2008-08-20 / Front Page
Youngster, 7, racks up acting, modeling credits
Cooper Corrao will appear in new series on IFC
MARLBORO — Cooper Corrao is a typical 7-year-old — playing sports, attending summer camp and getting ready to enter the second grade — but something sets him apart from his peers. Cooper has a recognizable face from his years of modeling and his appearance on a television commercial for Chuck E. Cheese restaurants.
Cooper recently landed a recurring spot on the IFC channel's new show "Z Rock" and provides the voice for a character on the Nick Jr. show "Wonder Pets."
"I really don't know, I just thought it would be fun," Cooper said when he was asked why he wanted to be in showbiz.
It all happened by chance, said his mom, Marisa Corrao. She said Cooper began his career at the age of 4 when he was at the Woodbridge Mall and WilhelminaModelswas conducting an open call for child models.
"They had thousands of kids there and we were one of the lucky 25 who were picked for a contract," Corrao explained.
Working with Wilhelmina Models for two-and-a-half years provided Cooper with work in plenty of print ads, but nothing really major came of that. In October 2007 Corrao sought out a fellow Marlboro resident, Tamara Markowitz.
Markowitz has been associated with show business for 15 years with her company TM Talent, working with children from across the country. She said Corrao approached her about working with Cooper.
"I instantly knew he had potential," Markowitz said, explaining that Cooper's great personality makes him a total package.
Since signing on with Markowitz, things have been happening, Corrao said, including Cooper's role on "Z Rock."
"Z Rock" is a comedy series that follows three friends who are leading a double life. By night the group is a hard-partying rock band, but by day they are a children's party band. The show is loosely based on the true story of the band Z02.
In the show, Cooper plays Jeremy, the son of a band member's girlfriend. The youngster said he had fun filming birthday party scenes with a group of other children.
"Z Rock" will premiere on Aug. 24 at 11:30 p.m. on IFC.
Corrao said other children are recognizing Cooper from his Chuck E. Cheese commercial and said that is exciting for her son.
Cooper noted that even though children will probably not be watching "Z Rock," perhaps adults who watch the show will now recognize him.
Lending his voice for the character Ollie the Bunny on "Wonder Pets" is a lot of fun, Cooper said. The youngster said the character is one of his favorites.
"Wonder Pets" is a Nick Jr. show for preschoolers, which follows the adventures of three classroom pets as they tour the globe and help to rescue animals that need assistance.
Although he said he would love to lend his voice to the popular Nickelodeon cartoon "SpongeBob SquarePants," Cooper said he enjoys acting in front of a camera more than providing his voice for cartoons.
"When you act it's not just some animated thing, it's actually you," the youngster
A commercial for pet medication was one assignment that provided a bit more fun for the budding star on set. Cooper was able to run around the beach and play with a 3- month-old Saint Bernard puppy.
Cooper described the auditions he goes on as a weird combination of nervousness and happiness. Every new audition brings a new experience and a new task to perform, he said.
Getting a phone call informing him that he has landed a part is always an exciting time.
"My mom screams and I'm like, 'Really?' It's really, really cool," Cooper said.
Corrao said the calls for auditions happen on the spur of the moment. In fact, while Corrao was sitting down with a reporter an e-mail came across to say that Cooper had an audition the next day.
Markowitz explained that when she receives a notice about an audition, it sometimes comes with a description for the part. Sometimes the casting agent asks for a child with blond hair and those specifics shape her decision of who to send for an audition.
For any filming that occurred during the school year, Cooper said his mom would pick him up early from school to get to the set. Tutors are provided on set for children who are missing school, Corrao said.
Cooper said his teacher last year at the Marlboro Elementary School was "the coolest and nicest." The youngster said that when he becomes famous he will do just as his first-grade teacher Judy Kramer requested: wave and thank her on television.
Because he enjoys modeling and acting equally, Cooper said he would want to continue both and is hoping to move to the big screen. He and his family are hoping to have an opportunity that would require them put their passports to use, as one job would have seen the boy filming in the Bahamas.
Although he dreams of being successful on the big screen, Cooper said he would still want to live in Marlboro with his family and friends.
Markowitz believes Cooper will be working in Hollywood in the near future.
"I see great potential for his future career. Time will tell," she said.