Jason stars as "Brady" on NBC's soap opera "Days Of Our Lives". Cook could not have asked for better "soap opera" genes; his character, Sean-D, is the heir apparent to one of television's super-couples, Bo and Hope Brady (Peter Reckell and Kristian Alfonso) , on NBC's, "Days of our Lives." Cook was recently awarded a 2001 Soap Opera Digest Award for Outstanding Younger Lead Actor for his portrayal of Shawn Brady. His first foray into show business was as a pianist and promising young musician but it was not until high school, when Cook stepped in at the last minute for the lead in the school play "Whodunnit," that he knew he wanted to pursue a career in acting. Cook's first professional acting gig was as host for the Disney Channel's "Project Time" followed by various roles ranging from "Tony" in Westside Story to "Demitrius" in Midsummer Night's Dream at the Civic Arts Shakespeare Summer Festival. His additional television credits include a guest star role on Nickelodeon's "The Amanda Show." .
Jason was born on September 13, 1980, in New Jersey. Originally from New Jersey, the Cooks moved to Los Angeles when Jason was born. Jason's first foray into show-business was as a pianist. By age twelve, Jason was adding to his allowance by playing the occasional wedding on the weekends and winning piano competitions. The promising musician never considered acting as a career until the lead in Whodunnit? (his High School play) dropped out at the last minute
Jason soon landed his first professional acting gig as the host for the Disney Channel's Project Time, an arts and crafts demonstration show, which Jason juggled with his high school curriculum and rank as lead scorer on the soccer team.
Jason recently completed his freshman year at Moorpark College, where he was active on the speech and debate team, a skill he honed while at high school. In 1998, the orator and his debate partner placed first in the California Community College Forensics Association Speech Competition.
Jason resides with his family in Westlake, California. His father, Bill, is an engineer who constructs rides for amusement parks and his mother, JoAnn, is a pre school teacher and devoted Mom. Jason has three siblings; older brother Michael, younger sister Janean, and older sister Michelle. The Cooks have two dogs, Cobi and Zoe, and a lizard named Diablo.
In his spare time, Jason unwinds by reading and playing the piano.
More fun stuff about Jason Cook
Good friends with Aaron Van Wagner (Jason) even though their characters are not.
His Nickname: Cookie
His Height is 5'11
Jason and his family are of Italian descent
Jason Cook: I want to work hard
All signs indicate that Days of Our Lives has scored a major casting coup with newcomer Jason Cook, who plays Shawn (the character formerly known as Shawn-D): the dark, handsome, young actor looks like he could indeed be the offspring of Peter Reckell and Kristian Alfonso, who play his TV parents, Bo and Hope Brady.
Cook, a New Jersey native, has the acting chops to back him up, too. In addition to local performances in West Side Story and A Midsummer Night's Dream, Cook recently formed an improv sketch-comedy troupe called Severe Head Trauma. Watch for Cook to demonstrate his improvisational skills when he guest stars on Nickelodeon's The Amanda Show later this fall.
Cook, who's working quite a bit these days as his rebellious character settles into Salem, recently took time to sit down for an in-person interview .
Q: How did you get the role?
I got a call from my manager, who said, "Come on over. I have a script for you." I went over to his house, picked up the script, reviewed the scene with him and, later, went in to see [Days casting director] Fran Bascom. The audition was a little bit different, actually. Most casting directors are pretty cold, but Fran made me feel totally welcome. She was very warm. We started chatting and it was a totally cool experience.
Q: You look like you really could be the son of Peter Reckell and Kristian Alfonso &emdash; do you think that helped you get the part?
This business is probably 50-to-75 percent looks.
Q: As they say on The Price is Right, "Higher! Higher!"
[Laughs] It's based a lot on looks. I hadn't really thought about any resemblance I have to Peter and Kristian. My sister, Michelle, is a huge Days fan, so I had seen the show when she would watch.
Q: How happy was Michelle when you got the part?
She's still ecstatic. She came to the set recently and I introduced her to everyone. She got to meet a lot of the cast including Frances Reid and Drake Hogestyn (Alice and John). I can't imagine what it was like for her to watch people for so many years and then get to meet them in person.
Q: Why is the character going by just "Shawn" now?
He's trying to establish his individuality. He feels that "Shawn-D" is kind of childish and "Shawn-Douglas" is too long. [Laughs] It was giving the production office people a nightmare. They were getting my scripts mixed up with Frank Parker's (Grandpa Shawn). The third day I was on, I got four scripts. One had 12 scenes I had never seen before. Frank had gotten my scripts. I was so worried that day, but it all worked out.
Q: You're very natural oncamera. Had you ever done a soap before?
Thank you. No, I had never done daytime before. My manager and agents never submitted me to soap operas before. They did [for this role] because of the prestige of the show.
Q: Hollywood's on a big youth-kick these days with shows like Dawson's Creek. Was there any hesitation on your team's part to keep you available for shows like that?
No. Days of Our Lives is one of the best soaps on the air. The writing is very good. Everyone knows Bo and Hope, so the part of their son is a great one to play. I like Shawn. He's such a departure from other parts I've played. I've mostly been cast as a happy-go-lucky-kid type. But Shawn is being a rebel and he's getting in people's faces. The other thing that attracted me to doing a soap is that you get to do a lot of in-depth character work. You get new scripts every day and you get to constantly build on your character.
Q: Which actors helped you get acclimated here &emdash; Peter and Kristian?
Most of my scenes have been with Peter. I haven't worked so much with Kristian. Peter's been great. The first few days, he was almost shrugging me off as Bo was with Shawn. I just laughed it off and it actually helped me in our scenes. I could tell there were some real moments of warmth [coming from him], too. The more we work together, the more we can establish our father/son relationship. I hope he's feeling good from his end, too. Every single day gets better and better. He really is a great guy.
Q: Is Shawn's tattoo real?
You know, I honestly don't know. They re-apply it every day I come in. It might end up being semi-permanent. Shawn's not always going to be a punk. He's going to change. It could be a symbolic thing. As the tattoo goes, Shawn's personality could change.
Q: Sounds like a good plan.
Well, that's the writing. Thank [head writer] Tom Langan for that.
Q: Tell me about your acting before Days.
It was mostly in theater. It's great. You get instant response from the audience so you see how you're doing. Plus, it gave me an initial thrill that gave me the energy to want to do acting. I remember the first play I did. It was called Whodunit? I fell in love with acting instantly. I loved the amazing response. It really ignited the flame. It just so happens that my future manager, Bill Civitella, was in the audience. I have him to thank for where I am today.
Q: Where does college stand right now?
College is on hold &emdash; for now. I'm actually a year ahead. I took so many classes that I got ahead of the game. I have "junior standing" right now but I'm taking a year off to see where this is going to go. My counselors said I could do some independent study, so I might do that. But right now I'm focused on the show. I've got so much going on and am so overwhelmed right now I don't think I could give a decent shot at a full time college schedule.
Q: Have you started to get mail yet?
Yes. I've also gotten feedback on the Internet. I don't surf the Net all that frequently. [A friend] showed me this one board where the fans talk about the characters. I'd love to address this actually. People said, "Hats off to Jason." They like my acting, but they hate the fact that Shawn's acting like a punk. I hope the fans know that this character is more than he seems. The thing I love about this part is that Shawn has a big wall up right now. He's hurt because he feels his parents have neglected him. He's got a quirky, dorky style of humor that the girls like, but that won't be seen for a while. He's got some hidden talents, too.
Q: How has the rest of your family responded to your joining Days?
They love it. They're going crazy. When my family members see the magazines in line at the supermarket, they go crazy. Every single day my grandmother's raving about my being on the show. She can't control herself and it's a crack-up to talk to her about it.
Q: What keeps you busy outside of your work on Days?
Days keeps me pretty busy. I'm either at the gym or memorizing lines or taking care of personal business. Recently, I've taken up writing. I'm working on my second screenplay. I want to get that in the works and maybe sell it as a movie deal and attach my name to it. I like reading, too. I read across the board. I play piano, too. I'm going to be doing a lot of that on the show.
Q: Has anyone filled you in on how to handle all the media attention you're likely to get or how to handle the personal appearances?
I haven't heard too much about the personal appearances yet; those should start to happen in about a month or so. That'll be an experience. Kevin Spirtas (Craig) was really good about clueing me in about a lot of stuff. He showed me the ropes. He's a good guy. Everyone on the set loves him. Drake recently commented to me about keeping my head screwed on straight. I don't think I'm going to have a problem with that. I honestly don't think I'm the type of person who will get caught up in that stuff. I'm glad to be here and I want to work hard at what I'm doing. Hopefully, it will be successful and go over well with the fans.