The veteran Scottish actor is back in the crime drama “Game of Thrones,” following his violent demise in “The Bay.”
He’s the villain?
Actors have, for the most part, worked out the art of the zoom interview by now. The trick is to perform it against a totally blank backdrop so that no personal information can be gleaned from what you have in front of you by the interviewer. We’re talking in mid-November, and he’s steaming right in front of a huge, lighted wooden Christmas tree as his zoom display comes to life. Granted, he played Santa several times, most memorably in the Narnia movies, but also in the Christmas grotto at his son’s school every year (he was so good that his son didn’t remember him). But who was conscious that he was so overly festive? Ok, I do little cameo things, actually,” he explains, “It’s like an online, can you call it a convention? Where do you meet people? I really like to do that anyway.
“I do a lot in America, and we thought we would make it look a little nicer to cheer people up with Thanksgiving coming up. “Cosmo has been working in film and television since the mid-’60s, and in hundreds of productions he has played a certain kind of burly authority figure.
Most of them would recognise him as Jeor Mormont, the original commander of Game of Thrones’ Night’s Watch, but that should not overshadow the rest of his job. The sheer amount of classics he has been to over the years is daunting.
The Persuaders, The Sweeney, Braveheart, Trainspotting, Troy, Wonder Woman, Chernobyl and the latest His Dark Materials TV adaptation, Softly Softly. He has been one of those actors over the years whose presence helps convince audiences that all is going to be well. The new role of Cosmo is the second season of The Bay, the Broadchurch-like detective series from ITV.
Again, he appears as a figure of authority, as the intimidating father of a mourning family in this scenario.
The obvious question begs this.
Are you a killer? “Do you know the character from The Simpsons? Johnny Tightlips?” he answers, slipping into a perfect know-it-all role. “I’m not saying I did it, I’m not saying I didn’t do it. What is it? The Bay? I don’t know The Bay. “It turns out that the Simpsons are fanatical about Cosmo. “If I were on Mastermind – which is highly unlikely – my specialty subject could only be The Simpsons,” he says with all seriousness.
In case you are curious, “The Springfield Files” from season eight is his favorite show, and he also feels they should avoid producing new episodes. “You know, I always look at the screen and if it’s the 4:3 format, if it’s not widescreen, you know it’s going to be a good episode,” he said. “It’s not finished yet. “A while later, I spoke to Andrew Neil. We come from places very close to each other and have been born a couple of years apart. He had an impressive career, but he told me once, ‘Jimmy, I’m the guy who took the Simpsons to the United Kingdom,’ back when he was Sky’s head. More than anything, he was so proud of that. “Gradually, I’m trying to steer the conversation back to my original question. On the opening titles of “The Bay,” his name is after everyone else’s – “And James Cosmo” – so I’m sure that means he’s the killer. “Yeah, that’s one of the discussions your agent has,” he begins to laugh; a big, rolling, satisfied chuckle. “I’m totally not involved in that side of things personally.
If they did not mention my name in the credits at all, I wouldn’t care.
Cosmo is not a man who seems to be especially burdened by vanity. That could be because of the sheer durability of his career – you don’t get rich with decades of guest appearances on Minder and C.A.T.S. Eyes – but it may also be because of his upbringing. In fact, I’d rather say,’ Such-and-such was played by some person.’
James Copeland, an occasional actor who hung out in London with the glamorous likes of Sean Connery and Peter O’Toole but also kept flying back to live in Scotland with his mother and sister, was Cosmo’s dad.
“Cosmo didn’t like Clydebank school, which he now attributes as a kid to being “exceptionally dumb.” If I went to Mastermind, which is very unlikely, my special subject could only be “I had no interest in school,” he says, “The Simpsons. “I spent a year missing every Friday afternoon. You didn’t know,