Joshua Jackson is a cool guy. He’s remembered best from “Dawson’s Creek” though you can’t blame him for wanting to move on a bit as the show wrapped in 2003. He also appeared in The Skulls and Cruel Intentions and this Thanksgiving he’s featured in the amazing ensemble piece about Robert F. Kennedy entitled Bobby. As the movie revolves around the subject we talked a ton about politics so if you like your actors without views you may want to sit this one out. Otherwise, plunge on!
Bobby was written and directed by Emilio Estevez (seriously). I had to ask about this but Joshua was quick to point out that Emilio already had a solid movie under his director’s belt before Bobby called The War at Home but he’d been screwed over on the promotion of it. “Emilio did Mighty Ducks 3 for free so that Disney would finance the The War at Home and then they buried it. I think it kind of broke his heart. So, no, I wasn’t shocked that he was a good director, I was shocked at what a good writer he was. I consider a really good writer someone who could capture three or four voices and he’s doing 22 here.”
I mentioned that Bobby reminded me a lot of Magnolia in how effective it was at juggling screen time with so many characters. “I haven’t thought about it in terms of Magnolia but if you were to show me a cast list like this I would have said there would have been too many huge personalities to work. You have Bill Macy, Sharon Stone, Anthony Hopkins, Demi Moore, it’s ludicrous. I did a radio interview this morning where they asked me to give them a cast list and I had to tell them that would be the whole interview. That’s another testament to Emilio. He very deftly gets everyone to fit into the movie. It ain’t easy. And he also has enough confidence in himself not to tart it up. He stands away from it and allows the world to unfold.”
So how did Jackson get involved in this project in the first place? “It was two stages. I first read the script in 2000 when it was finished. For a variety of reasons it didn’t get made then. Thankfully it came back around after Anthony Hopkins got involved, his involvement made the movie real. Then I went in and auditioned for a part I’d grown old enough for. They had already hired Nick Cannon which helped me. I’d originally been looked at for the Shia Labeouf or the Elijah Wood character. And when I was 20 playing an angst ridden lovestruck character didn’t appeal to me for obvious reasons as I was doing that for a living. But the idea of playing an idealistic politically driven young man did appeal to me.” Having seen the movie I can tell you Joshua comes off really well in this role, his long march away from “angst ridden” may finally have some steam.
And then we dove into the political pool. The difference between Robert F. Kennedy and the politicians of today couldn’t be more clear to anyone really watching Bobby. I mentioned how personally inspiring a few of the speeches were and Josh was quick to pick up on the vibe. “One of the things that was so inspiring about his speeches was that they asked something of you as an audience. It wasn’t just what you wanted to hear. It doesn’t divide you into your tiny little group. We’re in a bad time for American idealism but RFK speaks to the fact that when one person is subjugated we all are subjugated. America is only as noble as it treats its weakest members and those shouldn’t be ideals that end at our borders. We used to agree that American ideals were a beacon of hope for the world that would extend universally. That’s why I’m so disgusted by this Republican talking point of ‘well they (the Democrats) would like to extend American freedoms to terrorists.’ Well yeah, that’s the whole fucking point. What’s surprising is how little the leaders of this country seem to believe in the ideals that founded the country. The right is like if you don’t like my ideas then you’re a fucking idiot. Really it comes from the top down. These guys need to take their thumbs out of their asses and think about how to better this country. The answer can’t possibly be to become more entrenched in your own ideas.” You’ve got to admit, Joshua is starting to sound a little bit inspiring himself isnt’ he?
We then moved from how America treats those outside it’s borders to how we treat our own. We chatted a bit about the trillion dollar defense expenditures in a time where American poverty was at an all time high. “The Republican talking point is that if you’re homeless you’ve done something wrong. There’s a deep and shocking lack of compassion in that. I mean shit happens, you know? Say you throw out your back, you get a few months of insurance and a year of workman’s comp, and then if you’re a manual laborer that can’t get back to work you’re fucked. And minimum wage is a joke. Congress has had like seven raises in the time the minimum wage has stayed the same. And even if they did raise it it’s nothing. There’s no way for a human to make it. Sixteen thousand dollars a year is the poverty line in this country but you tell me what family can live off that.”
I had to get into the big story that came from the set, Ms. Lindsay Lohan’s problem with punctuality and William H. Macy getting pissed about it. Josh wasn’t on set that day but he pointed out that Bill Macy wouldn’t spout B.S. He did come to Lohan’s defense a bit though. “A part of me just sees my little sister when I see her. My sympathy wanes the older they get but I remember back to when I was 19 and 20 and I had the good fortune to do this stuff out of the public eye. I mean I had a job and I showed up on time but at the same time if you caught me on a Saturday night I was being a typical 19 year-old.”
But really, who the hell wants to talk about Lindsay not being on time? Having never found an actor as honest as Joshua I asked what he thought of the Patriot Act. “I’m offended and terrified that our congress rolled over and granted our president the powers of a king. They suspended the writ of habeas corpus. The rest of the world at least used to think we believed in our own ideals, but that’s no longer the case. It will be many years before any American officials can be trusted again. That to me is damage to the American reputation.”
The good news is Bobby. It has a chance to wake a lot of people up to how our politicians should treat us, and what an American leader looks like. Josh was effusive in his praise, and he left me with this pitch for you readers, “Regardless of where you stand on American politics I think we can all agree they’re slimey on some level. What this movie can do is remind the people that were alive at the time of their youthful ideals. And for our generation it shows a time where politics were hopeful and transformative. This isn’t partisan. Bobby Kennedy always made his message about hope.”
Honestly you should see this movie, trust me. It’s one of the better political films I’ve ever seen, it’s one of the best profiles of a leader I’ve ever seen. Maybe we can all get a little hope back this Turkey day, eh?
Check out the rest of Joshua Jackson’s work on RopeofSilicon by clicking here.