Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Jackson Rathbone courts 'Girlfriend' in Wayland

The last place fans will find up-and-coming “Twilight” actor and 100 Monkeys musician Jackson Rathbone?

“I don’t go to malls,” he jokes, taking a break from filming the indie flick “Girlfriend” outside of the State Road Auto Body’s garage in Wayland. “You won’t see me in a tabloid magazine outside of a club unless my band just played there. I keep myself busy. I consider myself an artist and not just an actor,” he says, punctuating each sentence with a thick Texas accent.

Rathbone, known as vamp brother Jasper Hale in the “Twilight” series, is playing a volatile auto mechanic Russ in the made-in-Wayland flick. He’s wearing gray coveralls and is covered from head to toe with grease. Behind him is a picturesque autumn setting with leaves changing colors juxtaposed with the harsh metal garage set. The actor graciously signs autographs and poses for photos for the handful of locals checking out the set.

The 24-year-old comments that he’s been filming around the clock in Wayland since flying in from Vancouver where he’s shooting a beefier role in the third edition of the Stephenie Meyer franchise called "Eclipse." So far, Rathbone says he’s blown away by the New England aesthetic ... and the kindness of the locals.

“I’ve never filmed in Massachusetts,” he says, signing an autograph for a mechanic wearing a “bodies are our business” T-shirt. “It’s been wonderful filming in Wayland and Natick and in the outskirts because everyone has been so kind to us. I mean, they shut down their auto body shop on a weekday for us. They could be working and they’ve opened their garage for us.”

In “Girlfriend,” Rathbone is thrust into a bizarre love triangle with a small town single mom (played by Shannon Woodward from “The Riches”) and newcomer Evan Sneider. The drama centers around Sneider’s protagonist, a young man with Down’s Syndrome, who romantically pursues Woodward’s character Candy. So far, the actor says the on-screen chemistry has been magic.

“Every time we go back to watch dailies, we’re all silent,” he says. “If you’re watching playbacks in a room full of producers and they’re all silent, you know something is going right.”

Rathbone, smoking a cigarette and exuding a Johnny Depp-esque swagger when the camera rolls, jokes with the locals who step up to shake his hand. “Be careful,” he muses, wiping his palms on his grease-monkey getup. “You don’t know where this hand has been.”

For the record, the scene is a sexually explosive interaction with Woodward’s character in the State Road Auto Body office. His hand, by the way, was all over Candy for most of the shoot.

Rathbone says he’s been able to go there as an actor because of the “laid-back, casual atmosphere” on set. “The thing with indie film is that you have so much freedom,” he says. “And at the same time, you have to accomplish things either quicker or more creatively because of the budget.”

The rising star continues, “As an actor, I believe in putting yourself out there. I try not to hold my cards too close to my chest. It’s also about being honest. The job of an actor is to stand where they tell you stand, wear what they want you to wear, but you always have to be honest.”

When he isn't in front of the camera, Rathbone tours with his acting-singing buddies Ben Graupner and "Girlfriend" producer Jerad Anderson from 100 Monkeys.

“I’ve been lucky and blessed to be able to make a living since I was 19- or 20-years-old as an actor. My dad always said you’ve got to have a vocation and an avocation," he muses. "For awhile, I thought music was my avocation. But, it’s become my vocation as well. My avocation these days is taking a pretty girl to dinner.”

COMING SOON: Interview with "Girlfriend" filmmakers Justin Lerner, Jerad Anderson and Shaun O'Banion.
--Photo courtesy Wayne/Lauren Film Company

1 comment:

Irina said...

Thank you for that!
Can't wait to see that movie. Jackson seems to be a really nice guy!

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