We have another week to wait until the return of “The Originals,” and with the upcoming episode looking to be a special one, we went looking for the scoop… straight from the werewolf’s mouth!
Nathan Parsons, who plays Jackson, told us what we can expect to see in the April 15th Episode 1.18, “The Big Uneasy,” and as the season plays out, including a bit more on his character’s back story, his dealings with Klaus, the obligatory Jackson-Hayley-Elijah triangle, if he’d ever go hybrid, keeping his humanity, and more.
Dread Central: Hi, Nathan. I want to know just a little back story maybe for our fans who have not yet watched “The Originals.” It’s a spinoff from “The Vampire Diaries,” right? Can you tell us about your character, Jackson?
Nathan Jackson: Yes, I can. Jackson is basically the head honcho, the alpha dog of this werewolf pack called the Crescents, and the Crescent are the old werewolf bloodline that actually goes back pretty much to the beginning. So they are considered amongst all of the werewolf packs to be somewhat of royalty, and Jackson is kind of the last surviving leader because of all the damage Marcel [Charles Michael Davis] has done to the pack over the years.
DC: I know that in your latest episode, Jackson and Klaus [Joseph Morgan] kind of struck a deal. How would you like to see that played out as opposed to maybe how the fans want to see it played out?
NP: I don’t know; it’s going to be interesting to see how much of that deal Klaus ends up honoring because you can never really trust Klaus. But at the end of the day Jackson is going to do whatever he can or whatever he feels he has to do to protect his pack… his family and his people. So it sort of puts him between a rock and a hard place where you’ve got Klaus on one end and pretty much annihilation on the other. So which one is better I don’t know. And it’s really pretty much up to Klaus now to see how much of the deal he is going to honor.
DC: Speaking of being in between worlds, why would Jackson not want to be a hybrid? What would the downside be aside from his own family disowning him?
NP: It just goes against everything the werewolves kind of believe in. Werewolves are so proud of their pack, of their heritage, and of their culture and of their life; and to become a hybrid ruins that. It takes away from what it means to be part of a family and what it means to be a werewolf. You become this bloodsucking thing from the last episode, a bloodsucking parasite, and that’s not how werewolves want to be. They want to run wild and they want to be free. They want to do it on their terms. And to do it in a position where you have to suck somebody’s blood and cause so much pain and damage to other lives just to survive it just goes against being a werewolf. It goes against what we stand for as a pack.
DC: So, why do some of the creatures want to become hybrids then? What are the upsides?
NP: Well, the allure is the power. Hybrids are incredibly powerful, and Klaus has shown it time and time again. He’s probably the most powerful character on the show… he IS the most powerful character on the show, and it’s because of that hybrid nature. But power isn’t everything. And power by itself… what do they say? Absolute power corrupts absolutely. And that I think is the belief that at least Jackson holds very true to himself. He’ll go to great lengths to protect his people but not at the expense of what he considers half of his being…
DC: What do you hope becomes of Jackson and Hayley [Phoebe Tonkin]? What is your own personal hope as an actor in exploring that relationship?
NP: If I was completely selfish, I would say of course she comes back and lives with the pack and everyone is happy and the vampires leave and it’s all good times forever. But realistically, that’s a whole other bag. I think ultimately what Jackson really wants is the same thing Elijah [Daniel Gillies] wants, and it’s for Hayley to be happy. Because Jackson has spent years watching her as a wolf in this curse that he’s had. He has spent years watching her, knowing that they were supposed to be married. She was supposed to be his wife and they were supposed to be together to bring the werewolves back from the brink of extinction really.
She sort of drifted off into this whole vampire world, and ultimately she wants to know about her family. She wants to learn about her people; she wants to be a part of these people. She is in a tough position herself. Being pregnant with [Klaus’] baby… it’s very difficult to work around that one. But ultimately Jackson wants Hayley to be safe and wants Hayley to be happy. And wants Hayley to help him save his people.
DC: This next episode is called “The Big Uneasy.” You are a peacemaker in this one, too; can you expand on that a little bit? Because the synopsis we got doesn’t really mention Jackson at all. [laughter]
NP: Like I said earlier, Jackson’s in a really tough position, and he’s trying to figure out a way for his people to live peacefully and move back home, back into the world, and move out of their palace that they are essentially living in right now.
The problem is the werewolves aren’t strong as a group. They have each other… but they’ve also been weakened considerably over the years by the curse that Marcel put on them, by the culling that the vampires have done over the years; they’ve just gone out and slaughtered a bunch of werewolves. We’re very much weakened at this point, and I think Jackson sees an opportunity… where maybe there’s a way to work it out where [Hayley] can… find a safe home again.
DC: Nathan, after you first took this role on and you read the scripts and you were in pre-production, talking to the creative folks, how has this character sort of morphed beyond your expectations into how he is on the show now?
NP: I was actually familiar with most of the mythology for years now because I met [exec producer] Julie [Plec] years ago when she was auditioning for “The Vampire Diaries.” I had auditioned for “Vampire Diaries” several times, actually auditioned for “Originals” initially, and it just didn’t seem like the right fit for any of us, and then Jackson comes up and he was sort of the perfect character for me. There’s something about him…
When I was watching the show… I thought, ‘You know, what this show needs is some laughter.’ The show needs laughter, and I think the werewolf can bring that. The werewolves can bring kicking around the bucket in the bayou and playing music and howling at the moon. They can bring this sort of energy to it. This animal energy that sort of flows out of them.
But I didn’t have a whole lot of information going in as to where any of this was going. We’ve seen now over the last few episodes the character every time get more and more in-depth and more and more beautifully layered in terms of humanity and intelligence and empathy for his people, what they’re going through, and also that animal side, finding that when he pulls that shard of wood out and puts it up to Diego’s chest, that ‘Yeah, we can end this right now.’
We get to see that he is constantly walking this line between beautiful humanity and wild animal. And it’s a wonderful line to walk. It’s been so great to really explore that, and I’m so excited to go back and get even more into it because we’re not done yet; there’s a lot more to come.
DC: Great. We can’t wait to see it! Thank you so much, Nathan, for taking the time to talk with us.
“The Originals” Episode 1.18 – “The Big Uneasy” (airs 4/15/14, 8-9pm)
THE FEAST OF THE BLESSINGS – Genevieve (guest star Elyse Levesque) asks Elijah (Daniel Gillies) to allow her coven to publicly celebrate a traditional feast day, where members of the community offer the witches gifts in return for blessings. Monique (guest star Yasmine Al Bustami) and Genevieve disagree over what the ancestors want from them, and Genevieve reveals her plan to build the witches’ power.
When Elijah focuses his attention on restoring their home to its former glory, Klaus (Joseph Morgan) accuses him of doing it only to impress Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin). Next, Klaus sets a new plan in motion by finding Cary (guest star Jesse Boyd), a werewolf from his own line, and sending him off to find a missing piece of family history.
Marcel lets Thierry (guest star Callard Harris) in on his new plan to rebuild his power, but Diego (guest star Eka Darville) has his own ideas about the future. At the Feast of the Blessings, Monique and Genevieve try to use the ceremony to teach Davina (Danielle Campbell) a lesson, but Klaus intervenes and gives Davina a surprisingly important gift.
While Hayley struggles to decide where her loyalties should lie, the ceremony explodes into violence. Leah Pipes also stars. Leslie Libman directed the episode written by Marguerite MacIntyre and Michael Russo.
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