Italian Vanity Fair Interview (2010)

When I switch on my recorder Jackson Rathbone is already drinking his second beer and his cigarette case is almost empty. He just seems the good guy, maybe a little bit dissolute but he doesn’t share the moderate behavior of Jasper Hale, his character in Twilight. If Jasper Hale, Edward’s step-brother, has finally decided to be a vegetarian vampire like all the members of the Cullen family and he gave up to the desire of human blood, Jackson Rathbone has no intention to give up drinking or to smoke tobacco, or living a casual life.

It’s hard to say if this is a mask for this young American actor who defines himself an artist because he plays in a band called 100 Monkeys, he loves photography, he paints and he even writes his songs, or if he is really like that. Maybe his being an artist is related to how he lived his childhood: he’s the son of a Texas engineer and he was born in Singapore , he grew up between Indonesia, California, Norway(where he lived for four years) and Texas.

But at the end we didn’t talk a lot about the saga which is going to be released on June 30th, even if in Eclipse his character has a more important role. Jasper is going  to lead the fight against an army of newborn and really dangerous vampires.

And he’s the only one who could do it because in 1863 he became a vampire during the American Civil War to train and kill newborn vampires .

Let’s talk about Twilight. Edward is falling in love with Bella. But he’s a vampire and being with her means killing her. Between hurting the woman you love and stay with her or lose her forever, what do you choose?
I’d kill her. No I don’t, I’d kill myself. Seriously, I don’t know. Life is complicated and I’m still trying to understand love.

What is the first definition of love?
It’s like whiskey: it warms up you on the inside, it burns your lips. You wish to take more and more but if you overdo you feel sick.

Trying to be more matter-of-fact, you don’t dislike drinking do you?
I love whiskey. Some time ago, me and another band mate did a drinking game. At every glass, a different whiskey. But I don’t dislike tequila too.

For someone like you, the hyper health fanatic Los Angeles isn’t a good place to live in.
I hope to come back to Texas in three or four years. I love open spaces, starry sky and the people. People are direct and open. You do what you want except when you hurt others. And about smoking, it’s wrong that the state forbids it by law. Every club has to be free to decide what to do.

How is your life outside the set?
I live sometime here and sometimes there. I haven’t had my own apartment in years. I prefer to stay in hotels, but sometimes I sleep on a couch at my friend’s house, in the car or on the ground. As an artist I like living an uncomfortable life, like I’m in another place. I prefer to know what happens around me than thinking about myself.

I read that you don’t go anywhere without your guitar. Where is it now?
It’s in the car, but I have this (puts out his mouth-organ and plays). Otherwise I play music with my hand. If I see a piano, I must play it. It’s a disease.

Since when do you have this sort of disease?
Since when I was 14. I had a part in a musical where, in addition to singing, I had to play guitar.

What do you talk about in your songs?
I talk about death, the devil, drinking and women who cheat or “stole” another man: This is a my ex-girlfriend’s habit.

Speaking of girls, why does everybody love vampires
I think because people are charmed by the idea of immortality related with the need of a purpose in our life. I mean that you need to know there’s an end to have a goal and only in that case you’ll know if you’ll have reached your goal. You don’t live completely until you are dead, so there’s a question: If you can live forever, what do you want to live for?

And you what do you live for?
I live for art. I love entertaining people, making them smile and think. I love to know that a little piece of what they see, read or what they listen to is something that they can think about or see the world in a different way. Art is never-ending and I’d like to leave something that survives me when I’ll die.

And your favorite movie is Casablanca.
It’s a masterpiece. It talks about love and war. But, at the end of the day, it talks about a man who managing a bar and he must choose what is important in his life. It’s crazy to think that, when they shot it, there wasn’t a screenplay. They wrote it while they shot.

An impossible thing today in Hollywood.
Imagine that. They’d have a lot of fear.

You’re writing screenplays.
I have already produced my first movie, Girlfriend and the next year I’d like to start a new story written by me. It’s easy to compose songs, but with a screenplay everything is more difficult. I lose myself easily and I have a lot of trouble keeping my ideas together.

But you haven’t had a lot of trouble doing many things together. I read you even paint.
It’s not really like that. I take photos black and white with an old camera which belonged to my grandfather and then I paint above. Even if my father is an engineer and my mother is a dentist, my parents have an artistic sensibility. One of my sisters is a sculptress and another paints. My little sister loves music and dancing. She’d like to be a dancer.

When you were little you lived around the world. You were forced to leave your friends and your school mates.
When I was little I didn’t have many friends just because we moved a lot. From then on I used to spend my time with people that I didn’t see again: I meet you, we stay well together and then we go our own way. I’m just like this. I always go on.

Do you go on with success? You look like a free spirit. How do you adapt your lifestyle to the Hollywood lifestyle with bodyguards who have to defend you from paparazzi and fans.
Think about The Beatles. At one point they stopped doing live concerts because girls screamed so loud that they couldn’t listen to the music anymore. They stopped live concerts but they continued to compose music and make albums. They found a solution. I’ll do the same. If I can’t go to go shopping because of fans, I’ll go shopping online. At the end of the day I’m an easy-doing guy.

You said that your courtship is from the South. What do you mean?
My parents taught me to be a gentleman. I open the door, She goes in front of me. And I’m overprotective.

Do you have a girlfriend?
I had a girl for a couple of months but my agenda became hell. At the end of the day it’s very hard to have a relationship with my lifestyle but I look around. Because sooner or later I’d like to accommodate. I’d like to have a house, a wife, a dog and a son, a little version of me. Yes, one day I’ll do it.

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