Actor Jackson Rathbone is undeniably best known as Jasper Hale from Twilight and the upcoming Twilight sequel, New Moon. But in his heart, he’s just a guy playing in a rock ‘n’ roll band.
Rathbone talked to CHARTattack from the set of Eclipse, the third movie in the Twilight saga, about his life as a teenage vampire heartthrob and his beloved band, 100 Monkeys.
CHARTattack: Twilight came out last year, you’re doing press forNew Moon and you’re working on next year’s Eclipse. You don’t feel like your life has just become about Twilight all the time?
Jackson Rathbone: I don’t, actually. I have a lot of things going on outside of the Twilight world.
Being a musician, I have my band 100 Monkeys, so whenever I’m not working on a film, I work with them. We make music constantly and we’re constantly on tour. It’s a pleasure to be part of the Twilightbooks, but I’ve got a lot of other stuff going on.
As well with film, I’ve got some other movies going on. I’m actually producing my first film this year with my production company. It’s going great because of the wide Twilight fanbase I’ve been able to have people follow my other projects, which is just such an honour. They’re so supportive of all the movies and of us as individuals.
Do you see Twilight as a blessing, or are you afraid of typecasting with such a huge franchise? Any reservations with being part of such a cultural phenomenon?
At first, I was a little bit worried. It was one of my first conversations with my manager when they offered me the role of Jasper — “Is this the right move? Will I get stuck in it?”
But we’ve tried to establish all throughout my career different looks every time I play a character. Not just in terms of hair and eye colour, but the way I walk and the way I talk.
I’ve always been a character actor. When I was in theatre and was learning how to act as a child, I was a character actor. It’s always going to be a struggle, to not be identified as one of the brat pack from the Twilight movies, but at the same time, it’s all about what you do next, I think.
I’m not one character, even in my personal life. I’m a very multi-faceted person — I have my band, I have my music, and I have my movie career. I consider myself an artist more than I do an actor.
Twilight isn’t the worst place to be as the singer in a rock ‘n’ roll band. Vampires are pretty rock n’ roll, aren’t they? Those broody kids who watch Twilight probably are very into the fact that you’re a musician.
All of the fans have been very supportive of 100 Monkeys. We have a lot of Twilight fans, but we have a lot of fans who aren’t into Twilight, too.
We aren’t a tweeny-bop rock group. We’re not the Jonas Brothers. Our songs aren’t about loving the girl next door. Our songs are about drinking and the devil and women who cheat and steal.
When you look at our songs, we sing kind of more blues-oriented songs. We idolize bands like The Doors and The Rolling Stones. Our sound is often compared to The Doors and Tom Waits and Coldplay. We hope our music is acceptable, but we play music that we love, we really do. And because we play music that we love, we find that other people like our music, too.
How do the other guys in the band feel about your gig as a movie star?
They’re my friends from high school. They’ve known me since before I was trying to make the decision whether or not to move to L.A. back when I was 18. And they supported me in whatever I did. We’ve always just been great friends.
Our friendship inspired a sort of musical collaboration, as opposed to becoming a band after Twilight or something like that. And this experience hasn’t changed me because I’ve been blessed to have my friends who keep my grounded, my bandmates, my partners in crime, if you will. I’m the exact same guy I was before Twilight and I will continue to be.
I heard somewhere once that fame changes people around you, it doesn’t change you. And I find that to be true. Certain people around me have always stayed true, while some friends I had back in Texas I’ve kind of fallen out with because they do see me as a movie star.
Whereas my friends that I keep up with just see me as a normal guy and being in movies happens to be my job. And those people are my true friends because they know at the end of the day not to believe IMDB or TMZ or any of that stuff. Jackson is just a cool a regular guy who likes to make music with his friends.