Luke Cosgrove previews THE MIST: “It looks phenomenal!”

THE MIST, a new series that actor Luke Cosgrove tells me is “like a cousin” to the book and movie of the same name by Stephen King, premieres June 22 (10/9c) on SpikeTV. As the show explores the fear that the townspeople feel in the face of THE MIST, it sounds like we’ll be on the edges of our seats (and maybe jumping out of them with fright) each week.

Cosgrove plays Jake, the Sheriff’s son, the big man on campus, who is accused of a heinous crime.  I chatted with him about getting involved in the show, why he thinks fans of the book and newbies will all love the show, and what else he’s been update to in the Q&A below – check it out!

Talk about THE MIST. Were you a Stephen King fan? Is this something that’s kind of in your wheelhouse? What’s your history with that kind of world? Do you like his stuff?
To be honest, I think I read “The Shining” in high school. It was a good book. A lot of my friends were really into him. I guess he’s always had that sort of cult following. To be honest, personally, I wasn’t really that big of a fan. Getting on the show, I kind of had to be a fan so I actually read the book. It was a pretty good book. I became a fan…which, I mean, was great.

Was it something about working with the folks involved or was it the script? What was it, as you were getting prepared for the audition, that you thought, okay, this is what I want to be a part of? What was it that stood out to you?
Stephen King stood out to me obviously. That’s a pretty big thing. The Weinstein Company, when I saw that I was just like, “Oh, wow. That’s huge. That’s great.” Christian [Torpe] is an amazing writer. We got a great team at Spike there behind it. The cast as well. Frances Conroy, Morgan [Spector], Darren [Pettie]. Yeah, we just had a great ensemble cast. It was just such an amazing experience and a wonderful thing to be a part of collaboratively.

For people who don’t know or aren’t sure what the TV show is going to be like, how can you describe the show for people?
The show? I think Christian said it best. It’s kind of like a cousin to the book and the movie. It’s definitely an original approach. There’s very minor similarities across the book and the movie, but we’ve taken a completely original approach with the storyline. There’s about seven characters that you wouldn’t even recognize, which my character is one of them. It’s great to be part of something original and new and fresh that people will like.

There are so many shows now that are either based on a movie we know and love, or based on a book. They each take their own liberties. Do you have to be a fan of the work to enjoy the TV show? The people who don’t know anything about “The Mist,” or don’t know anything about Stephen King, is this a show for them, too?
Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. Of course, it’s going to have that following already just because people love Stephen King, but the show is all about fear. I think with today and what’s going on in the world, especially with politics, I think people can relate to that. I think there’s a lot of fear in today’s world, and it’s really interesting how it translates to a modern day time. If that makes any sense.

Thinking of fear and thinking of the shows we’ve seen that are really doing this thriller, fear type TV show. Is this a show that people can sit down and really say, “Okay, it scared me,” or “It made me think” every week?
Yeah, I think it will scare a lot of people. There’s a lot of secrets and drama that sort of reveals, because of what’s actually happening in the mist. People start banding to together, we start to see the secrets behind the town and the history behind the town. What happened before the mist actually arrived. But it starts to surface when they’re put in the face of fear. A lot people’s demons and greatest fears come out in that time, which is really interesting to see between characters, I think.

Who is your character? Who is this guy?
Jay is the high school quarterback. This is what we first see. We first see him as the high school quarterback and son of the town sheriff, so he’s obviously a very popular kid in the town. He’s got a lot going for him. He’s got a lot of friends, but later in the pilot, he is actually accused of a crime. I can’t actually tell you what the crime is unfortunately [laughs], but it’s something big and it’s something very controversial to today, which is something again that people will relate to. I think the audience will have to decide whether they will be on his side or against him. It was a really interesting character to play. Basically, he spends the whole series trying to exonerate himself from this crime. Whether he is a good person or a bad person, I can’t give that to you either [laughs], but I believe in myself that he’s a good person. I don’t know if that helps.

It has to be interesting to play, too, because you don’t know how the audience is going to react. You’re playing it one way, and you may think he’s a good person, but somebody else is going to have a different opinion. That has to be exciting as an actor.
Exactly! Yeah. I wasn’t aware of whether my character had done this or not. I had to play it with that ambiguity, I think. It was a really interesting way they had me play the character, because I had no idea whether he’d done it or not either. Hopefully we see that on the screen.

Building these relationships together and filming the show. What’s that been like? What was it like approaching this world as a cast, too?
It was great. We all contribute equally to the creative side, and every single person had such an integral part in building the narrative.

You meet a cast for the first time. You’re not sure what it’s going to be like. Do you feel that there was chemistry right away? That you guys really interacted in a way that it just kind of popped right away, or was it a slow build as you started working together?
I felt like it was an instant pop from day one with me. As a person, yeah, I got along with everyone and it was like no one had any problems with each other. We always help each other out. Whenever anyone had any questions, we’d always be able to talk to each other openly. It was a really good first experience for me, because this is my first project, so I had no idea how this world worked, and we all really helped each other well.

Do you see that this could go beyond season one? Are there plans for what comes after the finale of this season?
Yeah. In my gut feeling, I truly believe that there will be a season two. That’s just my instincts. From what I’ve seen of the show, it looks phenomenal. We had a great cinematographer and we had a bunch of awesome TV directors. We had about eight different directors on the show, which was incredible. Yes, I really think the story is going to continue on. They really left it in a place where it could continue on. I think audiences are going to want to keep watching…it’s got everything going for it. Yeah, I hope it does turn out to be as good as what we think it will be. I think it will.

To have it be your first project, you don’t know what’s going to happen. Was it what you expected, or was it better or different? How was it different than what you expected going in?
Oh, it was everything I expected and more. It was such a good experience. Obviously the first day I was absolutely crapping myself because I was so nervous [laughs]. This is the first big thing I’ve ever done, so working with Adam Bernstein, who has done just a bunch of projects. It was quite overwhelming, but after a couple episodes, it becomes routine and it becomes your job. You go to work and do what you love, and we’re very blessed to be able to do what we do. Yeah, it was such a high. It was four and a half months on this huge high. When it was all over, it was a bit sad, because you build this family with people.

Where did you film? Where was it filmed?
It was filmed in a little studio out in Bedford, which is 40 minutes from Halifax in Nova Scotia, Canada. Yeah. Halifax is a small town. A small, quaint fishing town. There wasn’t that many people there. I think there was about 300,000 people there. We all stuck together. We all hung out when we weren’t shooting, so it was a really good experience.

What do you think is next? What do you have lined up? Have you shot anything else during this? What are you working on or what’s coming up?
I [was] in LA for pilot season. Just had a couple auditions, so yeah, just trying to find a bit of work between. If we get a season two, that’s great. But you can’t bank on that, so I’ve got to try and find another job.

Pilot season always seems like it’s such a scary thing. You just never know, and you go in and you go in.
I’d not been in LA for two days, and I had two in one day. That’s pretty normal I think. I had one appointment that was booked…and then the same day, my manager calls me and is like, “Oh, by the way, can you make this other appointment? It’s actually today at 4:00.” I had to learn a bunch of dialogue in under four hours and get it done and be off book for it, and then go in and try and do the best work you can possibly do with that preparation.

How do you do that? Do you have any devices that you use to go off book that quickly?
I don’t know. I’ve been memorizing lines since I was young, so I’ve got it together when I was young, and I guess that really helped my brain able to remember lines like that. I don’t know. It’s like a photographic sort of technique, where you sort of imagine where the lines are on the page, and then I see them in my head. I don’t know. It’s a weird thing. I can’t really explain how I learn them. I just sort of learn them and I see them in my head.

Do you watch other TV when you get a chance? Is there shows you sit down and can’t miss?
Yeah. I’ve been watching WESTWORLD actually on HBO. That’s a really good show. I try and watch a few Netflix series here and there, but yeah, there’s heaps of good shows out there at the moment. It’s kind of hard to watch them all.

There’s too much. I can’t watch it all.
Yeah. I don’t know. It’s hard. There’s so much TV, like you said. There’s so much TV coming out at the moment.

When you were a kid and deciding you wanted to become an actor, was it a moment or was it something you did that you thought, “Okay, I really want to do this for the rest of my life?” Had you always been someone who puts on shows, or something like that?
Yeah. I started when I was a kid in theater. I said before, I was about 12 years old and I actually landed a lead part in this play. I had this monologue on stage, and I was up there. I could see my parents. There was this big audience, and my parents in the front row. I just remember finishing the monologue and looking out at them, and the look on their faces. There was such excitement on their faces and I was like, “Wow, this is a really cool feeling of being up here and being able to entertain people and tell a story to people.” That’s when it clicked, and I caught this bug for wanting to perform in front of people and become a storyteller. Yeah, I think that’s how it started.

Is there anybody’s career you’d love to follow in their footsteps, or is there somebody who you think has blazed a trail that you’d like to follow?
Yeah. Being from Australia, I’ve always looked up to guys like Heath Ledger and Russell Crowe. They’re a couple big names. Cate Blanchett as well. She’s great. Leo, Tom Hardy, those big names. Leo has great instincts. He’s had such a great career, and I think any actor would love to have that kind of career. He’s just done good work after good work. I’m just trying to make good things happen and make work that people will remember for a long period of time.

Find Luke on Twitter, and follow the official site of THE MIST.

All images featured, credit to:
Photographer: Jason Willheim
Grooming: Blondie
Stylist: Brittany Hart