Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing actress Amanda Grace Cooper who stars in the horror comedy All Cheerleaders Die which you can go see in theaters now! In this interview Amanda talks about her role Hanna in the movie, what it was like having to deal with all that icky fake blood, what inspired her to become an actor, and her personal passions like writing vegan cookbook for kids. She was very sweet and a lot of fun to chat with (and we also got to bond over knitting). Check out the interview to learn more about her!
What inspired you to become an actor?
Well both of my parents are set decorators. My dad worked on the set of the soap opera The Young and the Restless for years and my mom did as well. When I was younger I would literally just walk the sound stages and I’d watch the actors. When I was three or four I just thought the actors were playing around and having fun and that’s ultimately what I wanted to do! I got involved with dancing and just performing competitively and then when I was seven or eight years old I literally turned to my parents and said, “Look, I want to be an actor. This is what I want to do.” Then they enrolled me in acting class. It all started there.
Tell me about your role Hanna in All Cheerleaders Die.
It’s kind of interesting because I actually came in to read for the role of Leena which I was not right for and they envisioned me as Hanna. Hanna is an average teenager who is just trying to fit in and she’s constantly rejected and the only people who take her in are the cheerleaders on the cheerleading squad because her sister happens to be on of the head cheerleaders. They put Hanna in the mascot outfit as a form of acceptance, although the joke is on Hanna because nobody else would want to do that. She falls into this love triangle between her sister and her sister’s boyfriend because she is deeply in love with him.
(Laughs) It’s kind of interesting. Without giving too much away that’s basically what my character is about.
So All Cheerleaders Die is a horror film. Are you a fan of horror yourself?
I’m definitely afraid of horror films! I cannot watch them for my dear life. It’s kind of weird because actually working on a horror film was so much fun, being covered in blood and drinking blood. I couldn’t wait to see how scary I looked on screen. Oh my gosh watching horror films, I can’t even watch the commercials! They’re so scary, it’s ridiculous.
That is hilarious. Now the prop blood, isn’t it corn syrup?
It’s disgusting. (Laughs). It’s basically corn syrup that’s colored red so it would look like blood. Oh my gosh when they put it in your mouth you just wanted to throw up! It’s the worst thing ever because I’m a vegan and very health conscious and having this thick amount of sugar that looks like blood was just the most disgusting thing ever.
It was horrible, but it was also fun!
At least it was fun, that’s what’s important. You have a special guest spot on The Bold and the Beautiful. What is it like working on a soap opera versus working on a movie?
Oh my gosh, completely different! With soap operas, especially with just watching on set on my dad’s show, you have to get everything done in a couple of takes. All of the lines need to be said, all of the blocking, everything needs to be done in a couple of takes because there’s so much that they need to do. They literally tape two episodes per day. That’s just really quick whereas a film you can have a hundred takes of just walking through the door. The director gets to take their time to make sure they get exactly what they want. Another thing with working on a soap opera is that you’re working with a lot of actors who come from a theater background. That’s really cool and you learn a lot and it’s a great learning experience. It’s good to have that under my belt before doing my first feature role.
It seems like it’s good training for a feature film.
Very good training! I would say soap operas are great to get into because it’s great training, especially for the beginning of your career. You learn a lot.
You’re also a trained drummer and a dancer, you do everything!
It’s kind of cool because I didn’t get into drumming until I was about fifteen years old. It’s weird because I’m a super girly girl and it’s the one thing about me I guess you could say is tomboyish. I got into it because especially with dancing you’re dancing to the beat, to the sound. That’s exactly what attracted me to the drums were just the beats and sounds and I got it. They just made sense to me. I’ve always been attracted to drummers as well growing up, so it’s kind of funny to find myself taking that task and trying to pursue music. It’s comical because ever since I was little I was always attracted to the drummer, not the lead singer, not the guitarist, it was the drummer in the back. I’ve always been interested in anything that has to do with performing whether it’s dancing or music, it’s just my life.
You’re also writing a vegan cookbook for children. What inspired you to do that?
When you go into a bookstore and you look at all of the cookbooks there is not a single book that is catered towards a child. And all of these books unless you’re already health conscious, or you’re looking to lose weight, or for a new diet, nothing draws you to pick up one of these boring books. I’ve been vegetarian my whole life and I turned vegan about six years ago, three years of that being a raw vegan which was way too intense, so this book has basically been six years in the making. I’ve been talking about it every single day and then I finally said, “Amanda, just get it done. Just do it.” It’s everything that I’ve grown up on, everything that I know and I thought why not create something for kids? Not, “Let’s convert to veganism,” or a gross book that a kid wouldn’t want to read. All the recipes are under five minutes and meals, shakes, and treats that any kid could make from elementary school to junior high. It’s an entertaining book and I just thought that the world needs more of that, to inform kids how to make delicious meals that are actually healthy for you.
What is your dream role?
Well I’m obsessed with two movies and it would have been awesome to be a part of them although I was practically a baby when they came out. It’s sort of sad because these days if you’re not a well-known actor you’re going to be asked to come in and read for specific roles that you look like. Of course I look like this innocent and sweet naïve girl so that’s what I’m typically going to read and cast for. Something that I love to do, especially in acting class or improv, because it’s sort of where my mind goes is somebody like-Wait, have you seen the movie Girl Interrupted?
I would absolutely love to be a part of a film like that. Just something with edge. For some odd reason I love playing drug addicts and I’m not an addict and I’ve never even taken a drug in my life. It’s so funny to act as though I am on a drug and crazy. Something else, my favorite movie is Almost Famous. Even to play a role in a period piece like that would be awesome ultimately, I would love to be a part of something creative like that. Something far away from me, not some sweet angelic role, something that is edgy and out there. I would love to do a role like that.
What are the things you like to geek out over?
I geek over vegan recipes all day long, 24/7. I geek over the Drudge Report 24/7. I geek over knitting and that is the number one absolute thing I love to do. When everyone else is clubbing and partying I am at home knitting. It’s the weirdest thing. I also like to geek over clothes, it’s this obsession that I have. Hmmm. Oh! Pickles and olives. They are my obsession.
The knitting thing isn’t weird, a lot of my friends knit and I like to crochet, so I don’t think it’s weird.
Okay, good (laughs). Well I’m glad one person gets it!
Do you like to make anything specific like scarves or caps?
I make a lot of scarves and they make the perfect Christmas present. You only have to spend a limited amount of money on the material, and then you take your time, and then you can give them out as cute little presents. I think it’s the coolest thing.
Exactly, everyone wins. You get to make something cool and it’s unique and thoughtful and you can give it as a present.
Exactly! I’m into unique and one of a kind items. I hate the mall because you buy one item there and there are at least a thousand just like it, whereas if you go to a flea market there are cool things there, they’re one of a kind. To be able to make someone something unique is really cool.
If you had to choose a superpower which one would you pick and why?
Being able to read people’s minds because half of what people say to your face, in an audition room, with a guy you like, or in general, you don’t really know half the time what they’re thinking. It would be great to know when they say, “That was a great read,” what they’re actually thinking. That would be interesting.
Right? “Do you really like me?” (Laughs).
What is your favorite comic book movie?
I do like Spiderman. I also liked Captain America. Ever since I was little I really liked Spiderman because it was entertaining and fun. He’s so relatable and I really like the love story behind it. I genuinely like that movie.
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