Exclusive Interview with Jackson Rathbone

Exclusive Interview with Jackson Rathbone
The actor explains how Dread differs from Twilight.
Updated: 03-27-2010
Admittedly by Staci Layne Wilson
You'd never know it from this interview, but I have indeed read Dale Carnegie's "How To Win Friends & Influence People". Usually I'm reasonably on the ball, but once in awhile I do open-mouth-insert-foot.
Here's what happened: I got a 1:1  interview with actor Jackson Rathbone to talk about his starring role in Dread, a scary movie I liked so much I chose it as one of 2009's best. I didn't get a chance to talk with any of the stars for the theatrical release, so when Rathbone availed himself to chat about the DVD I was right there, front and center.
One thing I'd been wondering about, ever since I saw the movie at a sneak peek screening, was how embarrassing it must have been for the cast to wear those rather shabby wigs. (Hey, it was a low-budget film! I understood, but I also thought they were really obvious.) In my otherwise glowing original film review, I even wrote, "As for Rathbone, if he is not wearing a hairpiece or extensions… he should fire his stylist."
 Hair by "Emo" Philips
So naturally, my first question was about the funny wigs. Rathbone clearly didn't find it funny. "Um, no… that was my real hair," he said flatly. Ooops. Next thing you know, I'll be asking Sandra Bullock if she's pregnant. Oy.
Needless to say the interview started a little shakily and I'm sure he thought I was a complete pill, but I do hope Rathbone forgave me (maybe a little) towards the end!
Staci Layne Wilson / Horror.com: What kinds of extras and commentaries can fans expect to find on the DVD?
Jackson Rathbone: I don't know. I'm not that familiar.
SLW: Really? Lionsgate is having you do interviews on the DVD and they didn't give you one? Not even a cheat sheet?
JR: I've never cheated on anything in my life.
SLW: Sorry horror.com missed you when the movie came out, but we did catch your director, Anthony DiBlasi [pictured in article header - click to enlarge]. He was talking about how he adapted the story from Clive Barker's original prose and some of the things he did to make it more theatrical, which I found interesting. Now, had you read the story before you got started and did you get to meet Mr. Barker?
JR: I wasn't around when the film was being debuted theatrically, I had a couple of very busy years. And unfortunately, I wasn't able to meet Clive Barker. I know he was a big part of preproduction and post production, but he wasn't there for the 28 days I was shooting in England. So sadly enough I didn't get to meet Clive, the man himself. But I did read the short story, and I was just thoroughly impressed about how Anthony DiBlasi was able to expand upon the characters and just slightly change thing here and there to create a full length story to create another element to the short story that is very honest and yet still in that Clive Barker realm of psychological thriller and horror.
SLW: Even though it's not germane to the story, the filming did take place in the U.K. So did you enjoy the change of scenery?
JR: When I was a kid growing up, I went to London many times. I traveled all around the world, so I love England. I think it's an amazing place. We filmed in this little place called Egham Surrey, which is this in the middle of nowhere and is actually pretty nice because you're not distracted by the big city or going out too much, and so you're able to focus on the 14 hour days of shooting.
SLW: You have lots of fans from your work in the Twilight films… I think some of them may be surprised by your work in Dread. What would you say to fans of the horror genre about the differences between the two?
JR: I wouldn't consider Twilight a horror film, it's more a romantic action adventure film. And Dread I wouldn't consider a horror film, either. It's more a psychological thriller. And one's rated PG13 while the other one is rated R. Dread has a lot more disturbing visuals and images, so if you've got a weak stomach you may not be able to handle it. But it's still more realistic than falling in love with a vampire.
SLW: Dread focuses on just a few characters in pretty much one location — students, doing a thesis on fear — but there are a lot of arcs, so did you work this out with your costars beforehand, or did these ups and downs develop over time?
JR: When we first all met each other, we sort of had our crew improv sessions up in this kind of abandoned building that, uh, Anthony found and we ordered a bunch of pizza and beer and just did a bunch of improv in character all night. We explored our characters' relationships and just did a bunch of different scenarios that weren't necessarily in the script.
SW: One of the things that impressed me about DiBlasi being a first-time director and all, is how he got all of you to seem as though you really did know each other. Your dynamic with everyone was believable. So you had this outside bonding session; what specifically did DiBlasi do to facilitate what you guys did as a unit?
JR: He brought the beer and pizza!
...But who brought the blackbird pie?


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