A former U.S. Marine, Price Is Right contestant and stand-in for Ice Cube, there is nothing Darius Cottrell hasn’t experienced. The actor who grew up in Pineville, South Carolina and now lives in Hollywood, California has had quite a career, and we just had to sit down with him to find out more…
When did you first know you wanted to get into acting?
“I guess when I was younger around 10 years old. I would think about the different jobs out there. I would fantasies about being a police, doctor, super hero, and etc. But, I actually said to myself at that age there was only one job I could do all of that and that is being an actor. When I was a freshman in high school I really thought about it seriously after listening to actors (an audio recording) do Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.”
We heard you have been a stand-in for both Ice Cube and Don Cheadle in films?
“Yes, and I learn a lot of the business side from Ice Cube. And a whole lot of the acting side from Don Cheadle.”
Do you ever get stopped in person with people thinking you are one of them?
“When I was standing in for Ice Cube, I would have my hair and beard like him. So from a distance some of the crew thought I was him. Even when they saw me on video. One of the producers could tell the difference. But, when I am in my everyday life, only by family members who tease me about it.”
What is the best acting advice you have ever gotten?
“Wow, the best acting advise I have ever gotten, was always to stay present in the scene Which means don’t be yourself but be the character and let the character choices drive the scene not your own personal choice. I was doing a play and the assistant director asks me why did I make the choice I did in the scene. I told her it was because I had the similar experience as the character. She began to tell me how I shouldn’t do that because it may cause me to get lost in the emotions instead of in the scene. So, she said to stay present in the scene. And let the character choices drive my emotions. Which are words I still follow today.”
Who was your role model growing up and why?
“As for a personal role model. I guess I would have to say my grandmother. Because no matter what was thrown her was, she never quit. She kept pushing forward through all of her tough times. She allowed her faith to be her guide. I never got to tell her that but she was and still as a strong role model for me. She, also, showed me that no matter what family comes first.”
You are a former US Marine (thanks for your service)… Have you ever had to play some form of military role on-camera before?
“Thank you and yes, I served for 9 years and was honorable discharged. AS for the question, it shouldn’t be have I ever had to play a military role but how many times. Starting from lastest to earliest films, I was just in American Sniper playing an Army Ranger. It was a tough role because I couldn’t be so macho, lol. I am just joking. In a short, I played a Marine that overcame PTSD. In the The General’s Daughter, I was opposite Leslie Stefanson as a West point recruit. Then the television side I was an Army Soldier in Bones. So, I have played my fair share of military roles. Which can be hard because it’s the true military character and then it’s what people think a military character should be like. So, sometimes it’s hard playing a military role. You have to find the balance between the two.”
You have a big upcoming role on Agents of Shield… What can you tell us about it?
“Well my role on Agents of Shield, I can tell you three letters NDA. I can’t reveal anything right now but watch the show this upcoming season starting September 29th. I will debut on October 6. The second episode of the new season. I can tell this, the cast and crew are amazing people and love working with them. And when I first met one of the executive producers, he said to me welcome to the family. So, I can say that it’s going to be an amazing 3rd season.”
What do your family and friends think of your fame?
“Well, right now my wife is just enjoying the ride. My children just see me as daddy going to work. They think it’s just another day at work for me. My family that I grew up with are always asking me what I am doing next. Which is funny, because I never ask them, what are you doing next about their careers. But, everyone is excited for me and excited when they see me on screen. Whether it is the big screen (tv) or the Big Screen (film).”
What is your advice to others looking at moving to Hollywood to pursue their acting careers?
“Well, the first thing I would ask them is who is their psychiatrist because you have to be crazy to want to be in this career. But, one thing is true; you have to do what you love. Because, I love this business and you have to love it if you are going to pursue it. So, my first advice would be don’t pursue acting but become an actor if that’s where your heart is at. Because when you pursue something you will always pursue it. You must become an actor. A doctor does say he will pursue becoming a doctor. He go to med-school to become a doctor.
Second, don’t let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do. Because like me the same family members that didn’t take me serious about the business. Are the same ones that are rejoicing in my success?
Finally, never doubt but always have faith. You will need a strong faith base structure to handle the no’s. It’s is told that an actor would hear a 100 no’s before they get their first yes. As for me it was 3 no’s before my first yes. But, then came the 100 no’s. So, keep training and keep your head up because your big break is only a day away. There is a tomorrow.”
Where do you see yourself in five years from now, besides being older?
“Where do I see myself in five years? Man, besides having Oscars, SAG, Golden globes and Emmy’s on my mantle. I see myself with my own production company making project’s that will not just entertain but change people lives. By having them take a glimpse in to their only life struggles and understand they are not alone. Taking them on a roller coaster ride and at the end saying to themselves, that life can get better.”
And final fun question: You have amazingly been a contestant on The Price Is Right twice, with both Bob Barker in 1996 and Drew Carey in 2010… Which host was/is better?!
“Well, you know Marines stick together. So, I will have to go with my fellow Marine from Cincinnati, Drew Carey. Don’t get me wrong I like Bob Barker. I just saying that because I don’t want a Happy Gilmore incident the next time I see him. But, Drew has a certain flare about himself. And again, come on, he was a Marine. Need I say more!?”