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(this interview took place in April 2002)

Arrow in the HeadI initially noticed A.J. Cook in the brilliant "The Virgin Suicides" and then, her genre films "Ripper" and "Wishmaster 3". Although I wasn't too fond of the two latter movies, A.J. still stood out as a very talented actress, so when I learned that she had been chosen as the lead for "Final Destination 2", I felt a pretty strong glimmer of hope for the sequel. A.J. recently took some time off the set to talk shop with yours truly and this is what she had to say.

ARROW: What's your favorite horror movie?

AJ: [laughs] My favorite horror movie....

ARROW: Well, you've been in enough horror movies I would assume that you appreciate the genre.

AJ: I don't have a particular favorite, I can't think of one right now off the top of my head.

ARROW: Fair enough...how did you get into acting? Was it always an ambition of yours?

AJ: I started dancing when I was 4 so I just kind made the transition over, I guess.  Acting just kind of happened, it's been going pretty well, so I keep doing it.

ARROW: What was it about the FD 2 script that grabbed ya?

AJ: I really liked the first one, I liked the concept because it was a horror film but it wasn't your typical horror film of like a  serial killer chasing you. I liked the idea that death is the main character in the movie and that death is chasing you, I just thought that it was cool and that's why it did so well, because it could happen...I don't know if you're a big believer in fate or destiny...

ARROW: I am actually...

AJ: So yeah, you know...

ARROW: Do you feel that the sequel take the themes established in the first one further or is it more of the same?

AJ: I think it takes it a little further but basically it's the same idea of death tying up loose ends type of thing, but it does take it a step further than the first one. You learn more about the loopholes and how to get out of it and that kind of stuff.

ARROW: Can you give me some background info on your character? What kind of girl is she?

AJ: She's a strong girl, she's determined...a year ago her mother died in front of her so she had to grow up very quick and she has a very close relationship with her father. I just liked that my character is very strong and that Ali's character is very strong too. It's hard enough to find a script with one strong female lead, here we get two, I liked that about it.

ARROW: What kind of research did you do for the part...if any?

AJ: I watched the first one because I hadn't seen it, so yeah...[laughs]...I fell into it so quickly that I didn't really have much time to research. I did most of it on set and tried to figure everything out as we all went along.

ARROW: So are you usually a method actress type?

AJ: It depends, I use a little bit of the method but sometimes on a crazy set, you just got to do, what you got to do.

ARROW: I hear ya...

AJ: You know, especially in something like this when you're doing a horror movie because some the things you have to do or say are so out of this world and it's not anything that you can relate to, so you kind of gotta figure out something that's close to that and use it.

ARROW: What was the hardest scene for you to shoot so far?

AJ: There's a...well, that wasn't hard, it was fun....but there's a scene in the movie where I'm trapped in a van underwater and that was...it  wasn't hard because it was fun but initially I thought it was going to be very hard because my biggest fear is being trapped in a car underwater. So it was kind of cool to face my fear and all that. I'd say the hardest scenes in the movie are where I'm freaking out and being very emotional, that's what we're kind of shooting right now...

ARROW: Are you ok {laugh}?

AJ: Yeah, I'm hanging in there, just been going through days and days of emotional stuff.

ARROW: Would you say that this role is the most challenging one that you've had to tackle so far?

AJ: No, it's challenging in the way that it's a lot of work, I'm very busy. It's challenging in a way that it's a sequel and I feel I got big shoes to fill. I wasn't at all affiliated with the first one and it was  very successful and I'm just kind of afraid that people will get to the theatre and say: "Who's this girl? She wasn't in the first one!" So that pressure is there and in that sense...it has been difficult.

ARROW: So in terms of being an actress, what was the most challenging part you've had to play?

AJ: I think the hardest one was this film I did called "Ripper", it was a genre film.

ARROW: Yeah, you played a Goth-like type of girl...

AJ: Yeah, that was so opposite of me and to get in that mode was difficult, she was really a deep, dark character to play.

ARROW: Yeah, you were pissed off in that movie!

AJ: [laughs] Yeah, she had issues! But I'm proud of my work in that one. It was just such a stretch for me, I think it turned out pretty good, I'm happy with it.

ARROW: I'm assuming that you're living in Vancouver, right?

AJ: No, I don't, I live in Salt Lake...

ARROW: Oops, my bad...are you thinking of moving to LA? I mean your star is starting to shine very brightly...

AJ: It's tough because I've never had to live there and I'm not a big fan of LA, but I am actually moving there shortly in a month or so...

ARROW: At least you get the beach there...

AJ: Exactly, we're moving on the beach, we're not moving in LA, we'll live on like the Manhattan Beach area so at least we'll be away from it all, which is nice.

ARROW: Last question-- are you signed on for a third Final Destination?

AJ: Possibly yes...if they decide to do that.

ARROW: Well, I've been hearing that it will surely happen if this one makes money.

AJ: There's definitely rumors going around...so we'll see [laughs]! 

ARROW: Cool, well I'm done!

AJ: Well, thank you!

ARROW: Thank you.

I'd like to once again thank A.J. for the interview, this gal was a treat to talk to. My pallet is starting to get really wet for some of that Final Destination 2 stuff, March 2003 is a long time to wait...I think I'm going to go rent the first one again.


Read my interview with FINAL DESTINATION 2's Michael Landes here

Read my interview with FINAL DESTINATION 2 director here

Read my interview with FINAL DESTINATION 2 producer here


More Interviews with the Arrow...

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