For those of you who love the science fiction/horror scene, you are sure to be very familiar with the face of Matt Cohen, a super talented actor who is quickly making himself a very established presence on television and in the motion picture industry.
We, however, know him best as the tall, dark, and handsome young John Winchester, a role the “Supernatural” fandom loves to see him portray. And for whatever the reason, it’s undeniable that Matt’s image of young John Winchester makes a memorable impact on all who see his performance.
Matt Cohen has successfully shown that he is always prepared for whatever job he sets his mind to. He can undertake challenging characters and deliverer outstanding performances time and time again, whether those roles are in full length feature films, or as the father of our beloved Winchester brothers.
I was lucky enough to see Matt live at the Chicago convention last year, and found him knowledgeable, gracious, exceptionally gifted and respectful of both himself and his fans. He was a complete gentleman treating all his fans as perfect ladies, even if some were ‘crazy’ fan girls. The fans love him, but not as much as he loves them. He is so very grateful that they are supportive of him and his work; he can’t express that enough in his panels and interviews.
Matt always puts a smile on my face, so I was extremely happy when I heard he had agreed to do an interview for the WFB. Keep reading to find out how he feels about his roles as John Winchester and Michael, his three movies, his most challenging project so far, other ventures he’s involved in and more.
Let’s hope that some of his future ventures include appearances in season 7 of “Supernatural.” That would put a smile on a lot of faces!
Did you do any background research about John Winchester or “Supernatural” before you auditioned or did you wait until after you got the part to do the research?
I watched all the Jeffrey Dean Morgan stuff I could. That included all his Supernatural stuff and his movies and Grey’s Anatomy. I wanted to play him with an innocence that I pulled largely from Grey’s.
How much of Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s portrayal of elder John Winchester did you base your performance on? Did you ever discuss the character with him either before or after your episodes as John?
I have never met Jeffrey, but I sure hope to. I based a very small part of my performance on his performance in Supernatural and much more on Grey’s Anatomy. I felt that Young John would be much more naive and innocent compared to the more callus Older John that has been dealing with all the issues of demons.
Can you identify with the character of John Winchester in some ways?
Yes, I think young John is a very moral, caring, modest individual, and I would love to consider myself similar to that.
Knowing the outcome of the elder John Winchester, how challenging did you find it to play him as a husband and non-hunter?
Again I didn’t take that into my performance for the simple reason that Young John wouldn’t have really known who or how he becomes later in life.
With all that you’ve learned since you first appeared as young John Winchester, would you approach the character differently now, if you’re given the chance to play him again?
Absolutely! I would redo every piece of work I have ever done if given the chance to reexamine it. If I knew then, what I know now, I would have undoubtedly played all my characters different.
Do you have a favorite memory or experience from “Supernatural?”
Every day on that set is a blessed and lucky day! I praise the cast and crew and anyone who has ever been involved.
You played the part of John Winchester and then Michael the Archangel. How hard was it to switch between those characters for you?
It was very difficult because you want to have a clear line between the two without looking like an over acting idiot. People seem to like my performance, but I am not a fan. I would have changed a lot of things about if I had to redo it.
Michael was a very pivotal role in the series. Where did you get your inspiration to play him? Did you get input from the writers or from any of the actors or did you just draw on your prior acting experiences?
I had a character I had created to be Michael. He was darker and more cynical then the final performance. Jensen rehearsed with me and then took me aside and showed me Jared’s performance of Lucifer. I was too similar in my choices to be the other brother and son of God. Jensen played a large part in my final portrayal of Michael.
What effect has your work on “Supernatural” had on your career?
I have made some great friends from the show and even more important, I have met some great men to learn from.
You have starred in some interesting movies; “Boogeyman 2,” “Dark House,” and “Chain Letter.” All of them would fall under the sci-fi/horror genre. Which one did you enjoy doing the most? Do you prefer to do sci-fi/horror over comedy or drama?
I LOVE SCI FI/ HORROR. It is challenging, fun, and the outcome is always unique. I am doing an action/thriller and a romantic/drama this year so I’ll let you know how those compare.
Web series are growing in popularity, and you have recently acted in two; as Syd in “Rockville CA” and as Sheriff B. Calhoun in “Cowgirl Up,” which you also produced. Do you find many differences between a web series and a television scripted show? And do you have a preference for one over the other? What sort of challenges did you face as an actor/producer for “Cowgirl Up?
The only real difference is that you are pretty much completely creatively free. No execs. breathing down your neck to change things. Cowgirl Up was a breeze if you love what you’re doing! If you love making film and TV then there is no producer/actor/co-director/grip/sound or any other job that seems too hard.
What was the most challenging project you have had so far and why?
SUPERNATURAL! Filling the shoes of a brilliant and charismatic and warm soul of J.D.M. is hard!
Do you ever regret the extent to which you’ve engaged with fans on Twitter and elsewhere? How do you balance social networking with the demands of career?
I love my fans and I give them every bit of the real Matt. Ask anyone who is a fan and they’ll tell you I give a 110% to them. The fans let me work and I love to work so naturally I love the fans!
You and Misha Collins are involved with Random Acts – The Hope to Haiti Project. You’ll be in Haiti at the end of June. What can you tell us about the projects and the activities you will be involved with during your time there?
Misha and I and a bunch of wonderful fans and Random Acts volunteers will be starting construction on a large orphanage to help the children of Haiti and eventually a self sustaining fish farm to provide shelter and protein.
What is in your future? Do you have any upcoming films or television projects you are working on, and can you tell us a little about them?
The future is bringing many great things, STAY TUNED!
I want to send a very heartfelt CONGRATULATION to Matt Cohen on his recent marriage to Mandy Musgrave. Mandy and Matt met on his series “South of Nowhere” (2005-2008), and after a few years of engagement, they tied-the-knot on May 18, 2011 in Florida. May the happy couple have a very long and blessed life together.
I and all here at The Winchester Family Business wish to send a special thank you to Matt Cohen for taking the time from his travels and new bride to participate in our interview.
For fans interested in Matt’s new ventures, follow him on Twitter at @mattcohen4real.