One day you are a raw, upcoming stand-up comedian making a name for
himself in the clubs. A few years later, people think you may
have goat legs.
Show biz can be a crazy gig.
Brandon T. Jackson wouldn't have it any other way.
Though he wasn't looking to get into the movies, the movies came to
him. He was only 19 years old when he was cast in a standout
part in the drama Roll Bounce. Jackson never looked
back, putting together a quirky body of work which has included
starring opposite of Martin Lawrence in Big Momma: Like Father
Like Son, outshining his high-wattage co-stars in the all-star
action comedy Tropic Thunder and laying rubber in the
original The Fast and the Furious.
However, Jackson may be best known for his role in the two Percy
Jackson (no relation) movies – and this is where the goat legs
come in. Based upon the popular young adult book series about
the children of Greek Gods, Jackson plays Grover – the title
character's best friend and protector. In keeping with the
mythological bent of the series, Grover is a magical creature, a
satyr, with the body of a man and the hindquarters of a goat.
The first Percy Jackson film – Percy Jackson and the Olympians:
The Lightning Thief – was released in 2010 and became an
international success. The follow-up title – Percy Jackson:
Sea of Monsters – was released earlier this year and is just
reaching video and pay-per-view.
In the meantime, Jackson is returning to his first love: putting the
finishing touches on his first comedy special.
The day before Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters had its video
release, we caught up with Jackson to discuss the role and his
You got started
in stand-up comedy. How did you decide to make the jump to acting?
You know what? It kind of decided for me. (chuckles)
I did stand-up and I got an agent. They sent me out on auditions.
My second audition I went out [for] was a Fox movie. It was called
Roll Bounce. I was 19 at the time and they just chose me.
(laughs) I've learned at this point that anything I do is
out of my hands. I've just got to go with it.
Were you familiar
books before taking the role of Grover?
No, I wasn't. When I got the movie, I read all the books.
Well, actually, I read four of them, to be honest. I didn't read
all seven. I read four because I thought we were going to shoot the
movies back-to-back. I just hurried up and read three and when I
was shooting I read the fourth. That's when I found out about the
books. They were cool.
How weird is it
to see yourself onscreen with goat legs?
Honestly, I'm used to it now. The first time, I'm like:
What? It's just funny, because even my friends they'll take
their kids to see it and be like: "Where's your goat legs at?" I'm
like: Dude, chill out. I don't have no goat legs. It's not real.
It's funny, parents, when they see me, they're like: "Look, see I
told you. He has real legs!" I'm like, yes, I do. Not to mention,
my real legs are hairy, so you get them mixed up with the goat
are mythical creatures, so it's not like you can go out and ride
around with one to see what they are like. How much did you have to
look into the mythology of satyrs when preparing for your role and
how much did you just bring from your imagination?
I looked at a lot of Greek pictures. They were always
having fun. Playing the flute. Hanging with girls. Playing
music. Then I looked at Prince. Prince reminds me of a satyr.
I think Prince could be one in real life. I think
he's a mythical creature. I swear, I do, I don't know why. He just
reminds me [of it.] But they always play music and laugh and I
said, okay, this character has a very sweet spirit. Kind of fun. I
just took on that with the character. Even though this [film] was
kind of serious – Part 1 was more fun and crazy – this one was more
like... they stuck to the quest and there wasn't a lot of joking
around. It was one of those situations where I had to make pictures
in my mind and put it all together.
Like you said,
this film is more serious, but even so Grover is there for comic
relief more than pretty much anyone else. Is it fun to know that
your character is going to get some of the best lines in the film?
Yeah. Honestly, yes. I do like the fact that when you do
have all this action, if you can do action and comedy together,
that's kind of cool. It's always fun.
Alexandra [Daddario] a couple of years ago. What are she and Logan
[Lerman] like to work with?
They're cool man. Everybody is like a family. Everyone's
cool. We go out to eat. We hang out. Everyone is busy, too, so
we're always encouraging each other to keep working, you know what I
There were some
new actors in the sequel: Nathan Fillion, Anthony Head, Douglas
Smith and Stanley Tucci. How did they fit in with the cast who had
worked before and what did they add to the film?
Oh, Stanley Tucci was amazing. Very funny. Very, very,
very funny. He did like 15 different takes of the same thing, but
all of them were different. We were trying not to laugh. It was
really cool. It was really, really cool. He's one of those actors
that you just watch while you're in the scene with him. You end up
watching him. He's really very talented.
So much of your
role is dealing with CGI threats, like the Cyclops in this film or
the hydra in
Thief. Is it difficult to get into the mindset of fighting
something that isn't actually physically there?
No, it's actually pretty easy. When I was a kid, with my
brothers we would play
Ghostbusters and dumb stuff. There
would be nothing there and we would just act like it was. I kept
that same mindset when I was acting. They would say there was
something there and you have to act like there is. It's in your
mind. If you've got any imagination, then I guess you leave it up
to the actors to make it up for themselves so that it can read onto
To a certain
extent, being a protector is a bit of a tough gig – sort of like
being a secret service agent – you have to sacrifice your wants and
needs and even your life potentially to make sure that Percy is
safe. Do you think you would ever take the gig in real life?
I would never compare acting to the secret service. But
you do give up a part of your life. If there was something you
love, then yeah, definitely I would do it. For the betterment of
people and things? Definitely. Definitely.
books are so popular and there are lots of them. Any word on a
third movie yet?
There's not. I mean, not that I know of. (laughs)
But you know how it is, they are probably working on the script
secretly right now without telling us.
Grover will get a
spin-off where he can just hang with the daughters of Aphrodite?
Yes. That would be a movie. I would love it.
What is harder
to act against – a cyclops or Martin Lawrence in a dress?
Both of them are funny, man.
Very funny. When I saw Adam Sandler do it, I knew everyone is doing
the shtick. It's kind of funny. I can't really say. I think they
are both hilarious. One's a CGI character and one's a regular guy.
So when you were
young, what comedians inspired you to give stand-up a try?
Eddie. Always Eddie Murphy. I was always a [Richard] Pryor
and [George] Carlin fan. That's it, really. Mitch Hedberg, of
course. I was always a Mitch Hedberg fan. But who really inspired
me was like Eddie, Richard, Chris Rock and George Carlin were the
Eddie, any word on what is happening with the
Beverly Hills Cop series? I believe you filmed the
pilot episode, any word on a pick-up yet?
The series didn't go. For political reasons, but I maybe
can't get into that so much. They are doing a film. I know the
script just got done. I don't know what's going on. I just know
that Brett Ratner signed on as director and Jerry Bruckheimer is
going to produce it.
Oh, okay, so
you're going to do it as a film...
Well, I think I'm going to do it as a film. I don't know
what's going on. I haven't heard any word yet, so I'm just waiting
to see which direction they are going in. Either way, I'll be
supportive of Eddie Murphy. I think he's a great talent.
I also read you
have a movie called
Midnight that just came out. What was that about?
No. No. No. That's not a movie that I'm in. I'm not in
You're not? Oh,
I'm sorry, it said online that you were...
No, no, no, it's not your fault. It's a stalker I have.
This is a true story. This guy went to high school with me and he's
been trying to do films for a long time. Literally he filmed the
movie when we were in high school. I guess as a movie he finally
got it done and he said I was in it for some reason, because we went
to high school [together]. Yeah, it's the weirdest thing. They
won't take it off IMDB at all. And they say I'm in
The Smurfs 2. I don't know, the references, I don't get
why [they would do that.] I can't understand it and you can't
take them off either, so... I don't know. You can put anything
on the internet.
acting are such different art forms, but how do you feel that your
stage experience has helped you as an actor?
Right now, I'm about to come out with my first comedy
special. It's going to help me a little bit more because I think
it's... well, I can't say it's hot, because people haven't heard it
yet, but I'm working on the hottest album I can do. I know that's
so vague to say, but it's true to me. It's true to who I am.
You've also done
a bit of music in the past. Is that something you'd like to explore
No, not really. If I would, it would be for fun. I get
too serious and I'll end up being a rapper for [a long time]. It
would be for fun. I don't know, music is a love of mine that I
really can't obtain the way [I would like]. I love music, but I
don't have an understanding for it like I do comedy. I understand
comedy to the fullest. And acting. I understand both arts. When I
read a script, I see the movie like I'm in it. I see it. It pops
off the page. I'm really in it. I listen to music and it's just
kind of a love that I have, but I don't know the science of it like
I should know it if I was very passionate about it.
What would people
be surprised to know about you?
Ooh, that's a good question. I don't think people know how
raw I am as an individual. What I mean by that is I think my image
as the character I play is totally different from who I am in real
life. When people see who I am in real life, they're like: "Who's
this guy?" And I'm definitely a relationship-type dude. I'm like
that. I'm a real, real romantic at heart with a girlfriend. People
don't know that I'm kind of a sucker for love.
What kind of
things make you nostalgic?
Hmm, they're good questions. Smells. The air. If I go to
New York, the city makes me nostalgic.
How would you
like for people to see your career?
Greatness. Greatness. I hope I can put forward the work
that greatness can come out. You've got to put forward the work.
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