Is it intimidating playing a character that’s already loved by so many people?
It is intimidating. It also adds a lot of fun to it. There’s so much out there that fans have done with fan fiction, a lot of their abilities with photoshop. It’s incredible the amount of stuff they’ve put out there. For me, and I know a lot of the other castmates as well have read up on our characters and have read these fan fiction pieces. Pretty much everything they feel about these characters we feel about them now as well. I really appreciate it.
What do you like best about playing Jasper?
Jasper is very conservative in a lot of ways, in terms of how he projects himself around humans, because he’s not comfortable around humans yet. It’s a lot of fun to play someone on the verge of breaking because you have to hold back and it’s interesting because there’s always something going on with Jasper. He’s trying to become a good vampire. He’s at a place where most of the other vampires, in terms of the Cullen family, have already gone through it and he’s kind of that weird missing link between James and Dr. Cullen, I feel.
What was it like when you first met the rest of the cast?
It was great. I happened to have already known Kellan for some time. Kellan and I are good friends. Ashley is just one of the easiest girls to get along with – sweetest person in the world. Miss Nikki Reed is probably one of my favorite people. I’ve been playing a lot of music with her. The girl’s got an incredible raw ability to write songs. We started writing some music together back at the hotel and since then she’s kept it up and we did a little recording session back in LA. Peter Facinelli is Dr. Cullen. He’s the most compassionate guy. He took Nikki and I out for Indian food once. I had never eaten Indian food and I had no idea what to order so he helped us out. He’s a great guy. Elizabeth Reaser as Esme is also an incredibly sweet girl. She was so sweet to us. We had a family unit. Everybody kind of played a part. We’re all extremely different, but that’s kind of how all families are, but we all come together. Rob and I have been playing a lot of music together, with Kristen as well. Kristen also plays the guitar. It was a very musical cast. We were always hanging out and playing. Good times!
How would you describe your own music?
Oh, eclectic – very! It depends on which band you’re talking about. (Laughs) There’s my solo work which is all rhythms basically, blues or Southern rock, or funky blues I’d say. I mainly play guitar or harmonica and then I’ll add a little banjo, mandolin or yukelele. I play a lot of folk instruments. And then with my band it’s called 100 Monkeys and it’s all improvised music. It’s one hundred percent one take, one track, no redos, just jamming and singing and making it up as we go. It’s my roommate and I and we’re both actors and musicians and songwriters so we’ve always done a lot of improv so we took a little bit of the theatrical improv and rock ‘n roll and put it together.
Do you ever find the acting roles you have influence the songs you write?
Oh definitely. It’s nice to being able to go out on location and be in a different city, in a different environment and with different people and that really influences how I wrote. With Twilight I was playing a very visceral, angry, kinda silent character so I was writing much more music during that time than I was lyrically, but I pumped out probably a good 12 songs while I was in Portland.
How did you discover the rest of the costars were into music?
Well, I never go anywhere without bringing my guitar. I suppose I project that I’m a musician because I’m walking around with my guitar at all times. A couple of the other cast members would say, “Oh, you play guitar? I play guitar!” I’d just kind of hand off the guitar to Rob and he’d show me some of the stuff he’s playing and working on and writing and Kristen is a pretty phenomenal guitarist. She played in the movie Into the Wild so I actually knew she was a musician before. With Nikki she kind of discovered she was a songwriter. She was pretty modest when she talked about music. She said she’s just been dabbling in songwriting and learning to play the guitar. Oh yeah, she’s learning to play the guitar and she started a lot of songwriting in Portland. We worked on some stuff together and she’s just so fantastic to work with. She’s sweet and she knows what she wants and she has a really great take on the way music and lyrics and the vocals and melodies follow one another. I think musicians kind of sniff each other out real quick.
Are there any quirks you can reveal about any of the cast?
We’re all very outgoing. We’re all quirky in different ways. Like Kellan, for instance, he’s this big jock looking guy but if you sit down and talk to the guy for more than five minutes you understand that the guy has a lot more going on inside his head. He’s a real smart kid. He kept talking a lot about haiku books and old Japanese haiku artists. I suppose would be the appropriate terminology. We’ve all got a lot of different things going on in terms of not just being actors.
Since Twilight is a guilty pleasure for so many people, what’s your personal guilty pleasure?
Bad television – any kind of reality show, I guess. I don’t have cable or even basic cable hooked up in my house because if there’s any sort of television, I will watch it.
It seems like you really keep yourself busy – between the Twilight saga and a lot of indie movies!
It’s the only thing I know how to do. If I’m not busy I’m bored and I can’t stand being bored. If I’m not acting I’m playing music. If I’m not playing music then I’m acting. And if I’m not doing either then, whew, I’m probably dead! That would be a bad day.