Friday, April 20, 2012

CM_SetReport Chat with A.J. Cook

AJ(P): Word up peeps! AJ's in the hizzle.

Hi AJ can you give some advice on how to get started as an actress in Ontario. How did you do it?

AJ(P): I would say get involved in whatever is going on locally in theatre, TV, movies and start there. And then work on finding an agent and all that stuff. But get involved.

Katelynroxursox(C): Hi AJ! I'm a huge fan of you and the BAU girls. What's one thing you can tell us about Paget, Kirsten and yourself that we wouldn't expect?

AJ(P): That we can have a wicked sense of humor. A little irreverent.

born2bBAU(C): What do you think changed the most about JJ, this season?

AJ(P): Her physical abilities. Her ability to be the superhero. Her physicality.

TodaysMadness(C): Hey AJ, I have a question that isn't Criminal Minds did the movie, Bringing Ashley Home. Did you ever get involved with Outpost for Hope after you finished filming it?

AJ(P): I'm a big advocate for Outpost for Hope.

allyse(C): Do we get any Will/JJ lovin at all? They haven't kissed since Lo-Fi!!!!

AJ(P): Be patient, friends.

FluffyJJ(C): What is it like for you when your son is on set?

AJ(P): It's a lot of things. It's very entertaining. The crew seems to thinks he has more swagger than most fully grown men.

Saeki(C): Hi AJ! thanks for putting up with us after a busy day. Here's my question: Paget said she wanted to play a french slappin' dominatrix for an unsub, what kind of unsub would you like to play? (thanks again and greetings from Argentina!)

AJ(P): I would like to play someone like the UnSub in the finale. She's just cold hearted, sort of like a dominatrix.

Marbs84(C): Did you and Paget have fun doing that secene in the interrogation room with Malcolm as much as JJ and Emily did? Did you have to do alot of takes?

AJ(P): No we didn't have to do a lot of takes. It just was one o fthose scenes that kind of worked. And we had a BLAST doing it. It's always fun being bossy to a man who doesn't want to be bossed around by a woman!

MattyBangBang(C): Are you going to marry Will or Spencer?

AJ(P): Don't make me choose!

emilyy(C): Hey AJ! Do you miss anything about the old liason JJ?

AJ(P) : She'll always have a special place in my heart. But I think both she and I have matured. We're not so wide-eyed anymore about things.

Marbs84(C): Hi AJ! You're a Jets fan. What's your take on Tebow's acquisition? Personally, the Jets don't need a quarterback, they need a new coach. They need to get somebody like Jim Harbaugh.

AJ(P): I'm just confused.

bau-badasses(C): Do you like this change in JJ? Was it something you had been wanting to see and do?

AJ(P): I love the change in JJ. I think she's matured immensly and I have been a champion for change for quite some time.

SSA_BreAnna_CM(C): What do you like to do after a long day of shooting an episode?

AJ(P): I like to sit by my fire pit on the roof and listen to music.

dmenon101(C): Hey AJ, I was wondering when Least Among Saints is coming out?

AJ(P): I don't know yet. It's opening the GI Film Festival May 15 in Washington that Joe is the host of. Joe is going to be there introducing this movie I did.

Are you really moving to Romania to film WER?? When will you start to film? Make Sure you Post tons of pics and update us daily!!

AJ(P): I'm heading to Romania in a couple days to start this incredible film WER that I'm really excited about.

jareau(C): How do you feel about season 7 and how it played out ?

AJ(P): I feel like season seven was a really special season for a lot of reasons. I was very happy to be here for it!

weloveaj(C): Risky Business is my favorite episode. Thank you for portraying such sensitive subject matter so realistically and compellingly. How do you go about embracing such difficult subject matter and topics?

AJ(P): I was really nervous about that episode. It was really tough for me because it was such a sensitive subject. But it was also nice to dive in JJ's history.

FluffyJJ(C): What do you do to prepare for your role every day?

AJ(P): Oh, every day I got this whole thing where I do ten sit-ups and ten pushups and read a profiling book and.....I just memorize my lines and hope they come out properly!

AgentJareauFan(C): JJ totally kicked an UnSub's butt this season!! Was that a fun scene to learn and shoot?

AJ(P): Yeah! I love being physical and hopefully we get to see more of that because I had a blast doing it.

CMCrazies(C): What's been your fave episode of this season to film and why?

AJ(P): It's going to be the season finale, for so many reasons that I can't say because I don't want to spoil it for anybody, but just WATCH it.

SSA_BreAnna_CM(C): Hi, AJ. I absolutely love you! What inspired you to become an actress?

We didn't watch TV really growing up and we were just a really imaginative, creative family where we were always creating. And it was just in my blood to do that.

Genagizyo(C): What can you tell us about the season finale?

AJ(P): Just that it's GOOOOOOOD.....

LornaD(C): What do you believe happened on JJ and Reid's 'date' in Season 1?

AJ(P):'re goin all old school on me! Apparently not much because nothing ever became of it, other than good friends.

corrigan08(C): what is it like taking directions from mathew?

AJ(P): Matthew in director mode is something everyone needs to see once in their lifetime. It's like he comes ALIVE. there's this like child quality about him. A child quality about him like Halloween where he's so excited. And it's refreshing and inspiring to see that.

prentissjareau(C) : Hey AJ :) UK fan here! Is there anything you've really wanted to do with JJ that you've never been able to?

AJ(P): Well I'm doing a pretty good job of making all those things happen this year. It's been fun. I guess what I've always been a little interested in is just more of her backstory, and we're slowly getting to see that.

swon(C): AJ, hi from Canada!! Did you get a say in whether JJ would also be pregnant when you were? Or did the writers decide it was easier than hiding it

AJ(P): CANADA! My people! YEAH!!!!! We all just figured it'd be easiest to not hide it, just because it's so obvious when you try to hide it. Now looking back, I kinda wish we did hide it.

LornaD(C): Do you have a favourite 'moment' or episode throughout all seven seasons of Criminal Minds?

AJ(P): One of my favorites has been JJ for obvious reasons and the finale is taking over that spot, I think, for me.

neverbeboredagain(C): Did any episode you shot ever make you cry or like really emotional? (Big fan bty the way :)

AJ(P): Yeah! Several scenes. It's sort of my job to let that happen in certain scenes. It's my therapy!!

Lisa(C): Best part of being Canadian?

AJ(P): Is BEING Canadian!!

FluffyJJ(C): Hotch has Wheels Up, what would JJ's theme song be?

AJ(P): The old JJ theme song would have been "Hotch, you're gonna want to see this." JJ 2.0 would be "Don't piss off mama bear!"

MattyBangBang(C): If Will wasn't around, and the choices were Hotch, Rossi, Reid, or Morgan - who would you want JJ to end up with, ultimately?

AJ(P): JJ loves all of her children EQUALLY.

ohmyhotch(C): What is your favorite thing to do when you aren't filming? You've posted a lot of pictures of you outdoors hiking and such.

AJ(P): I do love the great outdoors. I live at the beach, love the beach and I do love hiking with my family. It's one of our favorite pasttimes.

toloveandbelovedbyme(C): I love how even with all your success, you are still so down to Earth, in what ways do you think LA has changed you? (Whitby girls for life!)

AJ(P): LA's just made me HATE traffic. But word up Whitby girl!!!!

NaatsRdgz(C): In which way are JJ and AJ similar ?

AJ(P): I think we're both pretty nurturing, I guess. I feel like there's a little more of me put into JJ 2.0 with the whole physicality of her.

yienne(C): Do you think JJ should have an mortal enemy just like doyle-prentiss and reaper-hotch... if so, what kind of unsub would it be?

AJ(P): I think it would have to be an UnSub that messes with her family.

dmenon101(C): Hi, Aj, thanks for answering our questions!! How are you and do you ever miss Higher Ground?

AJ(P): Higher Ground was a great time. I'm still good friends with some of those people, in fact Meghan Ory who played Juliet is staying in my house right now!

laurenreynoldsisdead(C): If you could switch places with any of the male characters on the show, who would you choose and why? Greetings from Ontario!

AJ(P): I'd probably switch with Dr. Reid because I'd love to know what it feels like to be that nerdy and smart.

SSA_BreAnna_CM(C): Will there be another fight scene with JJ anytime soon? She kicked ass! :)

AJ(P): FINALE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Actually, my hip is seizing up as I sit here because I had to do a roundhouse kick to the head this morning!

CMCrazies(C): What's it like working with Josh Stewart?

AJ(P): Josh is LOVELY. And it's great to have him back here.

emilyy(C): Do you still have the fastest hands on the set? I'm thinking yes...

AJ(P): Again, FINALE!!!!!

weloveaj(C): Kirsten Vangsness has mentioned before that you liked to sing on set. Do you still? If so, what do you sing?

AJ(P): Lately it's been children's songs.

cheet0breath(C): Do you love bacon as much as Nate?

AJ(P): Bacon = LOVE

AJ(P): So YOU'RE cheet0breath!

Genagizyo(C): Did you sign up for season 8 yet?

AJ(P): Yeah! I'm signed on!

CMCrazies(C): What's the best part of your job?

AJ(P): Working with incredible people. And laughing EVERY day.

creideamh(C): if you could do a crossover ep with any show on tv, what show would you choose?

AJ(P): Homeland with Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin

prentissjareau(C): Would you ever consider doing plays on broadway/the west end?

AJ(P): Yeah! I'd love that. It's actually on my bucket list of things I'd love to do one day.

Genagizyo(C): How long does hair and makeup take?

AJ(P): As little time as possible!

Natalieee(C): You and Paget seem incredibly close, are you going to miss her?

AJ(P): Wait, where's she going?! I'm in denial.

Criminallymindless: AJ, we recently heard that we will be introduced to JJ's mother in an upcoming episode. Any spoilers you can share with us? (Please!)

AJ(P): Yes! She is actually named after my real mom, Sandy.
CMCrazies(C): Your too funny , ever thought of doing a comdey?

AJ(P): Yes I have done one called OUT COLD, but I would love to do one very soon in the future.

godofbaconcourtney(C): Do you have a funny blooper from Season 7 that you could share?

AJ(P): There's too many bloopers to name just one!

NaatsRdgz(C): Do you think that people with sight problems should be afraid of getting the surgery you had done ?

AJ(P): I think people should ask their doctors about it and find out if it's right for them. But it was one of the best things I've ever done.

tones089(C): Are there any qualities JJ has that you wish you could have in real life?

AJ(P): Yeah. Of course. She's just a really strong independent woman and I am a WEAK, NEEDY GIRL. My husband LOVES it

Natalieee(C): Did you ever wish for make-out scenes with Matthew Gray Gubler?

AJ(P): AJ(P): No, but I know YOU do.

ohmyhotch(C): Would you ever consider directing an episode? Or will you just leave that to Matthew?

AJ(P): I have always wanted to direct. Again, it's another thing that's on my bucket list, I'll get to it someday. 50 years done the road probably.

ohmyhotch(C): What is your favorite way to eat bacon?

AJ(P): Is there a bad way to eat bacon?!

swon(C): In the episode JJ, did you write your exit speech/end quote?

AJ(P): I didn't have to write it because everyone else was so onboard with what was happening. It all just came out the way it was supposed to.

criminallymindless(C): AJ, you used to be involved in competitive dance - do you still indulge yourself in dance here and there? Or has acting completely taken its place?

AJ(P): Jazz hands. I don't get to dance much these days. But I do love SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE.

Glitzy_Ash(C): Do you have an UnSub that you are petrified of?

AJ(P): I'm just really creeped out by any of the UnSub's dealing with children and harming children.

Sergiocushion(C): How many pairs of shoes do you think JJ has?

AJ(P): JJ has apparently one pair of boots. And that's it. Girl needs to take some time for herself and go shoe shopping.

swon(C): AJ, are there people who actually call you by your full name?

AJ(P): Yes, my mother!

criminal1mind(C): Is it hard to stay in character for so long?

AJ(P): No. Not really. I mean, it's my job. They pay me money to stay in character!

Bellivlle_Ontario(C): Is the AJ/JJ name thing confusing at times?
AJ(P): Not to me, but for EVERYONE else.

jareauss(C): What is the one think you look forward to when you go on-set?

AJ(P): Seeing my friends at work......and an endless supply of bacon.

Kennedi(C): If you could be shemar for a day what would you do?

AJ(P): I haven't actually been thinking about this the whole time...there was a delay in the room. I don't think I could HANDLE being Shemar for a day.

catherine(C): How would you describe each of your cast mates in one word?

AJ(P) Kirsten -- sparkly! Matthew – unique, Shemar – flossy, Paget -- My Hero, Thomas – techy, Joe -- old school.

as87464(C): Hi AJ! Greeting from Indonesia. My question, do you let your son watch CM episodes where he guest starred ?

AJ(P): I only let him see his scenes. And he calls mommy, superhero mom!
AJ(P): Thanks for all your questions! Watch the season finale!!!! They're calling me back to set, my day's not done yet.
AJ(P): xoxo AJ

AJ(P): Oh! And I saw ALL of your videos. My friend Kirsten is about to announce the winners, so check out CM_SetReport now!


  1. I said this in another post, but I will say it here: I appreciate that AJ took the time to participate in the chat and that she is so enthusiastic about her job and her character.

    I have to say that the things she may enjoy as an actress don't exactly translate as enjoyable for all of the fans though.

    Since the actors typically don't watch the shows they are in and have a different feeling about the characters because they portray them, I think it can make it hard to be objective about what is right for the character and the show vs what would be fun to do with the character to make the work more challenging for the performer.

    I know that there are women out there who are perfectly capable of defending themselves in a fight. I concede that they already established JJ as having been athletic in high school and college. That does not translate in to fighting skills though. It doesn't mean that years later she will suddenly be able to take a few months of combat training from Morgan and be able to fight an unsub.

    I just don't like this direction with the character though. It seems like they are trying to make her less "real" and more of a cliche. Suddenly she's Xena: Warrior Princess (or like Ziva on NCIS). When will the TV executives learn that women can be strong, tough, and awesome without being able to physically beat someone up? I loved JJ as the media liaison who could stand up to the scrutiny of the press and be sassy and smart. She used her mind and her words to communicate to the press and the unsub. Now they have suddenly dumped all of that and she has to fight people. It just seems like a regression rather than progression. Sure, fight scenes may be fun for the actress, but as a viewer it makes me cringe.

    The fight scene in "Closing Time" was actually quite bad IMO. It looked fake and they really had to stretch it to have an excuse for her to end up in that situation. It would have made more sense if the unsub had jumped out of the dark and grabbed her and she had to defend herself.

    I'm glad they are giving JJ focus, but I wish it didn't mean changing her character to be almost unrecognizable. I don't like "meaner and leaner" JJ. I liked sweet, intelligent, sassy JJ who could kick butt with her words and facial expressions.

    It's almost as far-fetched as Garcia being the one to choose and present the cases.

    Even real women in law enforcement who have a lot of self defense training still get overpowered and don't fight nearly as well as characters on TV. If they had started out having JJ being able to fight it would be different, but adding this just seems to cheapen the character IMO. I don't want the characters to be over-the-top. It seems like they are trying to overcompensate because they show us so much of the unsubs that we don't get to see the team and now the team members have become caricatures of themselves.

    I hope that over the summer the writers step back and think about what is true to each character, what makes sense, what is realistic in the confines of the show, and work on progressing the characters rather than trying to make them "cool".

    Just as Gideon said "You don't need a gun to kill someone", you don't need to beat someone up physically to defeat them.

  2. AJ seems to really be enthusiastic about how physical JJ is now, but what I've always loved about JJ was her ability to empathize with the victims and their families. As the communications coordinator/liason she provided valuable assistance for the rest of the team, and she was a loyal and compassionate friend to them as well. I miss that JJ. I loved it when she shot the unsub in "Penelope" and I think it was more effective because it was the exception to her typical response on the job. I don't necessarily want to see her physically fighting week after week. I still love JJ. I just don't want to lose what was really special about her character just to watch some fight scenes. I also miss her presenting the cases. I can't stand having Garcia present the cases.


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