Written By Noah Wade
Some actors may fail to stay relevant in the constantly shifting world of entertainment, but Curtiss Cook is not one of them. Cook, already more than two decades into his career, is experiencing a surge of success playing the role of Otis “Douda” Perry, a businessman and hustler from the Southside of Chicago, in the Showtime hit “The Chi”. He also has another big project set for release later this year as well.
Cook’s impressive resume should come as no surprise. He was the first American to ever be given a full ride to London’s Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, which has produced dozens of acclaimed British thespians including Stuart Matthew Price of Harry Potter fame. His education and skills led him to work in just about every entertainment medium you can think of. From cable TV on shows like “Elementary” and “Bull”, on Netflix in the Kevin Spacey-led “House Of Cards”, in film in “Shutter Island” with Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo (one of my favorite movies of all time, by the way) and on Broadway in both “Miss Saigon” and “The Lion King”.
Selfishly, I had to discuss “Shutter Island” and “The Lion King” with him. The former came out in 2010, while I was still in middle school while I saw the latter on Broadway at five years old in December, 2001. Cook, jokingly, objected to hearing this so as to not feel “old”, but he discussed both projects with such rich detail and admiration for both his colleagues and the individual crafts of film and Broadway respectively.
After reading for, and almost landing a part in, another Martin Scorsese film called “The Departed”, Cook had the chance to read back and forth, with Scorsese himself, for “Shutter Island. He got a call that he had booked the job before getting off the train back home to Yonkers. In the film, he played one of the orderlies at the mental hospital that Teddy, Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, was visiting in search of a missing patient. “As the orderlies, we were there about 70% of the time,” said Cook. “We had to always be there. I was like a fly on the wall watching these greats like Ben Kingsley, Leonardo, ‘Marky Mark’ Ruffalo and Michelle Williams.” It was just Cook’s second major film, so he really tried to soak it all in. “It was amazing on so many different levels,” he said. “As far as meeting people and getting to watch people work.”