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Interview: Jeremy Luke on playing Mickey Cohen in TNT’s “Mob City”

Interview: Jeremy Luke on playing Mickey Cohen in TNT’s “Mob City”

Interview: Jeremy Luke on playing Mickey Cohen in TNT’s “Mob City”
December 04
15:40 2013

Preston Barta / Film Critic

The North Texas Daily had the chance to sit down and talk to Jeremy Luke (“Don Jon,” 2013) about “Mob City,” playing the notorious Mickey Cohen and what class he would teach at UNT.

I feel like advice plays such a big part when stepping into a series with so many good actors and filmmakers attached. What was some of the best advice you got before stepping into Mickey Cohen’s shoes?

Jeremy Luke: “The best advice I got was actually from Jon Bernthal. I really respect Jon. He was on ‘The Walking Dead,’ and is just a great, fantastic actor. I had all these questions and things in my head as to what this should be, and he just gave me some really sound advice. He just said, ‘let the character evolve.’ And I just took that and ran with it. That was the best advice that I got to play Mickey.”

Did you have to do physical training before playing him?

Luke: “You know it’s funny that you say that because I had to do quite the opposite. I gained 20 pounds for the role. So I didn’t have to do any training [Laughs]— just got to eat and drink. I went out to breakfast with [Frank Darabont], he was like, ‘here, eat some more potatoes.’ The first time I met him he said I need you to start getting fat. So I put on about 15 or 20 lbs. of muscle, but not the kind of muscle like – working out at the gym, but the hurly, back in the day kind of muscle. Carrying rocks in wheelbarrows. You know, stuff like that.”

What was it like working with Frank?

Luke: “Out of everybody I’ve ever worked with I trust him the most. Frank is awesome. The first day I was really nervous that I was going to get fired – that he picked the wrong guy. But at the end of the day, he came up to me and said, ‘now I know I have the right guy.’ I was like, ‘Oh my God. Thank you.’”

I asked this question to your show’s creator, Frank Darabont, and I am curious to hear what you have to say. From an actor’s standpoint, is there something from the time period that the show is set in that you wish you could’ve experienced?

Luke: “Honestly, I wish I could have experienced stuff that didn’t have to deal that much with technology. That was something that was really captivating when I watched the show. It wasn’t over technology. It was a crime drama. People got away with a lot more stuff than they do now. There weren’t cameras on the corners, cell phones, computers or any of that kind of stuff. Even with the police, they had files and file cabinets. Everything was handwritten. And I thought that aspect was really neat.”

That makes me think of Brie Larson’s character in Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s film, “Don Jon,” which you’re in. She’s constantly on her phone and texting throughout the entire film.

Luke: “Yeah. You know, that’s kind of where we are as a society nowadays. People are very disconnected, and back then, you had no other choice but to be connected. Even on our show, Jon Bernthal’s character stands at a bar and has no choice but to talk to the person next to him. He can’t check his phone or watch the television. You know, that kind of thing.”

If you could teach a class at UNT, what would you teach?

Luke: “I would say a class about the power of confidence. There are some things that you can’t really learn. You can’t teach ambition. I don’t know how I would teach ambition [Laughs], but something like that.”

“Mob City” premieres tonight at 9 p.m. on TNT.

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