New Face: Go Karting with Cooper Van Grootel

August 20, 2018
The young West Australian actor has scored a big break in the upcoming family film Go Karts.

“I play Australian rules football and on the weekend I love to surf. Hanging with mates is great fun as well, I love to road trip, especially in the summer. Me and my friends will pack a car and hit the road in search for waves and a fun time!”

Cooper Van Grootel sounds like your average high schooler, but he’s also pursuing his passion for acting, and finding success.

“Something about playing a different person interests me, being in their shoes, thinking their thoughts,” he says about what draws him to acting. “It’s also great fun too. Leonardo DiCaprio is an inspiration and not just for his acting achievements but also for his determination to save the environment, all of his time and effort that he’s invested into making people aware of vital world issues.”

With a supporting role in Alex Cubis’s web series Unverified under his belt, as well as an episode of Mystery Road, Van Grootel has also been cast in a major role in Australian family film Go Karts, to be released in cinemas by Roadshow.

“I’ve been lucky enough to be brought on for season 2 filming of Unverified in America which is really awesome! They’re also bumping me up and making my role bigger across 26 episodes which is really cool. Funny or Die and Smarter Pictures are such awesome companies.

“The role of Brayden in Mystery Road was so much fun to portray. Brayden was a kid whose uncle was in a biker gang. He was taken down by a cop and Brayden seeks revenge by attempting to kidnap this cop’s daughter. He was the antagonist, a nasty young guy with some pretty bad intentions. It’s awesome playing the bad guy! The role of Brayden was also meant for an 18-year-old to play, they cast me not knowing I was only 16…

“Rachel Perkins is a world class director. It was a tough and gruelling shoot I must say, on set it would get up to 45 degrees Celsius! Apart from the scorching heat, it was an awesome adventure spending time in outback Western Australia.”

In Go Karts, Van Grootel plays one of three key youth roles, alongside Darius Amarfio-Jefferson and William Lodder (above). The film is written by Steve Worland (Paper Planes) and directed by Owen Trevor, who made a name for himself in the world of commercials and directing the flagship Top Gear for the BBC. The film also features seasoned hands such as Frances O’Connor, Richard Roxburgh and Dan Wyllie.

Go Karts first came to me about 6 months before shooting started,” says Van Grootel. “I auditioned for the part of Dean and waited with high hopes to hear a response. It wasn’t until about a month before filming started that I got a call back and then a skype call with Owen Trevor and before I knew it, I had been cast. It was all a very quick turnaround but very exciting nonetheless.

“At first, I was definitely a little hesitant towards Richard [Roxburgh], but quickly you get a sense of his down to earth nature. I soon relaxed in his presence and he was a wonder to work with.”

Still based in WA, Cooper Van Grootel certainly has his priorities in place. In between acting gigs, he continues his schooling, and he puts down his positive and down to earth attitude to his family. “They are the ones who have been by my side all my life, so I owe a lot to them for their support and guidance in shaping who I am today.”

Go Karts will be in cinemas in 2019.

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