Jonathan Jackson plays The Walker in the upcoming adaptation of Susan Cooper's novel
The Seeker: The Dark is Rising is the first film to be adapted from Susan Cooper's acclaimed book series of the same name. The story follows young Will Stanton, a boy whose everyday life is turned upside down when he learns that he is the last of the "Old Ones". This group of immortal warriors has dedicated their lives to fighting the forces of evil.
As Will uncovers a series of mysterious clues, some dating back to the founding of Britain and others going all the way back to biblical times, he discovers that with the Dark once again rising, the future of the world rests in his hands.
In the film, Jonathan Jackson plays The Walker, an evil, timeless force that is after Will and the "Old Ones". We recently sat down with Jonathan to talk about his role in the film.
Here is that conversation:
Who are you playing in the film?
Jonathan Jackson: I play The Walker.
What is this that you are wearing in the film?
Jonathan Jackson: This is about half of my costume. It's kind of a neat thing that they did. Since the Walker has been wandering for a long time, he's gotten clothes from all different time periods and stuff. So this is only about maybe half or a third of the full costume.
What has been the process of aging you in this film?
Jonathan Jackson: They changed that in the movie. In the book he's old and in the movie he becomes timeless. He doesn't age, really. So he kind of goes through the whole experience and just stays as he is.
When you first show up on screen, you are basically a regular guy?
Jonathan Jackson: Yeah.
So, your character arc is different than it is in the book?
Jonathan Jackson: It is different. There are a few really significant changes, I think, from the book to the movie. The Walker basically loses his soul through his relationship with Maggie. There's a lot less tied to my onscreen with Merriman and, in the book, there's a lot of that back-story. They didn't put as much of that into the film. So it's more of an innocence and love story between the Walker and Maggie. I don't think that they actually even mention Hawken in this particular movie. I mean, they show flashbacks, but they're not specific about showing his story.
We see this character as being a very sympathetic bad guy, don't we?
Jonathan Jackson: Yes, we do. That's definitely one of the differences as well. In the book he seemed to make more choices towards the Dark even after he had other opportunities. In the movie he's definitely more of a sympathetic character. In a sense he was a victim, I guess, of love.
Where you familiar with the books before you landed this role?
Jonathan Jackson: No, I wasn't.
But you read them once you got the part?
Jonathan Jackson: Yeah, I went out and bought the entire series. I read the first two. I didn't read all five, but I did read the first two.
Is there a special connection between Will and The Walker?
Jonathan Jackson: Yeah, there is some really, really cool moments between The Walker and Will. The Walker is kind of coming from the ancient story of being used by, I guess by the light and the dark. Then Will is currently kind of in that same circumstance. The Walker and Will have a connection because they're in a similar position in terms of how each side is trying to use them.
What has it been like working with Ian McShane and Chris Eccleston?
Jonathan Jackson: The funny thing about the Walker is that he's very much on the outskirts of a lot of the scenes. He's looking in and he could've been called the Stalker as well because there is a lot of that. I don't really have a lot of really big scenes with Ian or Chris. Most of it is with Alexander and Amelia, but I mean I've been able to work with a lot of really cool people like Al Pacino and those guys. For me it's just exciting because when you work with great actors it just makes everything easier really. More so than the nerve racking aspect of it. They're so good at what they do, and that just makes it easier.
I get the sense that you are a very internal type of Actor. Is that true?
Jonathan Jackson: Every role is really different. It's kind of exploring how it's going to work. This movie has been interesting because the Walker has been on the outskirts of a lot of scenes. It's kind of been more of a partnership between me and David, the director, because it's what he's been doing with the camera and all the specific jump-cuts or slow motion things or whatever that he and I have really had to understand what each moment should be because a lot of it hasn't been the more conventional scenes between actors. so I've enjoyed working with David on that end. I guess you could say that though, that it starts from the inside out.
What did you read first? The script or the book?
Jonathan Jackson: I read the script first.
Did the extreme differences between the two come as a shock?
Jonathan Jackson: I was shocked, yeah.
Did you take anything from the book and try to incorporate that into your own vision of the character?
Jonathan Jackson: There was some stuff. I really loved the way that Susan Cooper writes. There was just a lot of detailed stuff, just about how she explained things. Again, in the book he was an older man, but there were still really neat themes there that opened things that I probably wouldn't have caught onto or thought about.
Does Maggie ever reveal herself as an agent of The Darkness?
Jonathan Jackson: Throughout the whole movie? The Walker basically reveals her as that. He confronts her. That's a fun scene.
Are you involved in a lot of the action scenes?
Jonathan Jackson: You mean like actual action stuff? There's no horse riding because he's the Walker. My friends have been asking me if I've been playing with swords and horses. 'No. He's the Walker. I've been doing a lot of walking.' There is a fun and cool sequence with Will at the end when everything starts falling apart and the water is breaking through and so there's been some of that, but there hasn't been as much.
The Seeker: The Dark is Rising opens October 5th, 2007.