You might know Jackson Rathbone from the Twilight series, where he plays Jasper Hale. And you might know Jackson Rathbone as the rock musician who plays in the band 100 Monkeys. But soon you'll know him as something else - the sci-fi action hero from M. Night Shyamalan's The Last Airbender, an adaptation of the Nickelodeon anime cartoon.
Does anyone call you by your real first name, Monroe? I still go by Monroe when I am in trouble with the law.
Which is… often? Very rarely; very rarely. I don’t get so much as a speeding ticket these days but I am a habitual parking violator.
I know M. Night Shyamalan is famous for his secrecy. But what can you tell us about The Last Airbender?
Well I can say it is going to be an amazing action film; it’s got the most incredible CGI. We got ILM working on it, which is Industrial Lights and Magic, and it truly is magic, honestly, at the end of the day. We are shooting on the green screen, we have a character called Appa? Which is a big bison kind of flying bear creature? And that’s me, I’m a big flying bear creature.
Nice try. Okay, no, but I get to ride it.
Not a real flying bear? No, I rode a fuzzy saddle. It was about 15-20 feet off the ground. It’s on this kind of rocking thing… They were moving it, and there is a big green screen behind you. Night’s yelling, “Okay, you’re flying through the air now!” You’re like, “Okay, I am flying through the air now.” And oh yeah, I had to be flying through the air, and no, I wasn’t on any drugs.
Maybe there was good liquor on set? I can hold my liquor! I’m from the South, come on now. You know, I love Jameson Whiskey, and I love Bud Light, I keep it pretty simple. I was actually in a bar recently, and they only had three beers on tap, and it was Bud with lime on tap! I had to give the bar tender a little, you know, guff for that one. Are you kidding me? You don’t even have Bud Light on tap? You don’t even have Lonestar on tap? You only have Bud Light Lemon-Lime?!
I hope you lamented about your lime beer problems during your Last Airbender audition. Oh, I didn’t have to audition. I actually had my part delivered by an owl, followed by a list of magical school supplies… No, no, I did the normal auditioning process. Actually I had auditioned for M. Night’s The Happening before… then I met Night and we hit it off.
I heard in an M. Night movie, you don’t ever see the full script…. At the audition you only get the lines you’re gonna say, but this movie in particular based off the Nickelodeon animated series, so it’s a departure from Night’s thrillers. It’s about finding the hero within against all odds, and it’s got some of the most incredible action sequences, with all of these characters being able to manipulate the elements and being able to throw fire and throw water to block it… However, my character only gets to throw a boomerang. That’s not as rock n’ roll as being able to bend water.
So you can't bend water. What else can’t you do? Iron. You want to watch me iron, you’ll see how bad I am. I like my clothes wrinkled anyway, so it’s fine. But one of my band mates taught me a trick; his name is Lawrence Abrams and he’s a jazz musician; he’s about 56 years old. He taught me the old put it on a coat hanger and put it in the shower and let it steam up a bit. First time I did it though, I put it in the shower, and that was wrong. You don’t put it in the shower because it gets wet. See? I learned.
You’re an actor with a band, 100 Monkeys. Do you think you’ll do anything to combine those two passions? Obviously, I’m going to star in Twilight the musical. The scary thing is, I bet they’re totally making one, like, right now!