Gary Cole Answers Your Questions!
Alice Covington asks, "How did you feel about playing a part like this and what made you decide to take it on?"
All starts with a script. I thought it was laid out in an original way. Most of the crimes were not shown, which I think made them more powerful. We saw their aftermath in most cases. We did not see any insight into why Williams did what he did, and I liked that fact. Not a usual choice.
Samantha Lemly asks, "How did you get into character for such a sick personality?"
There was plenty of material on Williams. Two excellent books. "A New Kind of Monster" and "Camouflage Killer" . Also I never think of it as getting into character. I play off other characters, that's what tells a story. The interrogation footage that went viral was a big help as well.
Kelly McCarter asks, "How hard was it for you to portray a real murderer?"
If you don't make judgments on characters, they are no more or no less difficult to play than anything else. To be an actor, you have to operate under the assumption that a human being is capable of doing anything. And in this case, had to keep doing it to satisfy his fantasy.
Gina Minton asks, "How weird was it for you to put on women’s clothing?"
I thought it was important to the story, it underlined how wrongly he was perceived by everyone who knew him. The danger in that detail, is that it can overshadow the brutality that he subjected his victims to. In the big picture, that "bizarre" behavior was irrelevant.
Deb asks, "What do you do to shake the creepy feeling after you’re done filming?"
For me, if I'm really present when doing a scene, when I'm finished, the emotions don't linger. They come to a natural conclusion. But that is just me, all actors are different.
Julie asks, "Do you like playing the bad guy more than the good guy?"
There's something about bad guys that gives actors a charge. But it all comes down to material on a case by case basis. I think the line between good guy and bad guy in Movies and TV is a lot blurrier than it used to be.
Amy M. asks, "Which was a more challenging role – Jeffry Macdonald or Colonel Russell Williams and why?"
Well, they both had their challenges. But when I played Jeffrey MacDonald, I barely had any experience in front of a camera to speak of. So that in itself was a challenge. They were both eerily similar to me. Both were well respected, accomplished in their professions, and held positions of authority. There may be more documented insight into Williams because he confessed, and discussed the crimes with psychologists. MacDonald maintains his innocence to this day. People can choose to believe him or not. But what is certain is that he will most likely not change his story. I think the key to playing both of them is to avoid playing them as sinister or evil and make their behavior as true to their character and personality as possible. Even as bizarre as some of the behavior was, especially in the case of Williams.
Laura D. asks, "What has been your favorite role so far?"
Hard to single out a favorite. Jack Killian of "Midnight Caller" is special because I was just beginning to get comfortable in front of the camera and learned so much. Lumghberg and Reese Bobby are favorites. But I think the most FUN I ever had was Lucas Buck.
Tess Alexandria asks, "How do you never age and stay so beautiful?"
Bless you. Good lighting always helps us old guys. But I'm holding up pretty well. I'm lucky I come from good stock. My Dad is 82 and is hard to keep up with. His father was the same. Hopefully I'll just keep riding their coattails.
Photo Credit: Stephen Scott
Can't get enough of Gary Cole? Watch his jaw-dropping performance as Colonel Russell Williams in the Lifetime Original Movie “An Officer and a Murderer” on Wednesday, August 1 at 8/7c!