Is there anyone out there in The Walking Dead fandom who hasn’t fallen in love with Jerry? He had me at “Deuces!” I can honestly say after talking with him that Cooper Andrews is just as sweet and down-to-earth as Jerry. He’s humble with his new-found fame and is extremely appreciative of all the accolades he is receiving from his fans. When I told him that Norman Reedus and he both have roles not written into the comic books, yet both exploded onto The Walking Dead scene, it quite left him speechless for a second, which I found charming. Even though he works hard crafting the character of Jerry, I believe some of Jerry comes from within Cooper himself. The following video is the scene where we first met Jerry and his delightful verbosity.
It’s time to see just what Cooper has to say about his life and his acting.
Where were you born and where did you grow up?
I was born in Long Island, New York, in a place called Smithtown. I lived in Plainsboro, New Jersey, until I was nine, in Towson, Maryland, until I was 11, and then I was raised the rest of the way in Dunwoody, Georgia. I still visit Long Island and New Jersey often for family, and of course, for the pizza! “PIZZA,” I SAY!
How did you get into acting?
I always loved pretending and putting on shows for my family when I was a kid. When I was in high school, we had a drama club and in addition to that, my friends and I would shoot mini movies for class projects… or just for fun.
You used to work behind the scenes on set. What was the transition to in front of the camera like?
It was hard at first because if I saw people that needed help on the crew-side, I just wanted to jump in and lend a helping hand. I thought back and realized that when I was a boom operator who would work an average of 14 hours a day, I would rather have my actor ready to shoot than help me out so that I could go home. That was the hardest part for me… minding my business, I guess. hahaha
What was your very first acting role?
My first acting role was dressing up as a soldier in a friend’s Zelda fan-film. I also played a troll and octopus puppeteer on that same project.
How did you land the role of Jerry?
It happened really fast. I auditioned on a Friday and again on a Saturday and with 4 hours notice, I was flying out Monday. I did 3 or 4 versions of the character and in the end, we didn’t use any of them. Scott Gimple and I discussed a character that was kind and smiley IN the Kingdom, and someone that was ready to protect what he believes is OUTSIDE of the Kingdom.
Is your own personality as sweet and fun-loving as Jerry’s?
I try my best! hahaha I think going into anything with that kind of positive energy is important.
Do you ad lib any of your lines?
Not my lines, but the physicality and the looks and smiles is something that I get to play with…a lot.
Were you a Walking Dead fan before landing the role?
VERY much so! I’ve been a fan since season 2.
What has been your favorite acting role?
I really enjoy all my characters because they are all a part of me. I have worked with some amazing casts in the past and present, but when it comes to Jerry, he shares a common experience with everyone that is still living. Loss. What makes him special to me is that, yes, he hurts, but he sees a future where the pain can go away and everyone can be happy. Jerry believes and that’s why I love him.
Did you do anything special to prepare for the role?
I wish I could say yes, but I barely had time to prepare my suitcase. However, whenever I go in to Jerry mode, I look on the bright side of EVERYTHING, I try to appreciate everything, and I try to respect everything.
Were there any funny or memorable behind the scene moments you experienced?
In episode 709, as Rick is approaching the king, I give a little friendly wave to him and I get the most furrowed eyebrow look from Andy. At this point I’m thinking he was really upset when I did that. After we finished that take, he walks up to me with this quizzical look and says, “Did you just wave at me?”. And I said, “yes.” He starts laughing and says, “That is hilarious! Do that every time. Who waves in the apocalypse?!”
Who are your heroes, your inspirations?
Arnold Schwarzenegger because his personality and charm shines through his characters. I think it’s one of the hardest things to do as an actor. PLUS he’s the Terminator. So.
Is there anything you can tell all us fans about yourself that we don’t know?
I LOVE making soups. Soup is comforting, healing, and it’s perfect when you’re too tired to chew.
Note to Cooper: A copy of my Mom’s cookbook is on it’s way to you! Plenty of soup recipes, plus all kinds of good Southern cooking.
I think AMC, Gimple, and Kirkman have another Daryl situation on their hands. If Jerry dies, we riot! We had our Abraham-isms (R.I.P, dear one), now I guess we’ll have our Jerry-isms. I look forward to seeing what he is going to say next. Tune in with me Sunday nights on AMC 9/8C and let me know your thoughts @sassypoo.
I’m just going to leave this here for your enjoyment: