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Blake Cooper – Born To Maze Run

Updated: Apr 23, 2020

Blake Cooper at the Westin Hotel in Mount Laurel, NJ for a premiere party for “The Maze Runner.” Photo copyright 2014 George Seth Wagner.

Blake Cooper

Born To Maze Run

by Jay S. Jacobs

If life went as expected, 12-year-old Blake Cooper would have had to have gone to a suburban Atlanta cineplex to experience the summer blockbuster The Maze Runner.

However, life is a crazy thing, and instead he is actually playing a breakout role the dystopian fantasy tale.

Funny how life goes.  Two years ago, Cooper had no inkling that he would be in a major studio film.  He did not even particularly want to be an actor.  He was just taking a class to pass the time and meet new kids.

Flash forward and now he is playing Chuck – the heart and soul of one of the most anticipated tentpole films of the year.  The Maze Runner is based on the popular young adult book series by James Dashner.

The film is about a group of boys who are mysteriously plunked down in a field surrounded by a huge, ever-changing maze which is guarded at night by bloodthirsty monsters called grievers.  The boys have no memories other than their own name, but they have to work together to survive.

The film begins when a new boy is left in the meadow.  Thomas (played by Dylan O’Brien of Teen Wolf) is not willing to put up with the status quo, instead he disrupts things as much as possible attempting to find a way to escape the maze.  Cooper’s character of Chuck is Thomas’ best friend and confidant, a younger boy who can’t make the changes himself, but is happy to help Thomas try to free them all.

We recently caught up with Cooper at a New Jersey premiere party for The Maze Runner.

Blake Cooper at the Westin Hotel in Mount Laurel, NJ for a premiere party for “The Maze Runner.” Photo copyright 2014 George Seth Wagner.

How familiar were you with the book before getting the role?

Before I did the audition, when I heard about the project, my mom and I read the book as research.  I ended up loving it.  It’s was such a good book.  That was right before we did the auditions.  Kind of studying for the audition.

I was reading you got the role through a social media campaign.  How did that happen?

When my agent tried to get me an audition for the role, she wasn’t able to, unfortunately.  After a while, Wes Ball, who is the director, I tried to find his Twitter account.  I found it and I sent him a quick tweet saying, “It would be awesome if you gave me a chance to audition.  Thanks!”  Fans noticed first and they started making all this fan art and fan fiction and stuff like that.  After about a couple of days Wes noticed, and he decided to give me an audition.  It was pretty cool.

You could tell just in the screening that your character was one that the audience really responded to.  What do you think it is about Chuck that people relate to him?

I think one thing is that he’s kind.  He’s kind of the cute one, I guess.  He’s the innocent one.  He doesn’t do anything to get them into trouble or anything like that.  He embodies the scout code.  I’m a Boy Scout and there is this thing called “The Scout Laws.”  It’s twelve laws: trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.  Those are the Scout Laws.  He embodies pretty much all of those pretty well.  Except for clean.  He’s not very good with the clean part, but he tries.  (laughs)

Blake Cooper at the Westin Hotel in Mount Laurel, NJ for a premiere party for “The Maze Runner.” Photo copyright 2014 George Seth Wagner.

I had interviewed Dylan a couple of years ago and he got his start through posting stuff on YouTube.  You also have done some YouTube videos.  Do you think that’s a good new way for people to get noticed in show business?

Yeah, I think that’s a very good possibility.  You get known on YouTube.  Actually, I’ve heard that production companies are looking into YouTube to find people that might be good for things.  [For] some of their projects they’re trying to do, if they are looking for an actor they can go and try and find someone on YouTube.  It’s definitely changing a lot.  It’s pretty cool.  It’s pretty cool the way it’s changing and what it’s changing into.

You mostly worked with Dylan.  What is he like to work with?

He’s awesome.  He’s just one of the coolest guys ever.  He’s one of my best friends now.  We had the most scenes together.  It was just an amazing time to work with him.

The maze is pretty incredible.  Obviously lots of it was done with CGI, but how much did you get to see of it as an actor?

Well… (long pause)  Am I going to give up spoilers and stuff like that?

Well, the film has opened so I think you can talk a bit, but I don’t think you should probably talk about your character’s biggest twist.

Yeah.  There’s one scene towards the end and if you watch the movie.  You will probably know what I’m talking about.  One of the scenes at the end of the movie [has] a lot of action going on… but yeah, pretty much all of it was green screen.  The floor was green screen.  Everything around you is green screen.  It was pretty weird.  There were also these guys dressed in blue tights suits.  They were imitating the grievers.  That was pretty cool.  It helped, but it’s a lot of imagination.  Actually, I don’t have it with me, but I play with action figures, it’s always in my pocket and I bring it with me everywhere (laughs) in case I’m bored, but… yeah, I don’t think I’m going to make a story out of that.

Blake Cooper at the Westin Hotel in Mount Laurel, NJ for a premiere party for “The Maze Runner.” Photo copyright 2014 George Seth Wagner.

Do you enjoy mazes?


What other kinds of things do you like?

I don’t know.  Television.  Big Bang [Theory].  I don’t know, I’m into television right now.  It’s a good thing.  But yeah, I’d say I have a pretty good imagination.

It sort of reminded me of a film from the 80s called Labyrinth.  Were you familiar with that film?

I’ve heard of it.  I’ve heard the name.  But I’ve never known anything about it.

Blake Cooper at the Westin Hotel in Mount Laurel, NJ for a premiere party for “The Maze Runner.” Photo copyright 2014 George Seth Wagner.

It’s a similar type of thing where they have to get through a big maze.  But The Maze Runner is much darker.  What scene was most exciting for you to do as an actor?

One of them… I can’t say, because there will be spoilers.  I can’t really answer this question properly because it would give away spoilers.  Other than that one, there’s one where I’m in a harness for a stunt and I get yanked up in the air.  Everyone grabs me and are saving me.  (laughs)  That was pretty fun, but it was very uncomfortable.  I got bruises everywhere, on my stomach and my chest.  A lot of the scenes were new experiences, because I never did anything like this before.  The entire thing was a really fun learning experience.

Blake Cooper at the Westin Hotel in Mount Laurel, NJ for a premiere party for “The Maze Runner.” Photo copyright 2014 George Seth Wagner.

How did you originally get into acting?

I actually kind of got into it accidentally.  I started home-schooling because my brother had dyslexia and he was having trouble, so my mom decided to pull him out and home school him.  He developed better after that, because public schools don’t really know how to help with that [individually].  I decided to go with him.  I just said, why not?  I’m so glad I made that decision, because if I wasn’t home schooled, I probably would never have gotten into acting.  We didn’t really get out of the house much, so my mom wanted me to socialize more.  She decided to put me in an acting class, along with my brother.  So, we were just doing that.  My mom said she’d always drop us off and went to get groceries.  (laughs)  She had no idea what was really going on there, but she trusted us.  My oldest brother and my sister went there.  We had a lot of fun.  We went to the same class and hung out.  100% purely fun.

Eventually the owner of the studio was helping a production company.  It might have been Fox.  I don’t remember.  She asked me if I wanted to do an audition for this movie called Parental Guidance.  You probably remember that one.  It came out last year with Billy Crystal.  I auditioned for the role of Turner.  I had no idea why they would want me for the audition, because I really didn’t have any interest in acting.  At that time I was doing it for fun.  My mom and I said, okay, why not?  Let’s do it.  It’ll be fun.  I did the audition and the casting director called my mom and said, “Can we get an audition for another character?  Because we think he’d be really good for this character.”  My mom was like, “What?  You’re asking him for another audition?”  She was like, “Yeah, he’s great.”  We were just like, okay….  Good.  She was like, “How do I get in touch with your agent?”  We don’t have an agent.  We don’t have one.  (laughs)  She insisted that we get in touch with [agent] Joy Pervis.  We got in touch with her.  We did the audition at her office and we signed with her.  That’s how I got into the acting.

Blake Cooper at the Carmike Theater in Vorhees, NJ for a premiere screening for “The Maze Runner.” Photo copyright 2014 Jay S. Jacobs.

How has your life changed since getting this role?  You just said you’re home schooled, so it doesn’t change school, but what do your friends think? Has it changed things?

No, not really.  We kind of joke about it sometimes, we make it a joke, but everything is pretty much the same.  Except for when I do things like this, where there are fans and everyone is taking pictures.  That’s all new and fun, but it’s pretty weird, though.  I say weird a lot, whenever I can’t think of another word.  Yeah, this is weird…

Do you think you will stay in Atlanta, or eventually move to Los Angeles for your career?

I think possibly, eventually, but I have no plans of moving out west.  I love Atlanta.

You’ve got a new TV series called Cocked coming up.  What can you tell us about that?

The show is called Cocked.  It’s an Amazon pilot.  It’s about this broken family.  They are struggling to stay together.  Struggling to get along with each other while trying to run a family gun-manufacturing business.  It’s pretty crazy.  There’s guns and a problem occurs that requires the family to help each other.  Get along to fix the problem.  Eventually it brings us back together.  I filmed it about a month ago.  I filmed the pilot.  It’s pretty good, I’ve got to say.  It’s pretty cool.

You also have another film called Prosper on the way.  What is that about?

Oh, yeah, it’s basically a horror movie I did a very long time ago.  It’s an indie movie, a cult movie.  It’s going to be a lot of fun.  It was one of my first projects.

Blake Cooper, with co-stars Alex Flores and Dexter Darden at the Carmike Theater in Vorhees, NJ for a premiere screening for “The Maze Runner.” Photo copyright 2014 Jay S. Jacobs.

What would be your dream project?

One thing that I’m dying to do – I know it’s probably not going to happen, but something that involves The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings.  Something in that universe.  I just love that franchise so much.  That entire franchise and that entire universe is incredible.  That would be amazing.  But I know that it probably is not going to happen.  After the Hobbit trilogy I don’t think they’ll….

Perhaps they could do The Silmarillion [J.R.R. Tolkien’s final book about Middle Earth].

Unless the writer makes another book.  Unless he makes another trilogy, I don’t know.

Yeah, I’m afraid he’d have to come back from the dead to do that.

Yeah.  (laughs)

What would people be surprised to know about you?

Like I said before, I play with action figures.  (laughs)  I play video games.  I play a lot of video games.  Probably too many.  (laughs again)  Oh, yeah, my mom just reminded me.  We live on a sheep farm.  We have a big flock of sheep.  My mom basically does it for fun.  She doesn’t actually do it for any reason, she does it because she just likes it.  We have a bunch of sheep.  We have a mule.  We have a mini-donkey.  We have a bunch of dogs, a bunch of cats.  My brother used to have like 20 snakes.  It was cool.  Yeah, I don’t think I’m missing any animals.

You’re also a singer.  Are you planning on working more on your music as well as your acting? Would you like to find roles where you can mix the two, like your co-star Dexter Darden has?

Yes.  I think when the opportunity comes up, yeah.  Definitely.  But I’m definitely focusing more on acting right now.  I do YouTube stuff.  I have a YouTube channel where I put on covers of some songs with my guitar.  I’m just basically singing the song with my guitar.  It’s pretty fun.  I like doing that.  But I think I’m going to focus on acting right now.

Copyright ©2014 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: October 4, 2014.

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