An interview conducted by Josh Horowitz
Link to Article
March 21, 2003
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UP THE “CREEK” WITH JOSHUA JACKSON
Joshua Jackson has been a thorn in my side for a while now. It’s nothing personal really. Just the fact that my girlfriend squeals every time a witticism escapes his lips as I’m staring dumbfounded at the WB on a Wednesday night.
Maybe it’s the fact that we share a first name. Maybe it’s the ease he seems to have in front of the camera. Indeed, I’d venture to say Jackson has a bit of the Clooney in his charm and natural vibe he exudes on television. Sort of a Dr. Ross for the 14-25 year old set.
Jackson is reaching one of those crucial career junctures. At least, that’s what his manger and agent are probably thinking behind closed doors. DAWSON’S CREEK, the series on which he’s starred for six seasons, goes off the air in May. His forays into film have been a mixed bag thus far, ranging from THE LARAMIE PROJECT to THE SKULLS. To his credit, those won’t be found in the same aisle at Blockbuster. For a guy who started out starring in a trilogy of films (THE MIGHTY DUCKS) headlined by Emilio Estevez, he’s made an effort to have a varied career at a young age even as he’s had to devote much of his career to a TV series.
His new film is THE SAFETY OF OBJECTS, based on the book by A.M. Homes. It’s an indie drama with a cast that includes Glenn Close, Patricia Clarkson, and Dermot Mulroney. Jackson is cast in the pivotal role of Paul Gold, a young man whose life ends up touching many parts of an interlocking community.
I talked to my namesake in between publicity stops in New York on one of his last breaks from filming Dawson’s Creek in Wilmington, North Carolina.
Josh Horowitz: What have you been up to in New York?
Joshua Jackson: Today’s the only day of actual work I have. I came up here on Saturday and saw my brothers and I generally try to catch a hockey game every time I’m here. It was my brother’s birthday on Sunday so we had a birthday party on Saturday night. So it’s a quick trip and then back down to Willy-wood [Wilmington].
JH: Willy-wood? Is that what we call it?
JJ: That’s what we call it. Yeah.
JH: What was the selling point for you on SAFETY OF OBJECTS? Why did you decide to do it?
JJ: Well the major selling point for me was Glenn Close. And then having Patricia Clarkson there. Initially it was, ‘hey we’ve got a small job for you to do if you wanna go up and play Glenn Close’s son.’ It’s sort of a no-brainer for young actor to be surrounded by people like that.
JH: It’s a hell of a cast. With all these names, is it frustrating for you that you only got work with a couple of them?
JJ: I only got to work with a couple but you still get the experience The on-screen stuff is great it’s also great as an actor to just experience the off-screen stuff and to watch. Personally I thought Dermot Mulroney’s performance was pretty fantastic. Such a beautiful statement on that place we all get to once in a while where it’s like how did I get here? How did I get to this point where I’m not really interested in anything I’m doing?
JH: It reminded me a lot of THE SWEET HEREAFTER. It’s that community wounded by a loss.
JJ: Yeah, by an event.
JH: For your character it had to be difficult because you’re not on-screen a lot but the whole story sort of keys off of you.
JJ: Yeah from an acting standpoint the difficulty for me was not so much telling an entire arc of a character but making the few times that he was on screen stand out.
JH: How do you do that?
JJ: Well you do that by being surrounded by good people. And by having a confident director [Rose Troche] which we had. It becomes more of an archetype than an actual character…so you’re showing his ease around his mother and sister and you do that in sort of humanizing the few moments he has. I guess it makes the character a little broader. You’re forcing the acting a little bit but I think that’s how you make characters like that stick out.
JH: I know you just directed an episode of DAWSON’S CREEK. How’d that go? Was that your first one?
JJ: It was my first one and this is self-aggrandizing but I think it went really, really well. I guess I couldn’t tell you the other, “well it turns out I suck.”
JH: Stick to the acting, right?
JJ: Right. I’m not quitting my day job, which is the truth. I mean acting is still my first love. It’s sort of an odd episode. It’s sort of a one-off comedy episode.
JH: So are there a lot of soft focus moments for Pacey in this episode?
JJ: (laughs) Yeah exactly. I have the Elizabeth Taylor lighting going on. Just random close-ups of myself for no apparent reason. And now we cut to Pacey having an emotional moment.
JH: So is your directing style more of David Fincher or Spike Lee?
JJ: (big laugh) Oh god, you’re not going to trap me into one of those questions. That seems like such an innocuous question but then you’ll catch an actor who’s like “I feel like I’m two parts Gandhi, and one part Jesus and Napoleon thrown in.
JH: The show is obviously ending this year. What are going to miss most about Wilmington?
JJ: The thing I’ll miss most is just the camaraderie on set. I have friends on other shows and generally the crews have a high rate of turnover. Guys are there for six or eight months and even cast-wise most television shows casts don’t really spend any time together because LA’s a big city whereas we have a really strong unit of about 80 people who are with each other every single day for six years for better or for worse.
JH: For the finale in May, is this going to be one of those endings where they film six different versions, one with Pacey ending up with someone different in every scenario?
JJ: Right, it’s like a choose-your-own-adventure and the audience gets to call in after the first hour. For Pacey, dial 87! For Dawson dial 88! That would be great. I don’t think that would actually be a bad thing. In the era of the Internet, leave it up to the audience.
JH: If you were to write the finale, how would it all end up?
JJ: It would probably be a bit anti-climactic if I was to end it. I’m of the opinion that life doesn’t always tie up neatly at the end of the episode. Plus I’m tired of crying at work.
JH: Any wacky spin-off plans? Pacey the Vampire Slayer?
JJ: Yeah, PACEY’S PUDDLES next year on the WB. It would be kind of funny if Pacey did the school tour and showed up in every single other show. Like kind of like a WHERE’S WALDO. Maybe that’s what I’ll do next year for work. It would be like evil Pacey on Superman [SMALLVILLE]. I’ll be the cancer victim on GILMORE GIRLS. It’s brilliant. I’m brilliant!
JH: It’s a good plan B to have at least.
JJ: (laughs) Maybe it’s only my sense of humor but I think it’d be hilarious for Pacey to show up for absolutely no reason on every other show on the WB.
JH: When it comes time for the reunion, who’s going to be the one who doesn’t show up? The Brady kid that missed the special?
JH: Will it be you?
JJ: Yeah, I’m the asshole. I’m your huckleberry. I’ll just be out of work and bald so I’ll have nothing else to do.
JH: Tell me about the film you just shot, I LOVE YOUR WORK.
JJ: It was the first time in my life I was one of the cool kids. I mean it’s a very cool cast.
JH: Yeah, you’ve got Vince Vaughn, Christina Ricci, Giovanni Ribisi.
JJ: It’s nice to go to work with a girl named Shalom [Harlow].
JH: This is a black comedy about stalking? How does that work exactly?
JJ: Well, towards the end it becomes more black and less of a comedy. It’s about an acting couple who are just slightly past their prime. Giovanni’s character is feeling like he’s lost contact with whatever it was that made him great. He meets this couple played by myself and Marisa Coughlan and he starts to insert himself into their life. He starts to replace me with himself thinking that it will revitalize him and connect him to something pure.
JH: Sounds like SINGLE WHITE FEMALE gone Hollywood.
JJ: Yeah, SINGLE WHITE PLAYER.
JH: So what’s next for you? DAWSON’s is ending. You’ve done some independent stuff with LARAMIE and SAFETY OF OBJECTS. Are you going to sell out now and do a Mummy film?
JJ: Yeah, I’m going to start hitting the gym and do a bicep movie.
JH: You and Vin Diesel could be a great action duo.
JJ: (laughs) QUADRUPLE X this Fall!
JH: It looks like OCEAN’S 12 is going to happen. Are you ready to sign up for another card game with Clooney and Pitt?
JJ: I tell ya, the easiest 14 hour day of my life was shooting those two scenes in OCEAN’S 11. Only an absolute idiot would turn down the opportunity to work with Steven Soderbergh. If they need another cameo, I’m their huckleberry.
JH: Of course the million dollar question is…what would it take for you to do D4: THE MIGHTY DUCKS ARE BACK?
JJ: (laughs) About ten years of unemployment.