The actor/musician/songwriter who played the role of Jasper Hale in the popular vampire series, as well as Sokka in the Last Airbender film, is currently producing a new film while still working with his band 100 Monkeys.
Jackson's latest project, Girlfriend, is about a young man with Down's Syndrome named Evan. Evan romantically pursues a small town single mom named Candy, who is still mixed up with her volatile ex-boyfriend Russ. Not only did the actor play the part of Russ, he also served as a producer and as the film's composer.
"I was approached by my bandmate Jerad Anderson who put most of the pieces together for the film before bringing me into the picture. As producer, actor and composer I was able to bring an overall thematic element to the film that I would not have been able to as just an actor. I was very active as producer during production and post and had to make some hard decisions on editing and film procedures to make the best overall film possible. As composers, we 100 Monkeys tried to create a vast soundscape of a lullaby gone awry."
Asked if his new found experience behind the scenes is just as challenging as being in front of the camera, Jackson said it was "far more liberating than a cake-walk." He enjoyed the experience so much that he would very much like produce again and some day "hopefully even direct."
Jackson has been had quite a few guest spots on TV series such as Criminal Minds, The Cleaner and No Ordinary Family, and he has his eye on plenty more, such as "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Walking Dead, Madmen, Eastbound & Down, Bored to Death.... I love a good TV show and would love to be involved as guest artist or just to do a cameo." His past roles have been varied, playing both heroes and villains, but Rathbone admits he has a preference towards villainous characters since "heroes rarely have as much depth."
As if his professional plate wasn't full enough, Rathbone is set to star in a new web series called Aim High about a teenage spy; which he is very much looking forward to. "The ability to work on the show as lead actor and exec. producer was exciting and a new challenge. I wanted to have the full experience of how it is to work with big level studios and producers and learn from them as much as possible. It's different than producing an indie film and far more complicated as there are far more people working on it at once. I always love a good challenge and chance to learn from others."
Jackson is also a skilled musician, capable of playing numerous instruments. He is currently a part of the band 100 Monkeys which MTV recently filmed footage of as they performed at different gigs. The band is known to improvise songs during live shows, and will involve the audience by asking them for an idea or song-title. When asked if there were any of the songs or suggestions that were unforgettable he replied, "There have been a few... the most difficult improv/jam was at a smaller bar so we asked for three different ideas that we would tie together to make one song title. The result was the ridiculous "Hippopotamus On An Airplane Wing, Landing in the Nile".... Yeah. Ridiculous."
Playing around the country with his band is one thing, but Rathbone is ready to take his music career to the next level by launching his own record label. Very few details have been revealed, as the project is moving forward quietly, though he did say he has a firm grasp on the genre of music the label will focus on, "I will announce both our label's first two bands or more within the coming months as well as the label's name. Paperwork is a bitch, you know? Until then..."
Talking with Jackson about the upcoming two-part film The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, which is currently shooting in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, he mentioned he still had "a bit" of filming left for his role as Jasper Hale. Besides that, he remained tight-lipped about the project. When asked whether his character and Renesmee (daughter of Bella and Edward) may have any interaction not included in the novel, Jackson cryptically joked, "Shhh.... it's rabbit season!"
Another film franchise Jackson is a part of with a large, yet wildly different, following is The Last Airbender based on the popular Nickelodeon cartoon. No word has been released whether the sequel film (or, Book Two, to Air Bender fans) has been greenlit, though Rathbone remains optimistic.
Ever comedic, Rathbone said he prepares for his roles in popular franchise like Last Airbender and Twilight by, "eating my veggies, drinking lots of black coffee, and going to church."
I had the time to throw one more question at Jackson, which actually came from one of our other Correspondents Christopher Lee, who wanted to know the actor's thoughts on the current craze of comic book derived movies and what, if any, comic book character would most like to portray on screen.
"It's a bigger comic universe... I always thought I'd make a great young Nightcrawler... or Forge... I've always been a huge fan of X-Men and hope to one day join in on the growing ensemble of characters. I also do like to portray bad guys... Spawn remake