Interview: Shannon Kook on Dark Places, The Christmas Horror Story, and all things geeky

SHANNON KOOK

By Jes Vu

Shannon Kook has made his career with iconic roles such as the openly gay football player Zane Park on Degrassi: The Next Generation, before venturing off to major feature films such as The Conjuring and the upcoming Gillian Flynn film adaptation Dark Places starring Charlize Theron.

Despite the sweltering Los Angeles heat, we had a chance to catch up with Shannon to talk about his upcoming Dark Places and The Christmas Horror Story (starring William Shatner), his admiration of Divergent star Shailene Woodley as well as exploring a bit of his geeky side.

Nerd Reactor: Tell me about your character and little bit about your new film Dark Places.

Shannon Kook: My character’s named Trey Trepano. He’s a bit of a mysterious character. His reputation there in society falls under mutilating cattle and doing Satanic rituals. He’s heavily intertwined with Chloe Moretz and Tye Sheridan[‘s characters]. Tye Sheridan plays young Ben Day who is convicted for the massacre and murder of his own family.

NR: Since Dark Places is based from a book, is there a book that you’ve read that you’d be interested in being a part of?

SK: The Power of One has always been a favorite book of mine, but I don’t know if there’s a character I could play in there. (laughs) You know, I’ve always wanted to work with Shailene Woodley, so I wouldn’t mind jumping into Divergent or you know or Insurgent—I don’t even know what the next book is called. But I was in the running for The Mortal Instruments at one point, and got close to that. Because Magnus Bane is a really interesting character to me. But Shailene Woodley is definitely someone I’ve always wanted to work with because of the type of person she is, and you know, the magnitude of an actor she is.

NR: Is there a favorite movie that you like Shailene Woodley in?

SK: Not particularly. I just love her presence.  I think I was more taken by her as a person at first, which got me more curious about her work. She’s just a very human being, a very human person. She’s eco-conscience and a good example to the younger generation. But just watching her on screen—she just capsizes that screen in every frame.  It’s just—wow! She’s so deep and got so much going on. There’s a lot reading on her. She’s got a huge heart, so I’d love to work opposite of that and learn from her. And you know, [the Divergent trilogy]—I can’t complain to be a part of a series like that. A lot of these books like The Hunger Games and Divergent have things to say about society in a way. It’s a certain voice that’s repeating itself, which I think is some sort of comment.

NR: So tell me a little about A Christmas Horror Story and who you play in the movie.

SK: A Christmas Horror Story is based on a town called Bailey Downs, which has weird things that seem to happen around Christmas. And this is an anthology with several different stories and with different directors, but they’re all intertwined and they’re all linked to William Shatner[‘s character] who is a radio host and a DJ. My character—he’s a kid in high school, and he goes into a basement investigating a murder that happened a year before with some other students. A whole lot of things start to happen from there.

NR: What was it liked to work with William Shatner a.k.a Captain Kirk? Did you get any scenes with him?

SK: I wish I knew! All his scenes were alone. He’s basically drinking a lot of booze, and he’s radio DJ-ing on Christmas Eve, so he’s in the booth alone, and he’s talking over the radio and that sort of flies between the stories. You hear him talk between the different events that evening.

NR: Did you get to meet him at all?

SK: I didn’t. It sucks, I know. Maybe at the premiere.

NR: Now are you a fan of these horror films? Is there any horror franchise out there you would want to be in?

SK: I would have to say The Conjuring is my favorite horror film! Sorry, but it is! (laughs) Not to be biased. I watched it 8 times in the cinema already, and that doesn’t even count watching it at home with my friends. Yeah, I guess that says something.

NR: DC or Marvel?

SK: Marvel.

NR: Star Wars or Star Trek?

SK: Star Wars.

NR: Han Solo or Indiana Jones?

SK: Han Solo.

NR: The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings?

SK: Hobbit.

NR: X-box of PlayStation?

SK: See, I don’t play games anymore! I don’t even know the difference. I’m so addicted to them, so I don’t buy them. Let’s say—X-box.

NR: Are you sure? How about any other systems?

SK: Nintendo! That’s what I like. The old Nintendo—that’s what I used to play. With Contra. Contra was good. Then there was Kung Fu: The Legend. You know, those old games that you used to put a big cassette in. Mario Brothers too.

NR: Did you play Duck Hunt?

SK: Yes, but I never had the guns, and was envious of my friends because their parents had money to buy them the guns and I had the bare minimum equipment. Then, when you have computer games, Mortal Kombat, I just sit there all day, and my dad would get really mad. That’s when I knew when I moved into my old place not to have games cause I would just waste time. I was actually with a girl and at my house. She was really impressed. She was like ‘You don’t have a game console.’ She rejoiced and threw her hands in the air. She’s like ‘You’ve grown up! Oh my God! This is so good!’ Cause you know, every boy, every man needs their toy. Then the girlfriends get mad at them. But if you have a girl who plays games, who likes the game, then she’s just a win. Guys love those girls.

NR: Family Guy or The Simpsons?

SK: Family Guy.

NR: Batman or Superman? Who do you think would win—How about that?

SK: I know in the comic universe, they used to say when I was younger that Batman would beat Superman. I was like ‘What the hell?! No way!’ Everyone knew that. Cause Superman was just the best. Who would I like more? I would like Superman. But Batman would win.

NR: Civil War, the new Marvel film will be coming out. So who’s team are you on—Iron Man or Captain America?

SK: Iron Man.

NR: If you could be any superhero, who would you be?

SK: Professor X. I think it would be Professor X. I think he’s learned how to channel his power, and to bring the best out of everyone to use their own power. It’s not just about himself, but about a greater good. And he is one of the most power mutant on the planet next to Magneto. He just doesn’t throw his weight around like he could. And that’s when he merges with Magneto and becomes Onslaught, it just messes up the Marvel Universe and destroys the Fantastic Four and the Age of Apocalypse happens and everything flips on its head.

NR: If you could have any super power, what would it be?

SK: I used to think it would be to control atoms, so I can create things, I can move things, I could change matter. I could basically have any power I want to. I could grow claws or re-configure my wounds. But there’s also something to be said for having telepathy and being able to communicate with people, or even control them. But yeah, as a kid, it was to manipulate atoms.

NR: If you could be any supervillain, who would you be?

SK: Magneto came to mind first, but that might be because we’re on that topic. Who would I be? Yeah, let’s go with Magneto. He’s just so powerful. I guess I also like the fact that he’s fighting for a greater cause. It’s not just about himself. I guess it’s what sorta draws me towards him, which is probably the same thing with Professor X.

NR: Harry Potter! Which Hogwarts House from Harry Potter would you belong to?

SK: I don’t even know the houses! (laughs) Though people always call me Harry Potter when I wear glasses. But I don’t even know the houses. (laughs) That’s a straight fail right there!

NR: Any last words?

SK: Just check out my Instagram, Twitter, Facebook—it’s all @shannonkook. Dream, believe, achieve. Live, love, be. You know—hug everybody. Stay in school, say no to drugs! (laughs)

Dark Places will be released on August 7, 2015 in theaters nationwide.

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