Mason Cook is part of the large ensemble cast of director Gore Verbinski’s “The Lone Ranger” (read my review here). I had the chance to catch up with the young actor, who plays Will (the young boy the older Tonto, played by Johnny Depp, is retelling his adventures to in the museum) in this exclusive yak.
Did you watch any of the old TV episodes of “The Lone Ranger” before starting on the movie?
I didn’t actually. This is the second time I have been part of a re-imagination of a popular TV series. Last year I played Eddie Munster in NBC’s “Mockingbird Lane,” and now I am in “The Lone Ranger.” In both cases I didn’t want to influence the way I played a role by watching someone else’s take on the characters.
Tell us about working with Johnny Depp? I take it you’d be a big fan of “Pirates of the Caribbean”?
[Laughs] For my 6th birthday party, I had a “Pirates of the Caribbean” theme and a huge cake with Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow on it. When I was doing my press interviews for my movie “Spy Kids 4,” I was always asked to name the actor I wanted to work with the most in the future and my answer every time was Johnny Depp. So, basically it was a dream come true for me to get to work with Johnny Depp. It still seems surreal.
What did your audition for the film involve?
Well, when I first auditioned for “The Lone Ranger” they were using a fake name for the project and the script was being kept top secret. My audition sides had names changed, so it didn’t say “Tonto” or “Will” and I didn’t even know what I was auditioning for. It wasn’t until I got a call from my manager telling me they wanted me to come meet Jerry Bruckheimer and do a table read for “The Lone Ranger” that I found out what the movie was.
Are your schoolmates and friends jealous that you’ve worked on big movies like this one?
I don’t think they are jealous, but they think it is very cool. My friends all treat me just like I am a normal kid because I am. But, something happens when you do a movie with Johnny Depp. Everyone wants to know what he is like, but it is my friends’ moms who ask the most questions. [laughs] They love them some Johnny Depp!
If there’s a sequel do you think ‘Will’ will be in it?
Wow that is a good question. I would love that, but I don’t know what they have planned. Let’s just say if they ask, I’m in!
What was your new pilot “Spy” about?
“Spy” was a pilot I did for ABC this year that was based on the British series of the same name. It’s about my character, Marcus Elliot, and his dad, Tim, and their relationship as his parents go through a divorce and his dad accidentally takes a job at the CIA as a spy. It turned out really great, but unfortunately, wasn’t picked up to series. That’s just the way it works sometimes.
Have you seen the film yet? Would you describe it as an adventure movie or a comedy? What surprised you most about it?
I have seen the movie – twice actually. We recently had the big premiere at Disney’s California Adventure and that was insanely cool! I would describe “The Lone Ranger” as a thrilling adventure that has tons of action and also humor.
What surprised me the most about this movie, and what I think is so cool, is how real it looks. Now days you can tell when something is CGI or green screen and in this movie Gore (Verbinski), Jerry (Bruckheimer), and Johnny were determined to make it look as real as it could by using actual remote locations. With this team, it’s “go big or go home” and it shows big time!