Actor Jasper Cole has been a Palm Springs resident for almost two decades.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRANDON HARMAN
If you don’t recognize Jasper Cole’s name, you’ll likely admit his face and menacing screen presence are unforgettable. He’s gained a reputation as one of Hollywood’s most reliable go-to bad guys. Although the actor has more than 100 credits ranging from American Horror Story to Westworld on his resume, he’s probably best known for his turn as Val Kilmer’s sinister sidekick in the 2010 comedy MacGruber.
This summer, that could change. Cole has three notable projects hitting the big and small screens: his return for the fourth season of The Family Business, a hit BET series about a family living a double life; the recently released, intense survival thriller Fall; and a change-of-pace role in the dark comedy series Kombucha Cure, which premieres this fall on Amazon Prime.
Cole, who has been a Palm Springs resident for almost two decades, lives in the Little Tuscany neighborhood with his husband, Dennis, and hosts an engaging podcast called One on One with Jasper Cole.
Your new movie Fall is an anxiety-inducing thriller. Was it filmed during the pandemic?
It was my first job during the pandemic. We shot the first half of it in August 2020 when there was no testing and there were no vaccines. When I learned that Scott Mann, who made Heist, which is one of my favorite films, was directing, I really didn’t care what it was; I would have done it. He wrote a film that only has five or six actors, and it was all shot outside in the desert in Palmdale.
You’re also back for the fourth season of the TV series, The Family Business.
The running joke in my career is I usually get killed at the beginning or the middle of the film. So, I was so excited to come back for season four. I play Corey Black; and Ernie Hudson plays the patriarch of a family that runs an exotic car dealership, but they really have an underground drug cartel business. I represent a biker gang.
“The running joke in my career is I usually get killed at the beginning or the middle of the film.”
What do you enjoy about playing intimidating characters?
I think I tend to bring a little vulnerability to some of these bad guys. I never think characters are born bad, so I try to give them a little more backstory. They’ve had a lot of shit happen to them that brought them to that point.
Plus, playing bad guys has kept you steadily employed.
For the first 15 years of my career, I was playing the sidekick or best friend. I wasn’t Hollywood-leading-man good looking, but I wasn’t an extreme character yet. People used to tell me, “When you get older, you’re really gonna work.” I used to think, “OK, but what about the next 20 years?”
Are you content with your roles or do you secretly have a desire to play traditional leading men?
I’m very happy. In an ideal world, I would love to be part of a procedural series where I could be an undercover cop and get to play the same kind of role as I do now but do it undercover. I have this project called Kombucha Cure, and I don’t play a creepy person. He’s eccentric, but he’s not a killer. He’s friendly.
How did you come to live in Palm Springs?
My husband, Dennis, worked in Phoenix for the first 12 years we were together, and he would come home on the weekends. One day he asked, “What would you think about getting a place in Palm Springs?” It would save us that long drive and it would be sort of halfway. So, I’ve seen the town grow and get better and better. I love Palm Springs because it’s a small town with very progressive ideas and values and a large LGBTQ community.
Where do you and Dennis like to hang out in the desert?
Two of our favorite restaurants are Blue Coyote Grill and Kaiser Grille. Dennis and I have never been to a gay bar together. We met when I was 33 and he was 43. By the time we got together, it was like we had been there, done that. Not that you can’t go to a gay bar if you’re 80. We are just homebodies. Our friends think that’s hilarious because we live across from Toucans.