Timothy J Cox Do you know what bad-backs, small children, and lavish melodramas, all have in common? No. China hasn't just banned them. Not yet, anyway. You see in my opinion the one thing that joins these three... errr.... 'entities' together, is that at one time or another they're all gonna need supporting. Now for a good illustration of this, please check out the following interview I did with my mate Timothy J Cox. The 'J' stands for 'Jumanji'.

Wilmington, Delaware1) What are your own origins, Tim? Plus what path did you take in life prior to getting to where you are today?   I was born in Philadelphia, but did the majority of my growing up in Wilmington, Delaware. I had a pretty typical childhood. My parents worked hard, and built a nice home for my three brothers and I. We did all the typical kid stuff; played a lot of sports and in the beginning -- like most kids -- I wanted to play baseball like Mike Schmidt, or football like Joe Montana, or basketball like Larry Bird.

As I got further into school, I didn't grow much (I'm currently 5'6) so my confidence was shattered as far as playing professional sports were concerned. Plus, I came to the conclusion that I wasn't very good at it either -- so I tried to find something else to do. I tried the saxophone, but that was disastrous. And a few years later, as an excuse to get out of a class, I auditioned for the school play, got cast, and I was hooked.

I acted in high school and college, and was fortunate to get on stage and learn an awful lot. After I graduated from college in 1999, I appeared in some local theatre in PA for a year or so and then moved to NYC in 2001. I've been here ever since, working in both theatre and film.

2) What inspired you into becoming an actor?   Most definitely, my family. They were my first audience. My brothers have told me that I was an actor long before I decided to become an actor. I was always a bit of a ham, doing impressions of Brando and George Burns for the family at holiday functions. They laughed -- which I loved -- and the attention was nice, but I never thought about being an actor or anything like that at that young age.

Timothy J CoxWhen that opportunity came to audition for that school play I mentioned before, I may have jumped at it just to get out of class, but when I got cast, I was hooked, and I knew I had found the life for me. My family still inspires me, along with my amazing wife Jamie who is incredibly supportive of everything I do.

The movies inspired me also, as well as numerous actors; from Brando to Olivier to Spencer Tracy to Jack Lemmon to Jason Robards to Alec Guinness to Albert Finney. The list goes on and on. I watched them. I studied them. And I stole from them too. I still do. They still inspire me.

3) In your own words how would you describe some of the film work you’ve been a part of?   Honestly, while it's been hard work, I have to say that I have also been very lucky. As any actor will tell you, luck plays a huge role in this business. I'm still finding that out. I moved to NYC with the sole desire of being a good supporting actor in the theatre and was for almost a decade. I mostly did theatre, with a film role thrown in occasionally, but the experiences weren't terribly rewarding.

In about 2010, things changed when I appeared in three films back to back (the acclaimed films 'Socks and Cakes', 'Over Coffee', and 'The Watchers'). They were all wonderful experiences and for the first time I had the confidence to give film acting a real go. I finally felt at home in front of the camera. The fact that all three films were greatly received ('The Watchers' was an Official Selection at the 2010 Big Apple Film Festival in NYC, while 'Socks and Cakes' won a Golden Ace Award at the 2011 Las Vegas International Film Festival) was an added joy. I'm very proud of those films.

Timothy J Cox
On 'Over Coffee', I met a dear friend and collaborator, Sean Meehan, who wrote and directed the film. We really hit it off and since then he's cast me in a number of his projects ('The Beachcomber', 'You're Not Safe Here', 'Mallas', 'MA' and 'Total Performance'). I'm especially proud of the films that I have done with Sean as they've all been fun and challenging.

I would like to think that with each film I have done, I have brought something different to each role. That's the challenge -- to find roles that are unique. It's been fun seeking those out and again, I have been very lucky. I've played Dads who are goofy and fun loving ('Yeah, Love', 'A Hungry Model', 'Jackpot') and ones that are grappling with something serious ('Choosing Sides', 'Sky's the Limit'). I've covered all types of authority figures: from the well-meaning ('The Watchers', 'Greg's Guardian Angel', 'Argyle', 'Gunderson's') to the utterly bombastic ('Over Coffee', 'We Just Want to Play'). On occasion, I've been called upon to be truly evil ('Simple Mind', 'Terry Kendall & Orange Green') and what fun that was. The best roles that I have been fortunate to play are the ones where I have played average, everyday guys just trying to figure this whole life thing out -- the dreamers, the poets, the inventors ('Socks & Cakes', 'Mallas', 'MA', 'The Beachcomber', 'You're Not Safe Here').

It's the best job in the world and I'll love it forever.

4) If your style of acting omitted a collective odor, what would it smell like and why?   It would be an earthy smell, as I think that's when I work best -- I have an earthy enjoyment of life. I approach characters in a natural, realistic and practical way. Straightforward and down to earth. That's me. 

5) What song would you say best represents your wares and why?   Van Morrison's ''Days Like This'' comes to mind immediately. One, it's a great song. Two, a lyric like 'When all the parts of the puzzle start to look like they fit', sums up this life I've chosen perfectly. It's been a life filled with ups and downs, with danger, uncertainty and fun. But I've stuck with it (and intend to stick with it) and it fits me like a glove. I wouldn't want it any other way.

Jack Lemmon
6) If you could get a known celebrity – either living or dead – to promote your short films, who would you choose, and why would you want this particular person?   That's easy: Jack Lemmon. Lemmon was the reason why I became an actor, specifically his performance in 'Days of Wine and Roses'. He was so familiar up there on screen, like a relative, so natural and honest. Whether it was a comedic or a dramatic role, he brought so much variety. He'd be a great mentor to have in my corner.

7) What were the main obstacles you had to contend with along the way?   I'm still contending with them. I'm too short. I’m not thin enough for romantic leads. I wear glasses. I'm not model material. I'm a supporting actor -- so I just laugh comments like that off. You have to or else you'll go crazy. I knew very early on in my career that I was a supporting actor. I think it's saved me a lot of heartache. It helps to know where you fit. Plus, supporting roles are more fun to play.

8) If you have a personal credo, what do you think it would be?   Struggle and survival. That's what this life and work is all about. It's dangerous, you give your life to it. The struggles are all worth it though. It's what makes it great.

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So there you have it, film fans. My mate Tim and his life as an actor. When you have the time please check out what else he has in store by clicking on his website, IMDB page, plus twitter and facebook accounts. Go on. Click-click. And see another side to this acting game.