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INT: Jonathan Jackson

04.15.2001by: The Arrow

The Arrow interviews Jonathan Jackson

I never watched "General Hospital" so I had never heard of multiple Emmy winner Jonathan Jackson. I had seen “Deep End Of The Ocean” and remembered thinking the kid in it was good but nothing more. Then I saw "Skeletons on the Closet" and his performance kicked my arse all over the place. In the film, Jonathan plays a could-be serial killer and I swear on my "arrow" that he delivers one of the more astounding, bone chilling performances of the year. I had to find out more about this dude. So I nabbed a phone interview with the man and here’s how it went down.

ARROW: Hey Jonathan, how you doing?

JONATHAN: I’m great, thanks.

ARROW: You ready for this?

JONATHAN: You bet.

ARROW: I’ll start off by asking you what your favorite scary movie is? You like scary movies?

JONATHAN: That’s a good question, you know, I’m not a huge fan of them. I haven’t watched as many of the classics as there are.

ARROW: Give me something recent.

JONATHAN: "Silence Of The Lambs" is definitely very frightening.

ARROW: You didn’t like “Hannibal” too much?

JONATHAN: Not nearly as much as Silence.

ARROW: Yeah me, too. Actually I wanted to ask you, how did you fall into acting anyways?

JONATHAN: I grew up in the northwest; my family took a vacation to “Universal Studios” around 1991. My brother and I for some reason just kind of got excited about seeing behind the scenes, all the special effects and we kind of wanted to get into acting just cause we saw everything there. We took some acting classes up in Portland Oregon for a couple of years and then we moved down in '93.

ARROW: So you didn’t go to like college for acting?


ARROW: But I suppose your 5-year stint on General Hospital was the best acting school in the world?

JONATHAN: Absolutely, it was on for five and half years. And the training that you get doing that day in day out, year round, memorizing 20 pages a day, it really disciplines you. You can kind of go two different ways: you can either create a lot of really bad habits or you can really grow.

ARROW: Did you fall into the "bad habit" section sometimes?

JONATHAN: I tried my best not to. The good thing is that you can watch your work and I was working with some really great actors too. I was always trying new things and feeling things out, trying to figure out what kind of things worked for me.

ARROW: Congratulations on "Skeletons in the Closet", man.

JONATHAN: Cool, thanks.

ARROW: Your performance was amazing dude...amazing.


ARROW: What kind of research did you do for the part?

JONATHAN: I didn’t try to do much research with real people like that (the character). I felt that the script was so strong when I read it…and one of the biggest keys for the film was to be able to play one thing and have the audience believe it when the opposite was the truth. So in that respect I couldn’t really put all the cards out with the character for a lot of it. That’s kind of what intrigued me. I loved being able to play almost two different roles really. When I was acting, I felt that the character had to believe what he was saying, every scene he had to be convinced that what he was saying was true.

ARROW: That’s what makes a good liar.

JONATHAN: Exactly, it’s frightening.

ARROW: You have any funny set stories that you can share with us?

JONATHAN: Let me think, I don’t know about funny, I mean it was a really fast shoot. Treat Williams is probably the funniest person, he keeps things enjoyable and light on the set. It was a 19-day shoot so it was a really, really fast paced.

ARROW: Did you guys have any rehearsal time before the shoot?

JONATHAN: Not really, we drove around to each location, ran through the scenes and kind of made some changes we felt that needed to be there. Other than that we kind of prepared on our own time, then came together and made some changes on the day we felt were necessary. I’m kind of used to that. When I was on General Hospital I spent all my time preparing on my own then I got on set and basically did the scene….interesting things happen when you do that.

ARROW: You’ve acted with Treat Williams before in "Deep End Of The Ocean". The first time you acted opposite the guy, did you feel intimidated at all?

JONATHAN: Not really, he’s a really down to earth, nice person. He makes you feel comfortable so I had fun working with him on “Deep End". We got to play some basketball together, we ate lunch together and hung out and stuff. I just felt that he was a really nice guy.

ARROW: He comes across as one.

JONATHAN: I was not intimidated or hesitant to work with him again.

ARROW: How was it acting with Linda Hamilton?

JONATHAN: She was really cool, I didn’t have a whole lot of time to hang out with her… I did a little bit off the set. She’s a really cool person; she has a really great heart and she brought a neat presence to her character and our scenes together.

ARROW: Your scenes together are really intense actually.

JONATHAN: Cool, it turned out nice.

ARROW: Have you seen the movie with an audience yet?

JONATHAN: Yeah, I saw it at a screening and at a festival.

ARROW: And what was the audience’s reaction?

JONATHAN: It was really positive, I was really happy. You never know what to expect but it's cool when you see it in a theatre with an audience. You kind of feel the tension in the room, and when anything comes up that could possibly frighten them you hear the gasps, their reactions. That’s kind of like a nice little radar to know if they're into the film. It’s not a comedy so I didn’t hear laughing but I felt other things.

ARROW: Any idea what Artisan is going to do with the movie?

JONATHAN: No, I’m not sure. It's being thought about and tossed around whether they’re going to go theatrical or “Showtime” or something like that. Anything like that would be great.

ARROW: I’m going to hop onto a different subject.


ARROW: You directed a short called "Crystal Clear" (he and brother Richard won the Coen Brothers duo filmmaker award for it) about alcoholism.

JONATHAN: My brother and I wrote and directed it.

ARROW: So is directing something you want to get into more?

JONATHAN: Yeah definitely, we’re writing quite a bit of scripts right now. We just wanted to do the short to get the experience. Kind of jump in, see if we could swim and be able to show people that we can do it.

ARROW: Is there any way for people to see the short?

JONATHAN: Not at this point, we haven’t really sent it around much. At some point we’re either going to sell it to cable or the internet or something like that. It will eventually be available.

ARROW: Didn’t you and your brother do songs for "Skeletons In The Closet" too?

JONATHAN: Yeah, we did 3 songs.

ARROW: You guys did “Father” right?.


ARROW: Great song, by the way.

JONATHAN: Cool, thanks.

ARROW: A really good way to cap off the movie.

JONATHAN: Awesome, it was a lot of fun.

ARROW: Do you have a website?

JONATHAN: My official site is right here. I’m not computer literate yet though.

ARROW: Not a big Net guy?

JONATHAN: I have the instant internet button so….

ARROW: Ok kool So what do you do when you're not living and breathing movies...to chill...to relax?

JONATHAN: One of the biggest things is play music and write. My brother Ritchie plays drum and I play guitar, we’re in a band together.

ARROW: What’s the name of the band?

JONATHAN: Scarlet River.

ARROW: You guys have any albums out?

JONATHAN: Yeah, we have some albums out under the name Scarlet Road. We just changed our name to Scarlet River. On Amazon.com we’re under there, I’m sure you can get it though creativity zone too. Last album we did was called Dark Candy, pretty cool album. check out his albums here>

ARROW: What kind of music do you guys put out?

JONATHAN: That one had a lot of different styles of rock on it. U2 is a pretty big influence, I love U2. We tried to keep it to a lot of different styles. There’s some harder stuff and some softer ballads. It goes in a lot of different directions, there’s like 16 songs on there.

ARROW: Any music videos out for it yet?

JONATHAN: No, we’ve actually been talking about that. We just finished recording another album and we’re thinking of shooting a music video and directing it, we’ll see if that happens.

ARROW: So what’s next on your plate?

JONATHAN: There’s a couple things that are kind of up in the air before the SAG strike. We’re just kind of waiting to see what happens with those. We’re also waiting to see what Universal does with “On The Edge”. That should be released next year; we’ll see what happens with that.

ARROW: Who directed "On The Edge"?

JONATHAN: I believe first time director John, Jim Sheridan produced it under his production company and it was shot over in Ireland. It’s an intense film. The main subject is suicide but there’s kind of a love triangle within that and there’s lots of dark humor, kind of a quirky film.

ARROW: Do you know when it might be coming out?

JONATHAN: I figured by the early end of this year but I haven’t heard anything…I don’t know.

ARROW: Cool. Well, I think that’s pretty much it, Jonathan. One more time, congrats on your performance in Skeletons.

JONATHAN: Awesome, I appreciate that. Thanks man.

ARROW: No prob. Later!

JONATHAN: God bless.

Thanks a bundle for your time, Jonathan. Keep kicking that arse and come back to the page anytime! I have a feeling that after the release of "Skeletons In The Closet" we’ll hear a whole lot more about Jonathan Jackson. “Artisan” release it already so my readers can know what I’m talking about (and so I can see it again)!!!



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