Rising star Cooper Jack Rubin talks to Awards Daily about finding his way into acting through love of theater and developing the complex character of Harold on Showtime’s On Becoming a God In Central Florida.
It’s an unusual experience speaking to a young actor, particularly when said actor is the same age as your youngest child. Instincts kick in to ask the standard questions: “How was school today?” “Did you get your homework done?” “Did you take out the trash?” You’re certainly not prepared to talk about the craft of acting. About finding the core of a complex character. About balancing middle school with a professional acting career.
But Cooper Jack Rubin, co-star of Showtime’s On Becoming a God In Central Florida which recently wrapped its first season, is not your average kid. He’s an incredibly thoughtful and prolific young man with a very bright future ahead of him. Just an incredibly thoughtful and prolific young man who can only conduct interviews after 3 pm. You know, after he gets home from school.
Rubin developed an appreciation of performing at an early age after being exposed to live theater through Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera. But it was seeing a young Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz that gave him the acting bug. No, he hasn’t seen Judy. He’s too young for that. But this early eduction in performance art grew a deep-seeded love for acting in both live theater and in front of a camera.
“Theater is this performing art, and you have a live audience in front of you and you can’t make any mistakes because if you do then the audience will see,” Rubin explains. “In film, it’s more a visual art. You have a really close-up camera in your face, and you can make mistakes. It’s more comfortable, but then again, theater is more energetic because the audience is cheering you on!”
Couldn’t have said it better myself.
Here, Cooper Jack Rubin talks to me about balancing a career with a developing education. He also talks about the complexity of his character, Harold, in On Becoming a God In Central Florida. Plus, what does the future hold for a young actor with his entire life ahead of him? Hint: it may have something to do with a really scary clown.
Awards Daily: Is it a challenge to balancing things like school and extracurricular activities with a full-time job like acting?
Cooper Jack Rubin: Oh yeah! It’s hard because, as soon as I leave filming, I have all this work to make up. The good thing is, my teachers and I worked it out where I was allowed to do my homework on set. It was still hard to come back from a full day of filming to all of this work, though.
AD: What was it about On Becoming a God… that made you want to be a part of the series?
CJR: I think that it was the fact that Harold, the character that I play, is just a bright, energetic kid. When I did the audition, I had to do the serious part of his lines. After that, I got to dance. That was cool because I love dancing and Harold loves dancing. I free-styled it, and we took some moves from the Paula Abdul music video [which features in the series]. And I got the part!
AD: Do you find any other similarities between you and Harold since you both like to dance?
CJR: Well, Harold and I both have the hidden passion for the arts. Otherwise, his life and mine are very different because, of course, we both live in two very different time periods. But his dad and Harold have a complex relationship which continues as the series goes on.
AD: Tell me more about that complex relationship between Harold and his father. Was that challenging for you to play?
CJR: I think that because Mel [Rodriguez], who plays my dad in the series, is just great… He’s so good to work with, so it made it a comfortable environment to make mistakes in or to improv a line or two with him. It was so cool working with him. I got closer and closer with him as the series went on as Harold is always on-screen with his parents. I got to develop a really cool relationship with Mel on and off-screen which was awesome! That made it easier to play. There was a challenging scene to play where I had to say some bad words. I had to think about this anger and just be in the moment, which was hard because I had to be so angry and I try not to be angry.
AD: Looking into the future in your career, what kinds of things would you like to do?
CJR: So, I just saw IT for the first time. That made me fall in love with horror. I would love to be in some kind of horror movie in general. I am absolutely scared of horror films, but if you have a really good horror movie like it… I would love to be in a horror movie to get over my fear of them. Also, just to experience it and have a scary creature thing come up to me every day and say, ‘Hi!’ but not in character because that would be absolutely horrifying.
On Becoming a God In Central Florida is currently streaming on Showtime.