Cobra Kai’s Aedin Mincks Talks Acting, Disney, and Inspiration
Aedin Mincks has been acting since he was six years old, first getting his start in commercials and small cameos for television shows. Inspired by The Lord of the Rings, his brother and he found a passion for acting while kids. Aedin appeared on A.N.T. Farm, Seth MacFarlane’s Ted, and, most recently, Netflix’s Cobra Kai. On Cobra Kai he plays Mitch, a character that first appears on the show in Season 2. Aedin is young, as he’s only twenty-one, but he’s had an impressive career so far as an emerging actor.
Cobra Kai may have been Aedin’s break outside of Disney’s A.N.T. Farm and Ted, but he’s had a plethora of experiences, ranging from improv to jiu-jitsu classes, to aid him on his journey as an actor. This broad range brings forth unique energy, one seen in this interview. It’s full of spontaneity and energy once he gets inside his zone. This may be unorthodox, but it delivers a new layer of authenticity to his performances. After the recent release of Cobra Kai‘s season four, Mincks’ spontaneity, dedication, and creative energy were seen again on the small screen.
Movieweb sat down with him to chat about his career and Cobra Kai.
Up until A.N.T Farm, you had smaller roles and cameos in commercials and television shows. How did appearing on Disney help your career?
“[Before A.N.T. Farm] I was set-hopping, but there was one consistent set I was on: the Capital One Visigoth commercials. I got to do around twenty spots there. But after consistently being on a show, everything became more natural. I had that practice of being on set every single week, so it got smoother. When I go on set now, everything feels so natural to do.”
How did you start acting?
“My brother and I loved The Lord of the Rings. We were obsessed with it, and we watched all the behind-the-scenes. That’s when we realized none of it was real, so we took a couple of pictures behind our house as headshots and then sent them to agents. Before social media, you would do that or show your acting ability. Now they look more for social media followers or if you’re already in the industry.”
How has the role of acting changed for you while getting older?
“Each sort of show has their own theme and thing that they do. This question ties in with social media, but acting is still acting. You’re still trying to perform, getting into character, and bringing a message to people.”
While doing A.N.T. Farm, you were also in Ted. That’s a movie with a completely different tone from Disney. As a young actor, how did you manage the tonal shift between the two?
“When I auditioned, I didn’t want to audition for it. I kept getting auditions for bullies, I no longer wanted to be a bully, and I wanted people to like me. My mom then told me to dress however I wanted for the audition, so I put on these shark socks and a sweater vest. I walked in looking super goofy and got the role.
The funny thing for me is the demographics are so different. I would be walking around, and kids would run up to me and say they saw me in something. I thought they watched A.N.T. Farm, but then they said they saw me in Ted. Later, in Vegas, a couple of adults would walk up to me and say I was in A.N.T. Farm. The opposite demographic is watching the show.”
Our conversation then shifted to Aedin’s current role as Mitch on Cobra Kai, as well as some thoughts about what the future may have for him. From discussing Avatar to watching the original Karate Kid movies for the first time, there’s a glimpse into Aedin’s process as an actor.
Now that you’ve played a wide variety of roles, what are your goals for the future?
“I like rolling with acting. At the same time, I don’t want to be [tied] to a permanent show because I feel that doesn’t open up to other opportunities. I did like show-hopping in a sense. I definitely want to be in whatever remake or continuation of The Lord of the Rings because that’s my #1 dream. I always said I wanted to meet the entire cast or work with the entire cast, and sadly some have died, but I’m slowly getting there.”
You’ve still got an entire career ahead of you, but what have you been most proud of so far?
“Definitely Ted or Cobra Kai. I liked Ted and being in Boston, working with all those amazing actors. That was one of the coolest things. I’m proud of Cobra Kai because, in a sense, one of my main goals was to be on a cool show where there was some action or fighting, and that was the part I got. Cobra Kai is great, and I love it.”
Did you grow up watching martial arts movies?
“I would watch anything, and I might’ve seen a couple, but I watched the Jayden Smith version of The Karate Kid. I didn’t know there were originals at the time, and after I got the part, my mom was like, ‘Oh, this is for the original [Karate Kid]!’ We then watched all three of them, and they were great.”
So the newest season of Cobra Kai just came out. Tell us a little about your character and the season.
“It’s a continuation of what happened last season where we finally buddied up together. I get to be with my buddy Chris. I was supposed to have a big reveal, but it didn’t make the final cut.”
This is your third season on the show. How have you been challenged and evolved as an actor?
“At first, I was concerned about how it’d go with the fighting and stuff, but it’s been easy. We have a training room. It’s a giant room with pads all over the floor, and we do a warm-up in the morning. Then we break off into our sections and train for our fights. We’re constantly training and trying to make it smooth and fluid. What I’ve been doing differently lately is stretching.”
As a viewer, some of the most fun parts to watch on Cobra Kai are the action sequences. What was filming those scenes like, and did you do martial arts before this?
“No, I didn’t do martial arts, but I did karate as a kid and got a couple of belts. Before I got this part, I was in kickboxing classes, and then in-between filming, I did a couple of jiu-jitsu classes, and that was crawling around people. I’m already a big dude, so I don’t need to crawl like Spider-Man.”
During the next question, Aedin stops and pauses for a few seconds, mulling over his response. What he then says shows maturity and depth.
As a young person navigating the acting world, I’m sure it can be difficult sometimes. Are there any life lessons you’ve learned from your perseverance?
“Basically, it helped with realizing authenticity and trying not to be fake. Be as real as a person as you can. It also helped with jealousy; every role is not going to be for you, and you’re not going to be the face of every single thing you audition for. Be happy for other people’s success, but also put in the effort to try to be the best you can be.”
How has Cobra Kai been different from any other show or movie you’ve been on so far?
“The fighting. We’re all close buddies and good friends. Other shows will say they’re one big family, but that’s not the truth. If we’re not working that day, we’ll text “How are you doing, let’s hang out” or show up on set to hang out and support each other, even if it’s our day off.”
You’ve had the chance to work with some incredible and seasoned actors. What have you learned from these experiences?
“Giovanni Ribisi taught me to be humble. He would say to my mom, ‘Let him do his thing and leave him alone.’”
Who/what are your biggest inspirations?
“The Lord of the Rings for acting, and after that, I enjoy entertaining people and making them laugh. As a little kid, whenever there was a dinner party, I would walk in there and crack jokes to make people laugh.”
With The Lord of the Rings clearly being Aedin’s favorite movie, it felt only natural to ask what his favorite television show was.
What’s your favorite television show?
“I’ve been getting into The Witcher lately. But when I was a kid, my favorite show was Avatar.”
Aedin previously has taken improv classes, something that manifests into his performance style. It turns out that this plays a key role in how he delivers his lines.
How have you improved while on set?
“On A.N.T. Farm, I went off the lines all the time, which isn’t what Disney wanted. I’d go up there and do it, and the directors would laugh and think it was funny. I would conserve that energy. Once you tell a joke it becomes stale, so rehearsing, I wouldn’t do well and put the effort in, and then when the time actually came, I would go full force to hear the laughs.”
Is that your acting method?
“I would say that’s my method. If we’re rehearsing, you’re not going to see what I’m going to do.”
Finally: what are some little joys you’ve experienced lately?
“I got an archery set for Christmas, and now I can go in my backyard and do it instead of going somewhere else. I’m playing games, Fallout 76, and my brother’s dogs had a litter of puppies recently.”
It was this moment, at the end of our interview, that Aedin got up, exited the room, and returned with some puppies from the litter. He held each one up to the camera, explaining their names and pointing out their defining features. We’re excited to see them grow along with Aedin, whether it’s on Cobra Kai or another new venture.
You can watch Aedin in the newest season of Cobra Kai and follow him on instagram.
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