Friday, September 25, 2009

Jackson Talks Blood, Sweat and Rock n Roll

(Just because it's pretty.)

This was an interview Jackson did with the Vancouver Sun a few weeks ago. Thanks for Peace. Love. Twilight for bringing it to our attention!

It doesn't exactly suck to be a vampire these days. Not when you're Jackson Rathbone, you're only 24 and you're already famous for your role as a charismatic neck-biter in the most talked-about teen movie franchise on the planet.

And not when, at least away from the set of those three much-hyped Twilight films you've starred in, you get to be in a band. A rock-and-roll band. But first, the interview with the vampire.

Rathbone is Singapore-born and has acting roots in musical theatre in Texas and a Michigan arts academy. He started acting professionally at 17, moving into the TV and movie industry in Hollywood when he was 18.

On television, his roles have included turns on The O.C. and Criminal Minds, and he recently completed filming M. Night Shyamalan's The Last Airbender.

But it's as 166-year-old vampire Jasper Hale in the first three Twilight movies — Twilight, released in 2008, the Vancouver-shot New Moon, due for release Nov. 20, and Eclipse, currently shooting in Vancouver — where Rathbone has earned his celebrity status and heartthrob cred.

He plays a confederate army major who, at the age of 20, becomes a vampire with a special power to manipulate the emotions of others. Tired of noshing on humans, he takes a turn for the good and is adopted by the Cullens, thus becoming the brother of Edward, the intense, dreamy vampire whose tender Romeo and Juliet love story with lovely mortal Bella Swan forms the nucleus of the blockbuster four-book thriller romance series written by Stephenie Meyer.

While Jasper initially protects Bella, in New Moon he loses his self-control, gives into his thirst for human blood and attacks her after she gets a paper cut. To protect Bella, the Cullen family leaves town, and, in Eclipse, Jasper reverts to teaching vampires and werewolves defence techniques against pesky newborn vampires. Rathbone remembers auditioning several times for the role, originally reading for the Edward Cullen part, before director Catherine Hardwicke offered him Jasper.

"I auditioned two or three months before filming started. And I just walked to the audition because the studio was close to my house, so I'd walk there with my guitar and I played it in the waiting room."

With Jasper, and the worldwide frenzy that is Twilight mania, has come fame, but also a loss of anonymity for Rathbone.

Twitter-powered fans, mostly young girls, stalk the actors, hanging out at their hotels and on the perimeter of shooting locations, hoping for a glimpse, a wave, perhaps an autograph.

Along with rabid fans come the paparazzi, the tabloid reporters and, of course, Perez Hilton, who recently blogged on Rathbone's physical stunts in Eclipse.

"People see us out and about and always want to take a picture . . . but we're blessed to have an incredible fan base. They send us gifts, they send us the sweetest fan letters. They tell us how we brought these characters to life and as an actor, I'm grateful."

Off the set, away from the fang gang and the love-hurts movie scenes, you're as likely to find Rathbone hunched over a musical instrument as a film script.

In fact, if you pop into Vancouver's revamped Rickshaw Theatre Saturday, you'll get a taste of his musical bent, onstage playing with his band 100 Monkeys, kicking off a 100-city tour.

Along with bandmates Ben Graupner, Ben Johnson, Jerad Anderson and Lawrence Abrams, Rathbone sings and plays half a dozen instruments, constantly changing places onstage with other band members during "monkey switcheroos."

Last February, while in town filming New Moon, 100 Monkeys did a show attended by Twilight cast members, including the elusive leads Robert (Edward) Pattinson, and Kristen (Bella) Stewart.

Also on the bill was local band Thee Manipulators, who'll be opening for 100 Monkeys at The Rickshaw.

"We became good friends," says Rathbone, as they did with Vancouver's Neptoon Records, where the band also performed.

Rathbone, for being all of 24, is focused and grounded (traits for which he credits his supportive family, still back in small-town Texas) and fully intends to capitalize on Twilight fever.

"I've been setting off, since I was 18, on the path I wanted to take, and I think I'm on it now."

And he will tell you it definitely doesn't suck to be a vampire.

"I get to wake up every morning and thank God. It's a blessing."

Sigh. The humble southern man thing gets me every time.


  1. Almost everyone in the cast is humble. Hope they stay that way!!

  2. Really like the site. Can we do a link exchange - email me at

  3. He is always gracious. Thanks for a Jackson post!!

  4. Well I have a soft spot for Jackson, he is not my fave but BOY can he FLASH a beautiful smile!