Recently we got the chance to chat with James Freedson-Jackson. His new film, The Strange Ones premieres at this years SXSW! Check out our interview to learn more about his films, working with Bruno Mars, and who his favorite superhero is!
upfrontNY: What do you love most about acting?
James Freedson-Jackson: What I love most about acting is what you are giving to the audience, what you know that you are going to be able to let a group of people feel. If you feel anger, or depression, or happiness, if you’re going to make them laugh or cry. Knowing that you’re going to make somebody else feel a certain way about a person or your character is a great feeling and it is also great to watch it happen.
upfrontNY: How did you decide acting was something you were interested in?
James Freedson-Jackson: I didn’t really decide until I did it and I really loved it. I started acting in commercials. I started going out for movies and I had an audition for Cop Car. I came in and met Jon Watts and he was really cool. He had me sit down and I read lines with him. That was the first audition that I had and got the part. That summer I did the movie and it was one of the greatest experiences I have ever had and I knew from that point on that I wanted to do this for the rest of my life and I wanted to give audience members the joy of feeling another characters’ emotions.
upfrontNY: What was the filming experience like for Cop Car?
James Freedson-Jackson: Cop Car was the first film and professional thing I have ever done. Going on that set, I was in Colorado Springs and it was another world to me. It was a great environment with great people working on the set. Kevin Bacon was on the set, he was a big inspiration to me. Shea Whigham was there and Camryn Manheim. I was surrounded by so many people who inspire me in such big ways and that was a great experience for me.
upfrontNY: How were you feeling when you first started filming?
James Freedson-Jackson: When I first got the part I think I was in shock and I was worried. I got the part two days before I had to leave to go film. It was mid-school year and I was extremely nervous, but I kept thinking in my head, James- it will be an adventure, you got this! Now that I have done it, I want to do so much more of it because it was so extraordinary.
upfrontNY: Can you tell us about The Strange Ones and your character in the film?
James Freedson-Jackson: Sure, my character is Sam. You are never sure about him, his innocence or what he is capable of. I had all of these different characteristics because Sam is a very complex character. He has been through a lot and I had to put all of that into one mindset. Sam is a very mental character and he does a lot of thinking ahead. If you watch the movie, you can see all his thoughts, and how he thinks about everything before he does it.
upfrontNY: Was it challenging playing this role and how did you prepare for it?
James Freedson-Jackson: It was a challenging role. I went to a coach; she is my coach for everything. I have never seen a character like Sam. He is mischievous in a way, but also innocent. You want to love him, but you never know what he is actually capable of.
upfrontNY: Do you like thrillers?
James Freedson-Jackson: I really love thrillers. I think they are great. When you are watching a thriller you are on the edge of your seat the whole time and I really love those kinds of films. I love comedy too, but there is something about watching thrillers and being in thrillers that is so magical. You get to feel what it is like to be in a scary situation or life threatening situation. It is so entertaining for the audience and for you.
upfrontNY: You were also in Jessica Jones on Netflix. Can you tell us about that?
James Freedson-Jackson: I play the younger version of Kilgrave (David Tennant.) I think he is an extraordinary actor. I got to watch how he does it and to be a younger version of him was really fun for me.
upfrontNY: Are you a fan of superheroes and do you have a favorite one?
James Freedson-Jackson: I do have a favorite one. It is Luke Cage. I binged watched that show! I love the actor who plays Luke Cage (Mike Colter) and there’s something about a bulletproof man that I find so cool. Nothing can happen to him because he is invincible. I find that really cool.
upfrontNY: Is there a role you really want to play?
James Freedson-Jackson: I recently started watching the Die Hard movies. I watch those and pretend that I am that character, dodging bullets. That type of role is something I would be really interested in. I also like spy movies.
upfrontNY: You also had the chance to work with Bruno Mars. What was that like?
James Freedson-Jackson: Bruno Mars is the nicest guy. He did the super bowl half time show that year and that is what I was in. He chose me personally and I didn’t know that I was going to be working with him. The audition was us singing the Star Spangled banner and it wasn’t even until we got into MetLife Stadium that we were told that we would be working with Bruno Mars. It wasn’t until he came in and introduced himself and we got the sheet music that I realized we were going to be singing back up to Bruno Mars. It was honestly magical. That experience felt like a dream to me.
upfrontNY: What do you like to do when you are not acting?
James Freedson-Jackson: I have a twin sister. We get along and have a great relationship. I love hanging out with her, goofing off, and having fun. She has a huge heart and is my best friend.
upfrontNY: Living in the New York City area, what do you love most about NYC?
James Freedson-Jackson: Ever since I was a little kid. I would go into New York with my dad and see shows. That was a huge inspiration for me too. My dad owned a show and that is how I got into acting. I would go see a show and would sit there and memorize the words and completely soak it all up. I feel like I knew from that moment on that it was a magical experience and that was a great situation to be in and I wanted more of it.
When you are in New York you are never alone, it is one big community and I love that about it.
Movie- The Heat
Snack –or Candy– Gushers