually have to know it. I respect the hell out of the people who can.
ComiConverse: To hear you say you are shy actually surprises me, especially being in this business. You definitely don’t strike me as being that way.
Mr. Cosnett: I always had the desire to be who I am, I guess we all have that. I was taught as child through a very strict school system in Zimbabwe. I’m not deferring responsibility because I think I also closed up for a number of reasons. I was very closed when I got to drama school, and terrified, but my desire to break down those walls ended up being stronger than the fear and so I hope that I can one day inspire other people to do the same thing because, an actress once said, “There’s nothing more vulgar than shyness”. I really took note about that when I heard it because I realize that a lot of the time it is quite selfish in a way to be shy because it is a false fear. It’s so beautiful to be able to connect with people, have real moments and really open yourself up and open others up and I think the world would be a better place if we all did that. I’m still fearful and terrified but I now can separate and I’m like… ok that’s a false fear. Let’s get rid of that, so I work on it every day.
ComiConverse: That is the kind of information that I want to share with the fans so that they can get inspired by your story.
Mr. Cosnett: Yeah, I was a very shy, nerdy, quiet person. Depending on the circumstance I would kind of change like a chameleon to kind of blend in instead of just not being afraid to kind of make a way in my life.
ComiConverse: Part of what I love about these conventions is that there are so many people from so many different backgrounds and are so non-judgmental. Everyone just kind of walking around and embracing each other.
I want to thank Rick Cosnett for spending some of his valuable time to speak with me, it was enlightening and a joy. I wish Mr. Cosnett continued success in all endeavors! Follow Mr. Cosnett on Twitter: @RickCosnett and Instagram: rickcosnett . Also thank you to the top notch, hard working people at Heroes and Villains Fan Fest for arranging this interview. Michael Guthas and Liz Solo… I appreciate you both.
Keeping You Comi Con-nected!