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Exclusive: Prison Break’s child star Christian Michael Cooper on acting, superheroes and Season 5

Christian Michael Cooper with onscreen mum Sarah Wayne Callies in Prison Break
Christian Michael Cooper with onscreen mum Sarah Wayne Callies in Prison Break Season 5

Meet Christian Michael Cooper — the 10-year-old child star of Fox’s returning hit series Prison Break.

It’s not often that we at Monsters and Critics get to chat with younger actors, so it was a privilege to talk to someone who has done so much in such a short amount of time.

Despite being just a decade into his life, Christian has already done a whole lot of amazing work in some of television’s best-loved series such as Bates Motel and When Calls The Heart.

But Season 5 of Prison Break — a sequel to the earlier seasons which aired from 2005 to 2009, and which starts tonight on Fox, — is one of his biggest projects yet.

We caught up with Christian to talk about his career thus far and his role in the new show.

Monsters and Critics: From what have seen you seem to have done a lot in a very short time. How did you get into acting?

Christian Michael Cooper: I got my start in commercials when I was about a year and a half. I was just doing commercials and when I was five I told my parents that I wanted to do television and film.

So I started that and a week later I booked a role in [2013 The CW series] Cult where I got to work with Robert Knepper from Prison Break.

M&C: What would you say you enjoy most about the process of acting?

CMC: It’s really fun getting to meet and know different people and making new friends.

Christian listens intently as he is told a bedtime story in critically acclaimed movie short Sidekick

M&C: One of your many roles had you acting alongside the likes of Josh Dallas, Emily Bett Rickards and Tom Cavanagh from Arrow and The Flash in the award-winning Sidekick? What were they like to work with and, for those not in the know, what was Sidekick about?

CMC: They were just amazing to work with. They’re so down to earth and really make you comfortable working with them.

The story of Sidekick is about a family and the dad gets diagnosed with cancer.

He doesn’t know how to tell his kids. So he uses a bedtime story with superheroes, and he had us all as the heroes of the story.

So dad was Captain Strong and I was the sidekick Shockwave and we had to rescue the princess.

M&C: In Sidekick there was a lot of FX and green screen used. How did you find working in those situations where you are told to react to something that you can’t see?

CMC: It can be fun and it can be a bit challenging. For example as the sidekick I was supposed to have lightning shooting out of my hands, but I couldn’t see the lightning shooting out of my hands. So it was difficult.

M&C: It’d be fun if you actually could have lightning come out of your hands right?

CMC: Yes!

M&C: Another series you have worked on is When Calls The Heart in which you got to act with your sister Ava Grace Cooper. How did you find that experience and did it feel a little strange working on the same project with your sister?

CMC: No, I think it was awesome to work with her because we usually practice our lines together.

It’s fun because we worked together on a movie that just came out. It isn’t in the theatres anymore. The Edge Of Seventeen. We’re both in that.

M&C: Any competition between the two of you about who can learn their lines quicker?

CMC: No, we’re all very supportive of each other.

M&C: Your latest project is the new sequel series to Prison Break. What can you tell us about the project and how much of a role do you have in it?

CMC: I think I have a very important role in the sequel.

I play Michael Schofield and Sarah’s son and I’m in most of the nine episodes.

It was a great show to work on.

M&C: Funnily enough Wentworth Miller from Prison Break is also Captain Cold on The Flash and Legends Of Tomorrow. Were you aware of that connection when you were working with him?

CMC: I did’t really know about that until later on during the filming process. I really didn’t see Wentworth until later in the shoot.

After I found out, I said ‘Wow! That’s really cool.’ I wish I could be in a television show like that.

M&C: As such a young actor, how do you manage to balance out the work load with your school work and do you have fans coming up to you in school?

CMC: Everyone is very cool and supportive about what I do.

My teachers give me maths and other stuff to do with my tutor while on the set.

M&C: Are there many other people like you at school that also act because it’s an unusual thing to be working so young?

CMC: I don’t really know many people in school that act. I know of an actor in my sister’s class, but not too many no.

M&C: Having already worked with some of television’s big names, what would you say has been the best experience so far and what if anything have you learned from these people?

CMC: I’ve learned that you should always be humble and believe in yourself. And never stop believing in yourself.

Just the other day I was reading one of my interviews to my class and a friend said, “I’m kind of jealous you’re an actor.”

And I said, “You shouldn’t be jealous because some day your dream will come true.”

So you must always be humble.

M&C: So you just have to keep working at it and good things happen.

CMC: Yes.

Prison Break begins tonight, Tuesday April 4, at 9/8c on Fox.

 


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