Entertainment TV On the up: Vampire Diaries’ Rick Cosnett
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On the up: Vampire Diaries’ Rick Cosnett

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A quick Twitter search for the name Rick Cosnett returns several tweets from the kinds of teenage girls who have love hearts in their usernames.

“OH MY GOD RICK COSNETT FAVOURITED MY TWEET!” one scream-types.

“Rick Cosnett tweeted to me! OMG I’m so happy!” Another happily proclaims.

Someone has even created a meme using his face. All this after the young actor has appeared in only one episode of US network the CW’s mega-hit The Vampire Diaries. When told this, Cosnett merely laughs.

“The fans have been so welcoming. It’s been overwhelming.”

Cast as mysterious newcomer Dr. Wes Maxfield on the US network’s popular teen drama, the young Aussie has felt very much “like a deer in the headlights” for the past couple of weeks.

Indeed, this sudden thrust into the limelight is undoubtedly quite a shock for someone who grew up on a farm in small-town Zimbabwe. Cosnett moved to Queensland with his family at age 17, living in Toowoomba before moving to Brisbane to study acting at the Queensland University of Technology. Acting seemed the natural career choice for someone who describes himself as “really passionate about the human condition” and Cosnett made the big move to the US in 2010. From there it was a blur of going “from acting class to auditions to the gym.”

Despite the monotony, the young thespian was by no means immune to the charms of the blockbuster capital of the world.

“During an audition you look out the window over the producer’s head and the Hollywood sign is staring you in the face. It’s surreal.”

Much of his first year in the States was spent onstage, starring in what he describes as a “very racy play” involving public nudity, something he clearly doesn’t have a problem with.

“I’m a very liberal person so I loved it. It kept me out of mischief.”

Like many aspiring actors, Cosnett quickly grew accustomed to the harsh reality of the industry when he booked a role on Ms. Education, an ABC Family sitcom pilot. With the director of Two and a Half Men at the helm and the voice of Homer Simpson, Dan Castellaneta, as his co-star, “we all thought the pilot would go,” he admits.

“They didn’t end up picking it up. You never know what’s going to happen.”

The same was true of the casting process of The Vampire Diaries. Cosnett had originally auditioned for The Originals, a spin-off series from the same creator, Julie Plec. After a long audition process he missed out on the role and was “pretty devastated.” Soon after, he learned that The Vampire Diaries was casting for a new male character and, re-energised, the upbeat actor decided he was “all in.” He sent an audition tape to the casting directors and waited an excruciating two weeks before finding out he had won the part. Whilst he was aware that The Vampire Diaries was a “big step up exposure-wise,” it really hit home when he started noticing the show’s billboards all over Sunset Boulevard.

Luckily, the greatest challenge so far for Cosnett has been perfecting the required American accent, which he maintains between takes to ensure that it becomes second nature. The fans have clearly embraced him, a phenomenon both heartwarming and bizarre given, as the actor himself acknowledges, he has only appeared on their screens for all of five minutes at the time of our interview.

This kind of intense fandom appears to be fairly typical of the show that propelled lead actors Nina Dobrev and Ian Somerhalder to the level of superstardom that inspires throngs of screaming fans. Cosnett has nothing but respect and admiration for his celebrity costars, calling Dobrev “the sweetest, most wonderful girl” and laughing when talking of Somerhalder’s “hilarious” on-set antics. When asked if he’s ready for that amount of public scrutiny, Cosnett is politely dismissive.

“I don’t assume I’m going to get as much attention as them because they’ve been going for five years. I’m just starting out.”

Clearly, based on his Twitter page, he will have to readjust those expectations pretty quickly.

The Vampire Diaries Rick Cosnett

IN A NUTSHELL

Provenance: Zimbabwe, followed by Queensland and Sydney

Big break: Cast as mysterious college professor Dr. Wes Maxfield on hit series The Vampire Diaries.

Crazy Hollywood moment: “Nothing I can say! The things you think about Hollywood are true.”

Dream director: Marc Forster of Monster’s Ball

Dream co-star: “Michael Fassbender. And I’m a huge Toni Collette fan. I haven’t met her. I’m waiting until one day she comes up to me. That could be a long way off, I’ll be waiting a while.”

On his critics: “I don’t have any haters. But they say you haven’t made it until you have haters, right?”

 

The Vampire Diaries is on Fox 8 Fridays at 8.30pm

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