Q&A with Jack O’Connell of Skins

We haven’t seen Cook for a while, where’s he been?

We left him at John Foster’s gaff, who we were led to believe was responsible for the murder of Freddie. Now we’re saying about two/three years has passed. Somehow he’s ended up in the North of the country, so my assumption is that he’s gone there via Wales and we find him in Manchester. Although I’m not too sure it’s labelled as Manchester, so to the untrained eye it could be anywhere. I think he’s been wandering about somewhere avoiding the law. He’s obviously had to keep a low profile, so that hasn’t left much room for any excitement.

Was it difficult decision for you to return?

Not in the slightest. When we left we were under the impression that we would all come back together for a film so I hadn’t put Cook to bed at all, I’ve kept him sort of nearby. It was about a year ago when I started preparing for him, but I think that was more out of excitement than anything. It was a no brainer. I didn’t even need to think about it, I was just waiting for them to confirm it to me. I prefer to think that this isn’t the end of Cook and that there is room to explore him further because he’s a character that I’ve really helped develop. I’ve never been as in tune or as influential with the device of the character and creating him, so hopefully he will continue further but certainly for this time I was already there. Looking back and reflecting on Cook’s story there was still a lot left for interpretation, he wasn’t a full circle. I received a lot of questions from people who didn’t find a result, because there was nothing final about it, so it was deliberate decision to get the point where we explore it now. I’m fascinated to see where they go and I’m very privileged to be able portray one of them for him.

Tell us about Cook in Skins Rise?

We pick Cook up as a twenty something, becoming a man, with a similar timeline to me. Luckily throughout the time I’ve played Cook I’ve always been a little bit ahead of him in terms of maturity. I’ve always been slightly older than him, so I was learning things a little bit prior to actually portraying him. We grew fond of Cook watching him as a young man, as a late teen and now we see him having to man up. Is he going to keep running around head loose or is he actually going to stay alive and prioritise himself for a bit?

One of his main lessons in these two episodes is to find out if he can he prioritise real love or does he prioritise fucking for the thrill of it? I don’t think he even comes to a decision, but it’s something I can relate to myself. At the age that he’s at now, it’s very truthful in the sense that you have to decide what’s for keeps and what’s for short term. Any one of us can go off on a short term burner, but it’s a marathon. To put it in a nut shell, it’s Cook growing up.

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