Brandon T. Jackson Talks New Film
Funny man Brandon T. Jackson entertains fans in a slightly more mystical way with his new movie “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters,” in theaters now. We chatted with the actor-turned-comedian about his return to the fantasy-adventure series, his stand-up comedy career and working with his mentor Eddie Murphy.
JET: For those who might be experiencing the “Percy Jackson” saga for the first time, tell us about your character.
JACKSON: My character is Grover. He’s a protector of the camp. He’s half goat half man. He’s a satyr. It’s a Greek mythical creature that takes care of the earth. But his job in the movie – he’s the protector of Percy. Percy has to go get the Golden Fleece, because Zeus’ daughter’s tree is dying and it protects the camp. If we don’t save the tree, then the camp will have monsters coming. We have to go to the sea of monsters to find the Golden Fleece to save the tree.
JET: What was it like returning to the set for a second go ’round?
JACKSON: It was a lot more action. We shot in New Orleans. I was running to the Essence festival and running back. So like for Kevin Hart’s birthday party, I had to hurry up and get ready to go costume. It was challenging because I was balancing two worlds – my stand-up world and coming back to do all of these action scenes. It was a lot, but it was fun though. We shot it in a theme park abandoned from the hurricane. But I think the second one is darker. It’s more edgy. It’s not as kiddie as the first one.
JET: With this movie, you’re engulfed in an entirely different world, a mythical world. How did you prepare for a role like this?
JACKSON: I just had to prepare and read the books and get the character down to see what the world is. There are Greek gods and young Greek gods, but in modern times today. When FOX came to me with the script, I thought it was a really cool movie, especially being a brother. Those action adventure movies aren’t too common. It’s like a Harry Potter. It’s like the Twilight feel. I always wanted to do some stuff like that. Me just being a stand-up comedian who crossed over to acting in more serious roles is pretty cool. My character Grover is really appreciated in the film. He’s in all the books.
JET: What else is on your radar besides your latest film?
JACKSON: I got my stand-up special I’ll be shooting soon and I’m getting ready for that. I don’t have a date yet for when I’m going to shoot it but it’s coming soon. I’ve been working on my stand-up really hard and touring around with my improv. It’s been real good. Crowds have been amazing. I’m older now. I’m 28. I’ve got stuff to talk about now. I’m talking about the way I was raised, the Hollywood experience I had, balancing Hollywood and being a father and a lot of current events that are going on, too. Detroit being bankrupt – I come from Detroit. I talk about money issues, being broke and how it feels to be broke with a famous face. Funny stuff. Real stuff. Not Hollywood stuff. That’s what I love about stand-up. The real me comes out. Not the “hey guys, it’s Grover.” No, Brandon T. Jackson from Detroit comes out. If you want to know who I really am, come to my stand-up.
JET: Although the “Beverly Hills Cop” series didn’t work out, there’s been talk of a movie. What can you tell us about that?
JACKSON: Yeah, that’s what I’m hearing, so hopefully we get the script done. I’m going to be moving either way. If Eddie [Murphy] and I can do that, it’ll be great. The pilot was so good.
JET: What was it like working with Eddie Murphy?
JACKSON: That’s my mentor. Eddie is one of the dudes that actually sat down with me and we had a conversation about the industry. You know just real open and real cool. He’s a good dude. He’s a friend not just a colleague – a friend. He’s somebody you can chill with and he leads by example. He’s telling me a lot of stuff about stand-up and and staying on stage. I’m just trying to take everything in.