J-14 got to chat with The Twilight Saga star Jackson Rathbone about his new movie The Last Airbender. In the flick, Jackson plays Sokka, a 15-year-old warrior from the Southern Water Tribe and big brother to Katara, played by Nicola Peltz. Unlike his little sister who can bend water, he has no ability to bend an element. The Last Airbender comes out tomorrow, July 1!
J-14: Tell us about your character Sokka.
Jackson: Sokka is a young warrior from the Southern Water Tribe. He goes along with his younger sister who is the last Waterbender in the Southern Water Tribe. They shuffle across this mysterious voyage in the ice and discover that he is the last Avatar, which means he can manipulate all of the other ones. So they go on a quest to save the world. The Last Airbender is actually based off the Nickelodeon cartoon, Avatar: The Last Airbender.
J-14: Was it hard turning a cartoon character into a real person?
Jackson: There was a certain amount of difficulty. In the TV show, my character is very over-the-top and comedic at times but also very grounded and young. If I tried to go over-the-top, comedic, and cartoony in a live action movie, it would end up looking like a Jim Carey movie! We did a couple things that's definitely light-hearted. But for the most part, it's a grounded performance.
J-14: Did you have to train in martial arts do any kind of prep work?
Jackson: Yes -- I trained in Kung Fu for two months before we went up to Greenland, and I kept training during the shoot. I did have a stunt double named Holland, who is a cool guy. But I never had to use him for any of my fight scenes that you see me in -- they're all me. A couple times the guy I'm fighting is actually my stunt double. He's in a mask so you can't see his face. He's part of the Fire nation and I'm fighting him. It was pretty cool.
J-14: Did the fighting you learned for Airbender help you in Eclipse?
Jackson: I did Airbender before Eclipse. That was really handy because by the time we filmed Eclipse, I had lots of Kung Fu training behind me. I was able to keep going with movie stunts that I had already been exposed to. I had done a lot of movie stunts so it was very serendipitous.
J-14: If you could bend something as your character, what element would you bend?
Jackson: I would have to stick to the family and bend water. It's a very important part of the world. My character can bend a spoon but he doesn't have any real super powers.
Are you going to see The Last Airbender?
Photo: Courtesy of Paramount