We’re bringing you a great interview today with Matt Cohen. He’s most known for his roles as Aiden on South of Nowhere, Young John Winchester/Michael on Supernatural, Matt Cochran on Kings of Con and as Griffin Munro on General Hospital. More recently, he’s been on Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders as Ryan Garrett, the son of the main character Jack Garrett (played by Gary Sinise).
Matt is also known for his interaction with fans; he regularly interacts with fans on social media. Matt usually posts a positive quote or photo every day, tagging it “#you”. Fans have really gravitated towards this and responded with a lot of love and positivity. Fans have also run various campaigns for Matt, being a force of support for someone they admire. They’ve rallied for him to appear as Superman on Supergirl and have also campaigned for him as Nightwing, making fan art and more.
Matt is also a favorite at Creation Entertainment‘s Supernatural conventions which he regularly attends. At the conventions, he’s also the “Co-Karaoke King” with Richard Speight Jr. These two headline the Friday Night Karaoke Party at the conventions, which have a 2017 theme called “Dick & Matt’s Fandom Fun House” and features Rob Benedict, Ruth Connell and more.
There’s a lot of words we could use to describe Matt Cohen, but none of them really do him justice. He’s like bottled sunshine: always bright and warm, pure energy and there to remind you of good things. When you see him or meet him in person, it’s an experience you won’t soon forget – whether he’s running the aisles at a Louden Swain concert or pulling you in for a hug at a photo op. He’s started a bit of a movement that we’re all grateful for everyday with his #you posts. And, his support and love of not only his cast mates but us as the fans is something we’re truly grateful for.
Read our interview with Matt below!
Nerds and Beyond: We love your “#you” posts on social media, where you provide inspirational and motivational quotes for fans. What got you started with this? What or who keeps you motivated and inspired?
Matt Cohen: The #you campaign started a lot more selfish then it turned out to be. I was going through a hard time in my life and I was a bit down in the dumps so I opened an Instagram account and I thought, every day I will wake up and I will start my day off with some sort of positive message to myself, hence my ‘#YOU’. It actually started as a way to lift myself up and ended up inspiring others. That fact alone keeps me doing it everyday. People kind of depend on it and so do I. I know it is cliche, but a positive thought in the morning can really set you up for a solid day.
Nerds and Beyond: With a lot of campaigns going around with various actors (like from Creation Stands) have you ever thought about doing a campaign with “#you” or another campaign?
Matt: I have thought about it numerous times and have designed and trashed hundreds of ideas. It has to be perfect and for the proper charitable cause for me to pursue it or I think it will ruin a really good thing. It will just come to me one day and I have no idea when that will be, but when it does I will launch it for all to share. The #YOU campaign is really about people helping other people and continuing to pay good vibes and actions forward. When it is the right time I will know it.
Nerds and Beyond: You’ve juggled a wide range of roles in the last year, from Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, to Kings of Con (KoC), as well as General Hospital. We’re especially big fans of your comedic turn as Matt Cochran in KoC. Could you talk a little bit about the types of roles you find yourself most attracted to, and anything new you might like to try in the future?
Matt: I am attracted all sorts of roles. I don’t really have a specific thing I like more. Sci-Fi, comedy, drama, its all playing make believe and thats friggin rad to do as a job. The comedy stuff for KOC was a blast because I was working with two guys I love like brothers, Rob and Rich. Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders was super fun too because I have a little Supernatural history with Adam Glass. He introduced me to the lovely Erica Messer and they put together a really cool character for me to play in Ryan Garrett. Not to mention I was able to act along side some of my favorites like Gary Sinise. The finale is coming out May 17th and it is not to be missed. General Hospital is super cool because it is insanely challenging playing a neurosurgeon and a priest, two things that I couldn’t be further away from in my personal life. Add that to the fact that we do about 100 pages a day of material and you really have to work hard. It’s all a good time.
Nerds and Beyond: For your role in Kings of Con, how do you feel like you approached the role? Did you have any input in the original creation of the character?
Matt: I didn’t really have input on the role, but I was pumped to give it a shot. I based the character off of a bunch of a—hole actors I met in my time here in LA. Rob Benedict wrote it and Richard Speight Jr. directed me to deliver this total d-bag and it was a blast. When you are working with that caliber of funny men you just have to trust what they tell you and try to screw it up. Rob and Rich are responsible for my funny, completely. Those dudes have me laughing all the time.
Nerds and Beyond: For your role in Kings of Con, what was your favorite moment to film?
Matt: The workout sequence was really fun and the Rob-is-a-stud-muffin-kissing-my-real-life-wife-Mandy-Musgrave episode was real good fun. Rob and Rich nailed those scenes so all I had to do was be present and participate in some magic. The entire show was really a prize to be part of.
Nerds and Beyond: Can you share with us about your experience playing Ryan Garrett on Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders? As it is a recurring role, is there anything you can share about the arc of the character or what you have learned from the experience so far?
Matt: Playing Ryan was awesome. As I said earlier, working with such a great group of people was just pure joy. It was kind of reflective of my role on Supernatural because I essentially had the chance to play two characters as I was an undercover biker for an episode. The whole team, cast and crew, at CMBB is really incredible. They do great work and for Adam Glass and Erica Messer to allow me to come play with those guys was such a good time.
Nerds and Beyond: You’re part of the Supernatural convention circuit, just co-hosted the very first General Hospital convention, and have a dedicated and enthusiastic fan base. If you could send a message to your fans, what would you say?
Matt: I say this as often as I can to ensure the fans know what they mean to me: I could not have developed into the man I am today without my fan interaction. I was a closed and tied tightly book before I started the convention circuit, and through the fans I learned that I can be me. This dude that I am proud of, a dude that doesn’t have to hide his overly obsessive passions and weirdness. I can dance poorly and sing awkwardly and hug the entire world and not be strange about it. The fans have given me a new life and thought process. My wife is thankful, I know my son will benefit from it, and I will never stop giving back to them.
Nerds and Beyond: How was your experience co-hosting the first General Hospital convention? Did you apply any lessons from your time with the Supernatural convention circuit?
Matt: It was good, certainly a different fan base, but still enthusiastic. I tried to take a page out of Rob and Rich’s hosting technique, but quickly realized that I have to be my weirdo self. It was a journey of self discovery in a sense. I just tried to make people smile and laugh and enjoy themselves.
Nerds and Beyond: This year during the Supernatural episode “Stuck in the Middle With You” (directed by fellow Supernatural alum and KoC star Richard Speight Jr.), the Spear of Michael made an appearance and prompted theories about the possible return of the archangel Michael. Many fans would love to see you portray young John Winchester again, either as himself or possessed by Michael and with the return of Mary Winchester this season, fans know just about anything can happen on this show. If you were able to revisit your character, what aspect of his journey would you like to explore or resolve?
Matt: Wow, great question. I would like explore all parts of John Winchester and Michael. There is a ton of story to be told about both and by both. Michael is insanely fun to play because he doesn’t really have rules and John just as much fun, because it’s the 70’s in most of his flashbacks. That on top of the fact John is about the same age as his sons when they visit is really cool. I would love to go back and explore stories with Supernatural simply because it is a truly happy and creative space to in surrounded by some of the best in TV.
Nerds and Beyond: What’s something you “nerd out” on? Do you have a favorite film, book, song, etc. that you love to listen/watch over and over?
Matt: I have become a mega obsessed gardener over the past year along with my wife and son. I am so amused at how flowers grow and why and the importance of all the life around them. Almost as if I am creating a small fairy tale world in my backyard for little wizards to wander and tiny hobbits to play. Clearly I have seen EPIC too many times. My wife raised and hatched over 100 monarch caterpillars that turned into butterflies in our home and it was pure magic. We play with bees and desert lizards and praying mantis and giant grasshoppers and I am really into it. It is an escape to a fantasy land for me and my family. We play in the dirt and its the first thing we all do in the morning together on my days off. My son is two and he is always in the garden just imagining and dreaming up things. I feel like gardening has allowed the child to continue playing in my heart. I am learning about flowers and bugs and watching my family grow alongside nature. Its perfect and I don’t feel weird about it at all. There is a little land of magical creatures right in front of our faces if we can just allow our grown selves to just let magic be magic and forget about the rules of being a grown up.