DALLAS — By day, he was a Hollywood hotshot, signing autographs and posing for pictures. At night, he became a rock star, fronting 100 Monkeys for a series of sold-out shows featuring catchy music, shrieking fans and a giant dancing banana.
If there were a king of TwiCon, it would be Jackson Rathbone. In between events, we caught up with the fan favorite to discuss Twilighter Nation, trying to kill Kristen Stewart and why destroying a baby grand piano hurt so good.
MTV: Jackson, we just saw you downstairs signing autographs for a huge line of fans. Any idea how many times you've signed your name today?
Jackson Rathbone: Wow, I don't know. My hand is kind of cramped, so it's probably a few. But it's great, everybody's so sweet, and it's nice to get to see them one-on-one. You get that chance to connect with the fans. It's so sweet.
MTV: What does it mean to see thousands of people who've spent hundreds of dollars to come here and pay tribute to your work?
Rathbone: It's the most flattering thing. ... You did a bit of work, some art that you believe in and you love doing, and to have so many people respond so favorably to it — that they loved your portrayal of a character that's mythical — it's a phenomenon. To be able to have all the fans of this book saying that I brought Jasper to life for them, that's what I've always wanted to do. Whenever I was a kid in theater, that's what I strived to do. It makes me feel like I've actually accomplished something, and I've just got to thank my fans for that.
MTV: There are a lot of Twilighters downstairs looking forward to November's "New Moon." How's it looking?
Rathbone: It's gonna be crazy, man. We're going deep into the werewolf world now, and you know, there's a little attack by a certain somebody. [Smiles.]
MTV: Yeah, we saw you in the trailer, jumping at Bella.
Rathbone: You saw a little bit of it in the trailer; you didn't see the whole thing.
MTV: There's more to the birthday scene?
Rathbone: Yeah, there's a little bit more violence. It's definitely longer. It's really about the moment where Bella is realizing what kind of world she's into. We spent the entire time with "Twilight" delving into the vampire world, but now in "New Moon," it's like you're in the vampire world, and what happens when you get a paper cut? What happens when everyone you love turns around on you and suddenly could kill you? She's in that world right now, and she's kind of scared by it. She's also getting into the werewolf world, and suddenly she's got these two new worlds on her — and there's love in both. It's an amazing script.
MTV: The birthday scene is certainly a very pivotal moment in the "Twilight" universe. Kellan, Peter and others have told me they had to restrain you during takes. How method did you get?
Rathbone: Yeah, I was going pretty method. We choreographed it — so I wasn't too worried about attacking Kristen — but I told the guys to hold me back, because you want it to look real. You want it to be as real as possible, because you want that to transfer on film, and you want the audience to feel that frightened sense that I gave Kristen. I felt really bad, man. There was a couple of moments where she was like, "I thought you were going to hit me that time!" I come so close; it's pretty intense.
MTV: We also see you flying into the piano.
Rathbone: Yeah, there's a grand piano. I felt bad about that — as a music lover, you can't destroy a piano. It's gorgeous. It's begging to be played. But it looks good on film.
MTV: Did you do your own stunts?
Rathbone: It was a breakaway, actually. They wouldn't let me hit the actual piano. I did everything but the landing in the piano. I hit Edward, he knocks me back. It was funny, when we were filming, they had stunt guys following me with pads because I had to run into Edward, and then as soon as we connected, I had to jump myself back ... then they had a stunt guy crash into the breakaway piano, and then they cut to me coming up out of the piano and charging her.
Check out everything we've got on "The Twilight Saga: New Moon."
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