Diehard Cardinals fan and St. Louis native Zachary Cooke is set to star as super villain Rhino in the action-packed “Marvel Universe Live! Age of Heroes,” Oct. 26-29 at Chaifetz Arena.
Longtime wrestler turned actor, Cooke has an extensive history of loving the limelight, which all started with his mother. “My history with performing goes so far back,” says Cooke. “I credit my beginning to my mother. She was the very first ever Fred Bird for the Cardinals. I was born to do this stuff. I always loved the spotlight as a kid — loved being the center of attention.”
Cooke played sports throughout school. “When I got older, I played in bands. I played at both versions of the Creepy Crawl. I played at Mississippi Nights. I’ve always been on stage. When I stopped playing bands, I started wrestling. It’s been a natural progression. Slowly, I’ve been adding skills to my resume. This job kind of combined all of those skills into one.”
Cooke jokes about getting the super villain gig; the audition was held at a martial arts gym in the same building as the parkour gym he was working at in Atlanta. “I auditioned on one side, and a year later, in the same building I worked at, I got hired for the show. It was awesome and unfortunate for my boss,” says Cooke.
His character Rhino is a Spiderman villain — a man turned half rhinoceros. “I love being Rhino — I was a professional wrestler for 10 years, and I always played the bad guy. I go out there and basically make fun of Spiderman for 10 minutes, and then I get to have 10 minutes of fun with Black Panther while I’m at it. I am beyond excited about the show. My mother has already been calling me asking me how many tickets she’s allowed to get for it. There are so many people that want to come.”
Hailing from Eureka, Cooke celebrates his 30th birthday right before performing at Chaifetz Arena in October. He looks forward to being home during this time. “I’m super excited to finally perform in front of all my friends and family in St. Louis. Getting to come home, perform for everyone, and with it being my 30th birthday, I couldn’t ask for a better way to start rounding out my year.”
St. Louis is more than just home to the actor; it’s a lifestyle. “Everybody loves Imo’s. Who doesn’t love Ted Drewes when there is not a huge line? I look forward to taking everyone on the tour to the City Museum; they can see what they’re missing out on because it’s the coolest place ever,” says Cooke. Coming home is both rewarding for Cooke. “I love St. Louis; it’ll be great to be back.”
For tickets, click here. M