Mason Cook: From 'Monday Mornings' To 'The Lone Ranger'
On the small screen, Mason played a similarly significant role on Monday Mornings; it's Quinn's death which brings hotshot neurosurgeon Tyler Wilson (Jamie Bamber) down to earth, and continues to haunt him throughout the entire season. "It a was pretty intense story and it was intense to film as well," Mason reflected. "I wore a prosthetic scalp piece that looked like half my head was shaved for the surgery, and [executive producer] Dr. Sanjay Gupta organized the surgery scene. Since he is an expert neurosurgeon, he did all the markings and placed all the equipment where it would be in real life. My dad had a hard time watching me film that scene because it looked so real - and when it aired, my whole family was crying."
"I have done some really awesome things in my five years as an actor," he told us, "but not a lot of the projects I have done are really for kids, except for Spy Kids: All the Time in the World. That is one of my favorites for a couple of reasons. It is what really launched my movie career and I had so much fun making it. I got to do all my own stunts and there were so many cool special effects to work with and, of course, Jessica Alba!" he added with a laugh. "I get stopped every day by kids who know me from that movie."
"Acting will always be where you will find me. I really feel like I have found my passion. That probably sounds weird coming from an almost 13-year old, but it is really true," he added. "Growing up on sets and learning everything else that goes into making a movie makes me like the idea of directing someday. I love everything about making movies – except waiting to hear if I got the part."
That doesn't mean he's letting his growing career stop him from having a normal life, though. "Even though I have a job, I am still a kid and I still like to act like one," Mason said. "My favorite things to do are definitely surfing, skateboarding and soccer. I just did a soccer camp, which was so much fun. Other than doing a phone interview during lunch one day, I was just a regular kid.
"I also work with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (www.cff.org) to help raise awareness and money to find a cure for the disease. I have a close personal friend with the disease. She fights through every day by taking 40 pills and doing breathing treatments. Most people don’t know this, but CF research programs are not government funded, so all the money used to find a cure is raised by donations. I help in any way I can. I emceed a big fundraiser in Dallas earlier this year and look forward to getting more involved."
In addition to being a sports fan and working with charity, he's also a movie buff. "I love all kinds of movies – comedies and dramas. Some of my favorites, other than Pirates of the Caribbean, are Anchorman, Top Gun, all the Iron Man movies and Zero Dark Thirty. My dad’s favorite movie is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, so we watch that every year as a family and I love that too!
Then there's this fun tidbit: "When I did press interviews for Spy Kids, I was asked who my favorite actors are and who I wanted to work with in the future," Mason revealed. "Every time, I answered Johnny Depp and Steve Carell. What’s weird is that was two years ago, and now I have worked with both of them!" So he's already made some of his dreams come true - and he's on track to achieve a lot more in the entertainment industry.
The Lone Ranger is in theaters starting today. You can also follow Mason on Twitter (@TheMasonCook).