Local teen funny guy on Degrassi

Local teen funny guy on Degrassi:[Final Edition]
Karen Martin-Robbins. Midweek Banner. Orangeville, Ont.: Sep 20, 2002. pg. 23

Author(s): Karen Martin-Robbins
Article types: Profile
Section: Entertainment
Publication title: Midweek Banner. Orangeville, Ont.: Sep 20, 2002. pg. 23

Full Text (478 words)
Copyright Orangeville Banner 2002)

Profile of Ryan Cooley.

Ryan Cooley is too young to have watched Joey Jeremiah, Spike and Snake on the original Degrassi series.

But when the 14-year-old Orangeville teen was awarded the role of J.T. Yorke on CTV’s new series, Degrassi The Next Generation, last year, Cooley watched a couple of the old episodes.

“They were really funny,” he says. “The clothes they wore are hilarious.”

Cooley enjoys playing J.T. Yorke, whom he describes as the comic relief of the show. “He gets into trouble a lot in school with his clowning around. But he’s not mean. He has a soft heart.”

Cooley doesn’t find it difficult to play J.T. “I just try to keep it natural,” he says.

However, one episode last season was a challenge for the young actor. “There was a girl that liked J.T. and wouldn’t leave him alone. So, to get her to go away, he pretends to be gay. That was hard to do,” Cooley says.

Working on a tv series can be a lot of work for a young person. Cooley is on the set about eight hours a day and when he is not in a scene, he does school work with tutors.

But he finds that working on a show that deals with teen problems helps him get through difficult periods in his life. “I find if I am having a problem, I can look to things we have done on the show for answers,” he says.

Cooley is not new to acting.

Before Degrassi, he played the alien Pleskit on the Canadian series, I was a Sixth Grade Alien, which ran for two seasons. “I was in make-up for hours for that show,” he says. “It was fun because I had to think about how an alien would speak.”

Cooley’s first acting job was playing Jacob in Theatre Orangeville’s production of Jacob Two-Two and the Hooded Fang.

“I was eight years old at the time,” recalls Cooley. He was a member of the TOYS choir and heard about the auditions. “I just went for it,” he says.

Being a performer is not much of a stretch for Cooley, considering his Dad’s job as a drummer.

Charlie Cooley is currently touring with Jimmy Rankin from the Rankin family and at one point was Amanda Marshall’s drummer.

“Ryan has a terrific time on Degrassi,” Charlie says. “I guess you could say we are a show-biz family.”

Season two of Degrassi The Next Generation will be launched on CTV September 29 at 7 p.m. with a special hour-long episode called When Doves Cry.

In terms of what fans can expect from J.T. this season, Cooley says you will just have to watch to find out.

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