Twilight's Jackson Rathbone--Jasper Hale--teases New Moon

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Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

Jackson Rathbone, who plays vampire Jasper Hale in The Twilight Saga: New Moon, told reporters that he and the cast of the upcoming sequel are feeling the weight of the franchise's popularity more. Oh, and he really does get hurled into a piano.

"We have a bigger budget, and we have a little bit more pressure to keep that [indie] feeling going," Rathbone said in a group interview Tuesday in Philadelphia. "But the nice thing is that we are delving more into the story now of New Moon. But I will say that Twilight is my favorite, because it takes you into this realm, from reality into this fantasy reality, and it makes that fantasy more real. As the films progress, you get deeper into the mythical world that we are establishing, with the werewolves and what the actual vampire society and legacy is with the Volturi."

Rathbone talked about his Twilight experience so far and his other creative side projects. New Moon, based on the second of Stephenie Meyer's best-selling Twilight books, is aiming at a Nov. 20 release. (Possible spoilers ahead!)

How does it feel going from one film franchise to possibly another with The Last Airbender?

Rathbone: I love being busy. I'm lucky enough to be working, and I like to keep working as much as possible. The way I feel is that there's only 24 hours in a day, and I need at least 20 of them, so I only sleep four hours a night. I also have my band that I play with. Up here, whenever I'm working or when I am working on the Twilight movies, I work all day on the film and then I go and rehearse with my band all night.

What kind of music do you play?

Rathbone: It's a band, and we travel together. We're called 100 Monkeys. It's old-school rock and roll. All originals that are blues- and funk-oriented. We like to have a fun show. We aren't one of those bands that makes whiney music. We like to make music that people dance to.

There's going to be a New Moon soundtrack. Any chance your band might do a song for it?

Rathbone: Oh we'd love it, but we're not really pushing for it.

How does it feel to be part of the whole Twilight phenomenon?

Rathbone: With the first film it was one of Summit Entertainment's first films. I think it was the second film they produced, the first being Never Back Down. So it was like a bigger-budget indie film, and it felt like an indie film with the way we were making it together and the way that Catherine Hardwicke directs. It was a fun vibe that was onset. But it was a little bit stressful, because as we kept filming, the press kept getting more of it and the fans were more into it. All these Web sites started popping up, like Twilight Moms. It was amazing.

We started making this movie, and people are already loving it and it's not even out yet. It had six months to come out, and they were already lining up at the movie theaters. It was an experience in and of itself that I've got to say I wasn't really prepared for, but I am thankful for, because they are so supportive of what we do. As an actor, you need an audience. I've done Shakespeare in Texas to an audience of three people. When everybody onstage outnumbers everybody in the audience a lot, ... so it's great to have a big audience to play to.

How did it feel going back to shoot the sequel with new director Chris Weitz?

Rathbone: It's funny. When we got back to film New Moon, the first day, the whole cast was hanging out in Peter Facinelli's room. It was like a family reunion. It was like we had been away a month. It didn't seem like a year. It was nice to get back together and have that family environment.

In regards to having a new director, nothing changed too much. There was a different, subtle vibe because the director creates the energy on the set, and he was great. We all wanted to come together and make another great piece of art for the fans. It's about what they want to see, because they are the ones buying the tickets. ...

Have you gotten a lot of feedback about the recent New Moon trailer?

Rathbone: It's been lovely. For the band, we did a CD signing session, and a lot of people came up and would mention they saw the trailer. I get a lot of fan mail, which is really sweet, and a lot of it has been talking about [the] trailer and how cool it is and how excited they are. When the trailer drops, it has a whole lot more reality behind it. The fans are able to say it is coming out!

It looks like Jasper is getting some action when he's thrown into a piano.

Rathbone: Yup, I was flying and got to do some stunts on that, and that's only the beginning of it. They didn't show the entire [scene]. It's going to be a really action-packed movie. And then you have the other side of the love story. It has a lot of elements that I think the fans have been waiting to sink their teeth into. ... I'm sorry. I had to use that pun. It's terrible [laughs].