Cole Sprouse on Finding a Healthy Balance in Hollywood


“I hope you don’t mind, I’m going to crush this chicken wrap as we speak,” Cole Sprouse politely informs me as he sits in the kitchen wearing a fuzzy baby blue sweater. The scarf in question is already halfway to his mouth.

Sprouse is used to multitasking.

He and his twin brother, Dylan, began their professional acting careers as babies and worked steadily throughout their childhoods, sharing prominent roles in ‘Grace Under Fire’ and the Adam Sandler film ” Big Daddy”. Cole then played Ross’ son on “Friends” before reuniting with Dylan on the Disney Channel sitcom “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody” (Cole played the smart Cody). The tween’s success led to a spin-off series, a TV movie — and mega stardom for the twins. At 18, they had actually burned down.

But after earning a degree in archeology from New York University, Cole Sprouse kept his promise to his manager to try another round of TV auditions before leaving the industry for good. He booked the role of brooding outcast Jughead Jones on the CW drama “Riverdale” and was once again sucked in.

“I started performing when I was so young that I hadn’t really tried, as an adult, to think about whether I really liked the performance,” Sprouse said in a recent video call. from Vancouver, British Columbia, where he is currently filming the seventh season of “Riverdale”. He continued, “When I came back, I was reminded that I really love the art of acting. But I still have a very complicated relationship with celebrity culture.

He learned to protect his privacy. Rare public comments about his past (namely, with his “Riverdale” co-star Lili Reinhart) and present (model Ari Fournier) relationships are being scrutinized by fans and widely reported on by the entertainment media. He opened a secondary Instagram account devoted solely to sharing the photos he takes of strangers as they try to sneak pictures of him. “It was an attempt to go, ‘Hey, I’ve got an agency in the situation too,'” he explained. “It helped me a lot.”

His latest role is the lead role in the HBO Max romantic comedy “Moonshot” — not to be confused with the unrelated 2022 releases “Moon Knight” and “Moonfall.” Set in a near future, where robots run cafes and Mars is colonized, Sprouse plays Walt, a hapless college student who hitches a ride on a Mars-bound rocket alongside Sophie (Lana Condor) in an effort to reach a another girl on Mars. think the Chosen One might be.

Intermittently puffing on a vape pen after finishing the chicken wrap, Sprouse opened up about billionaires, the effects of childhood fame and turning 30.

These are edited excerpts from our conversation.

“Moonshot” is a futuristic take on a conventional romantic comedy. Are you a rom-com fan?

I have my favorites, and they’re all over the map. I’m a big fan of “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”, for example. And while there’s a heavy romantic element throughout, most people would call it a comedy — and yet, on all genre lines, it’s a romantic comedy.

I think for so long romantic comedies have been categorized as “girl movies”, something lowly that only female audiences would care about. Male-centric entries like “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” have made some people rethink that notion.

The general trend with the arts always starts with a large female fanbase who really fall in love with something. In many cases, we see the female audience brave the territory first, and then everyone else follows. In the end, with “Moonshot”, we decided to make a film that didn’t take itself very seriously, on which we had a lot of fun, and we were able to weave a dynamic of an old married couple in the relationship between Lana and me. .

The film also throws some solid punches in the billionaire space race: Zach Braff’s Elon Musk character admits he could have used his fortune to solve world hunger dozens of times over, but went to Mars instead. What do you think of the current space cowboy efforts of people like Musk and Jeff Bezos?

Oh, I think it’s extremely masturbatory. It’s a ridiculous thing. When I was studying archeology, we used to have this conversation about the resurrection of the mammoth. The conversation always turned into two camps: the camp that really wanted to see the mammoth walk the earth again. And the camp that said, “Hey, we have active species that are dying out. If we put the resources you talk about into the already extinct mammoth and focus on the present, we could do a lot more good. I feel like this conversation about space cowboys is very similar. I’m in the camp where I’m going, let’s focus on the present. We have an active space that we live in that is currently breaking down. We need to shift attention and resources here.

So no chance you’ll be booking a commercial ticket on a rocket ship anytime soon.

No, I’m already so paranoid when it comes to flying. I couldn’t imagine what my control freak nature would do when we started to take off. I would be a nervous wreck.

People like to talk about former child stars in this dichotomy between they get out of control or somehow “come out great.” Do you think it is possible for anyone to go through this experience unscathed?

My brother and I used to say to each other, “Oh, you got away with it! Oh, you are unharmed! No. The young women of the channel we were on [Disney Channel] have been so sexualized from such an early age as my brother and I that there is absolutely no way to compare our experiences. And each person who goes through this trauma has a unique experience. When we talk about child stars going crazy, what we don’t really talk about is how traumatic fame is. So I’m fiercely defensive of people making fun of some of the young women who were on the channel when I was younger because I feel like she doesn’t understand enough of the humanity of that experience and what it takes to recover. And, to be completely honest, as I’ve now gone through a second big round of this fame game as an adult, I’ve noticed the same psychological effects fame has on a group of young adults as when I was a child. . I just think people have an easier time hiding it when they’re older.

After the announcement of the renewal of “Riverdale” for a seventh season, many memes arises imagining your reaction when you heard the news. The general consensus on the internet seemed to be that you were completely clueless about having to do another season. Is it correct?

[Laughs] That is not exactly correct. Firstly, because I just assumed that we are going to see the finality of our [seven-season] contracts. Second, I think the internet assumes – because of how crazy our show is – that we’re probably doing a little worse than we actually are. It’s easy to forget that people love the show. And I think it’s going to be much more appreciated in 10 years than it is now. It would be rather pompous of me to say that another season of financial stability is not something attractive. Although I’m not going to lie. Memes make me laugh.

You have built a parallel career as a professional photographermainly in fashion. What is it about this medium that made you want to pursue it?

When I was in school, I traveled a lot for archeology, so I always had my camera and I took almost anthropological photos of the people I met, of the culture around me. And then, just by being in New York, I immersed myself in fashion work and built a portfolio. It was my main source of income until season 2 of “Riverdale”.

You will be 30 in August. Does this decade feel like the start of a new chapter?

Absoutely. I feel like my ducks are better aligned than they have ever been. We are also witnessing the conclusion of a program that I have spent the majority of my 20 years on, so there is this world of possibilities open to me at the end of this production that I find incredibly engaging and intoxicating. . And, I hate to tell everyone, but I’m not the only 30-something playing a teenager on TV.

You arrived at the university in “Moonshot”. You are starting to age.

Just chain them, slowly but surely. In an ideal world, when “Riverdale” ends, I’d like to make one or two movies a year and shoot the rest of the time. And the logical intersection of these two worlds will ultimately be direction.

We live in a time of extreme 90s and 2000s nostalgia. Any chance you’ll go full circle and do a “Suite Life” reboot?

I don’t think I will ever go back there. Not that I have a problem with other people doing the reboot. I’m just a big believer that if something was beautiful in the past, you should let it stay beautiful. Bringing it into the future is like reheating a really good, fresh meal in the microwave. It would be hard to be in your thirties and leave [in a deep growl]”Zack and Cody are back, man!”

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