Joshua Jackson is an honest man. Whose career would he like? “George Clooney or Tom Hanks,” the actor said. “So basically I am setting myself up for disappointment.” How good a poker player is he? “As a prideful man,” he said, recalling his brief scene stealing turn in ‘Ocean’s 11,” I would say I have gotten a little better than dealing to the right.” Does he believe in the central concept of his new horror film, “Shutter,” that there are ghosts among us? “No, it’s tough for me to believe in that,” he insisted.
Jackson pulls no punches. See what he has to say about “Shutter,” the horror genre, and even what he calls Steven Spielberg below.
MTV: Explain to me the set-up for “Shutter.”
Joshua Jackson: The film is a remake of a Thai horror film that starts out as a psychological thriller and is the story of two Americans who have to go to Tokyo. Right at the top she starts having what seem to be sort of psychological breaks - she starts feeling like she’s being watched.
MTV: Let’s talk turkey, she starts seeing ghosts. Is this something you believe in?
Jackson: No, it’s tough for me to believe in that. It is not at all hard for me to believe that there are things beyond my perception and understanding happening around me all the time, so while personally I’m skeptical of it, I don’t rule out the possibility of it. I’m not nearly smart enough to say yes or no.
MTV: So you’re not the guy who’s going to tell me about your attic being haunted –
Jackson: [laughs] No, I am not that guy. But it’s hard for me. When stuff like that happens, given the way I think about things, I go, ‘What is going on in my brain that is manifesting this feeling?’ But there is no way for me to prove that it is more in my head or out of my head.
MTV: Does that skepticism manifest itself in the tone of the film?
Jackson: Well, no, it is certainly more in keeping with the tone of the Japanese horror genre. That said, though, what’s odd is that the original is a Thai film, so if you watch the Thai movie, there is sort of a different sensibility from Thailand to Japan - so in remaking this film with Japanese filmmakers, it sort of shifts the tone more into that sort of Japanese way of telling these stories.
MTV: Did you grow up watching horror movies? Do you have a favorite?
Jackson: There are so many different sub-genres within horror you know, so I would say I have several favorites. The things that really scared me to death when I was a kid, the first one that I remember not sleeping through the night, was watching the first ‘Friday the 13th.’ ‘Aliens.’ When I watched ‘Aliens’ on video I don’t think slept right for weeks afterwards.
Or cheesy ones. I am sure the people who made this movie would not like to hear me call it cheesy, but do you remember the movie ‘Arachnophobia?’ I actually sat in the balcony, I probably saw that movie eight or nine times. At a certain point we thought it would be great fun to buy a bunch of those little plastic spiders, we sat in the balcony of the theater in Vancouver, and we were chucking the little spiders down into the people below us. And that is the type of kid I was by the way.
MTV: You don’t have to worry about calling ‘Arachnophobia’ cheesy by the way. The no-names who were behind that were just Frank Marshall and Steven Spielberg.
Jackson: [laughs] Well, I’ll say that frankly [cheese] is fun to perform because I love telling little stories, human stories, but every once in a while it is nice to play something that is frankly absurd. It would be nice to do ‘Jurassic Park.’ You’re being chased by giant dinosaurs, and you know, that’s the fun of our job, we get to make believe. I get to still be a five year old pretending I am a cowboy.
MTV: Would that be your dream project - dinosaurs? Do you have a dream project?
Jackson: I’d hate to have one particular dream role because what would you do after? There are certainly careers that I look at and think god I would love to [have that] - Paul Newman, George Clooney, and Tom Hanks. So basically I am setting myself up for disappointment. I mean, really - let’s be honest.
MTV: Hey, Hanks and Clooney both got big breaks on TV.
Jackson: Yeah, maybe that’s why they are on my list.
MTV: If you’re going to be Clooney, though, you have to get better at poker. He made a fool of you in ‘Ocean’s Eleven.’ Have you gotten better?
Jackson: [laughs] Now if I was a good poker player I would tell you no, just in case we’re ever playing together. Then I could take your money. But as a prideful man, I would say I have gotten a little better than dealing to the right.