'Anne With An E' star Cory Gruter-Andrew on Cole's incredible journey on the Netflix show
Cole is an incredibly talented and emotionally mature young man whose journey to finding himself was beautifully explored in season 2 of 'Anne with an E'
When most of us 'Anne of Green Gables' fans heard about Netflix's attempts at reviving the classic, we were a tad bit skeptical about how that would turn out. However, in the last two seasons, Anne with an E' has proved to be one of the best versions of the 18th-century tale starring the red-headed dreamer with the imagination to turn any desert into a magical snow castle.
In season 2, the story focussed on another brilliant character – Cole. His infinite wisdom, quiet intelligence and brilliant artistry introduced a new layer to the Netflix show we didn't know we needed. "Cole is a very complex character," as actor Cory Grüter-Andrew, who brings Cole to life on the show puts it. He is interesting and that’s what I love about him. He makes it interesting to play and interesting to watch."
The first time we meet Cole is in episode two of the second season, where he is sitting by himself and drawing – he was introverted, alone and shy in the beginning. By the end of the season, he becomes more evolved and he explores his love for the art and basically finds himself. "He realizes that two people of the same sex can love each and yet it shouldn’t be a crime. It flips a switch in his mind. And that's when he realizes who he really is," says Cory.
One of the most incredible scenes of the show was when the two friends, Anne (Amybeth McNulty) and Cole stand at the edge of a cliff in episode 10 of season 2 while pouring their hearts out. Emotion rushing through his veins as Cole comes to terms with who he is, and loves himself for it. "That was a huge scene for me. I had to take five minutes afterward, get grounded again and calm down. Doing scenes like that, that are hugely emotional, are tough to do but it's fun. It's what I love to do," says Cory.
In fact, that scene was a teaching moment for Cory as well, who was told by is acting coach on set that it is important to remember Cory and Cole are different people. "That was a very emotional scene and the coach would let me breathe for just 5 minutes and tell me, 'You know, you and Cole are two different people,' and that was really helpful," he says.
The Netflix revival of 'Anne of Green Gables ' has been quite successful in bringing to light some of the issues that obviously were prevalent back in the day, but no one was willing to talk about. As Cory puts it, "Being gay wasn’t a thing. It was just a weird feeling you get. It is really interesting because Anne would take in all the hot topics and the issues of the day and bring them to light and show how they still affect us [as it did] a 100 years ago, except in a much more low-key way."
It was after all, a very difficult time. "It was the turn of the century and there were all these characters who are different than most people would have traditionally seen as socially acceptable back then. It is really just breaking the social norms and bringing together two worlds and mashing it into a beautiful thing," elaborated Cory. Cole and Aunt Josephine's (portrayed by Deborah Grover) gay storylines, Bash's (portrayed by Dalmar Abuzeid) racism storyline all adds up to this.
In the next season, as per Cory's wishes, we will hopefully get to see how Cole's living situation with Aunty Jo is working out for the both of them. As we know. Aunt Jo is extravagant with her hospitality and invites all sorts of wonderfully weird people to her luxurious abode. It is at one of these parties that Cole learned more about himself and his talents. In season 3, we would love to see how living in with Aunt Jo inspires Cole's art.
Two other people who truly embrace Cole for he is, are Anne and Diana (portrayed by Dalila Bela). Their friendship is truly beautiful and according to Cory, this rings true off-screen as well. "Amybeth and Dalila are the best. They care about each other and they are always asking 'Are you okay? Are you good?' It’s a good thing. They care about each other and it shows on screen. They're easy to get along with," he says.
It is not difficult to feel at home when you are in the middle of mind-blowing beautiful scenery - just mother nature at her best. Cole recalls how working on the sets of Pickering Ontario, where you just have "an old wooden house and a farmland for as far as the eye can see." He says, "It's just the middle of fields (at that time not living crops, because it was the middle of the winter). You know, you would look out and you would really feel like you are a boy on the farm in the 18th century. It's really cool. And then the schoolhouse is built by the production - in that it's like everything you see at the schoolhouse it's all one place – the outside, the inside."
Then again, there are things that throw you back into the present. "There is a guy holding a microphone, so you're like is this really the 18th century? But, on camera yes, it is the 18th century and it is really interesting to look and you know?"
Cory has lived many lives as an actor, all of them equally meaningful and interesting to him. "[These] characters are just different people, except in front of a camera. You couldn't decide. Everyone is so different in their own way," he says, adding how each of them has been expressed and portrayed in different ways. It's just great." It is this love for his characters and for acting that shines through on screen, As he puts it, "Acting is where my heart is," although he is not averse to trying his hand at directing, "Directing would be interesting. Working on all the components of a set and then bringing everything together."
However, a role that the brilliant actor wants to explore is that of someone living in a post-apocalyptic world. "An interesting role for me would be something along the lines of... something post-apocalyptic, almost. Something like 'The 100' (which he had a guest role in). Those are the types of books and movies that I really like. That's probably my favorite time frame," says Cory, who is a huge fan of Tom Hanks. In fact, he claims that one of the most important milestones in his career bucket list is to work with the 'Forrest Gump' star. "He is a grounded guy. He is such a nice person from what I see on the internet. He cares about the people and people care about him. And, that's the kind of person I want to be."
Staying true to this very sentiment, Cory says that the one thing he wants to tell everyone that supports him is that he loves them. "I love all the people that support me. I love them. Thank you to everyone for the continued support."