Meet Jackson Rathbone :: ’Twilight’s’ Hunky Jasper Hale
For better or worse, "The Twilight Saga" is coming to an end. Without a doubt, Stephenie Meyer’s set of novels that chronicles a teenager’s journey into adulthood (or should I say, vampirehood) while finding the love of her life, has left its bite in American pop culture.
Team Edward, Team Jacob and Twihards have become cultural lexicons. The movie adaptation has made stars out of Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner, luring teenage girls (and some men) to the cineplex.
With the final book split into two movies, "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part Two" presents the happily-ever-after of Bella’s marriage to Edward, her transformation to a vampire (to save her life) and the birth of their daughter Renesmee. The Volturi, the legion that governs all vampires, feels threatened by this half-vampire-half-human child and sets out to destroy the Cullen vampire clan.
Directed by Bill Condon ("Breaking Dawn Part 1," "Dreamgirls"), "Breaking Dawn Part 2" brings the series to a thrilling climax. The Associated Press’ Christy Lemire claims the film to be the best in the series, "Condon and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg have taken a big risk in deviating from the book, and it pays off big-time from a narrative perspective. It’s kind of amazing that this thing got a PG-13 rating."
And in the New York Times, critic Manohla Dargis wrote, "Mr. Condon closes the series in fine, smooth style. He gives fans all the lovely flowers, conditioned hair and lightly erotic, dreamy kisses they deserve. Just as smartly he also shakes the series up with an unexpectedly fierce, entertaining battle that finds the Cullens, flanked by their wolf friends and various vampire allies, facing down the Volturi. Set on a snowy field, this whirlwind of clashing fangs and flying fur rouses Bella to action."
While the chronicle largely focused on Stewart’s choice between the unearthly handsome Pattinson and the undeniably sexy Lautner, there was plenty of eye candy to amp up the hunk factor. Amongst them is Kellan Lutz’s muscular Emmett and an entire shirtless wolf pack. And then there’s Jackson Rathbone, who plays Jasper Hale, a Confederate major who was changed into a vampire during the Civil War.
EDGE speaks to the charismatic Rathbone on how he makes his vampire stand out and what he takes away from the whole "Twilight" experience.
EDGE: With all the other vampires in the Cullen clan, how did you make Jasper stand out among the pack?
Jackson Rathbone: Throughout the course of ’The Twilight Saga’, I really try to remove Jasper from the other characters in the sense that his own desires and motivations are far different. He is trying to fit in to this vegetarian vampire way of life for love, for the love of Alice. This is a character that is born in war. He has fought his entire life in the civil war when he was turned. He became the leader of vampire armies.
This is seen in ’Twilight: Eclipse.’ I really want to utilize that army training, that sensibility, duty and honor and really give Jasper that feeling, as opposed to having him be a flippant character that just enjoys being a vampire. I want him to show, stand a little straighter, talk a little more direct, and be kind of a quiet badass basically.
EDGE: How was your experience working with your fellow cast members?
Jackson Rathbone: The cast of the ’Twilight’ saga has been incredible. In the first couple of films, we really felt like we connected as a family. Nikki Reed is the godmother of my son. (She is married to ’American Idol’ contestant Paul McDonald.)
It is good to see them a lot. They live really close to me. We have all connected and I hope that these friendships last for years.
EDGE: Which movie in the series means the most to you?
Jackson Rathbone: I think ’Twilight’ (2008) was the origin of us all. To a large degree, that film means the most. It kicked this crazy phenomenon off. Whenever I look back, I remember arriving at that film’s first Red Carpet and being completely blown away by how many people had shown up and how loud the screams were. I remember almost losing my voice on the Red Carpet doing so many interviews and talking to the fans. I was on the Red Carpet that day for about three hours, just doing interviews and trying to sign every single fan’s book, trying to understand what all this was. I have been working as an actor pretty steadily since and was lucky enough to be catapulted to a different level of accessibility.
EDGE: ’Twilight’ must have opened many doors for you.
Jackson Rathbone: It has definitely opened doors in the sense that there is a broader fan base to my work in the arts, the music that I make, the films that I do, the TV shows and the web series that I make. It’s been an amazing experience and a wonderful opportunity. But there is a sensibility that it is a double-edged sword in a lot of ways. There are cynics out there that do not want to have anything to do with the ’Twilight’ kids; but there are also people who are more open-minded, people who do not care about the past, who care only about the future and the present moment.
And there are the very loyal fans who have just followed us from the first ’Twilight’ movie. I am lucky enough to say that I have a couple of fans who have been following me since my really early work. I don’t know why they are fans of that [laughs], but I am really appreciative it because I was just figuring out my own footing at that point in my career.
EDGE: They are tracing back to what you have done before ’Twilight.’
Jackson Rathbone: I used to be a reporter for the Disney Channel, called Disney 411. If you look up YouTube videos of me doing that, it is pretty ridiculous. I was eighteen at that time. They wanted me to sound younger, so they had me pitch my voice up. So when I did interviews, I have to be like [in a high pitched animated voice] ’Hi! This is Jackson with Disney 411! We are here with Hilary Duff!" That was honestly how all the interviews were like! I was thinking it was crazy. I was not sure if I liked this, if I could keep doing this, but I was lucky to find more and more jobs.
EDGE: Tell me something few people know about in the making of the ’Twilight’ movies.
Jackson Rathbone: We filmed this movie about two-and-a-half years ago. During the filming, I actually produced and put out a record of a band that I fell in love with called "The Bleeding Horse Express," which is out in iTunes, you can find it. It is big southern rock kind of music.
Also we filmed half of the movie in Baton Rouge. I have got a lot of family down there. So most of the time in Baton Rouge, I spent with my family, eating all good Cajun cooking.
And it took seven times for the make-up team to dye my hair blond - and it wasn’t even that blond.
EDGE: Looking back at making this film, what do you remember the most of?
Jackson Rathbone: I remember this moment in ’The Twilight Saga: Eclipse,’ where Jasper was riding on a horse to meet these vampire ladies who were going to turn him eventually. I grew up riding horses so I know how to ride a horse pretty well, but I was in all these Civil War regalia, a giant sword, hat and all the stiff clothes. I got off the horse in one take and got stuck in the saddle and nearly fell on my face. That blooper exists somewhere.
"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2" is in theaters.