Friday marks the release of Jackson’s haunting new horror flick Shutter, the story of a newly married photographer who invites his wife on a business trip to Japan, before realizing his past is about to catch up with him in a big way.
The actor, 28, is also returning to television for the first time since Dawson's wrapped in 2003. Jackson landed the role of Peter Bishop on JJ Abrams new pilot Fringe, a science fiction series with a twist.
Hollywood.com caught up with Jackson to find out more about his two new projects and more …
Hollywood.com: Shutter addresses the idea of spirit photography, when a ghostly image appears in a picture. What is your take on this phenomenon?
Joshua Jackson: I've never had the experience of it. I don't really work on absolutes. I think it's impossible to say absolutely yes or no to just about anything. So it's like my take on faith. I'm not a man of faith. I have a real hard time when people of faith tell me that something is absolutely correct, but then it would be hypocritical for me to say that something is absolutely incorrect. I've never had a ghost moment. I've never had a ghost in the machine, but I don't deny that it's possible. That's my two cents.
HW: Your character speaks Japanese fluently, but do you?
JJ: I don't speak Japanese, but I had to learn…a very formal way of introducing me and my wife Jane. One of the hardest words was Konichiwa…It's more like a double N in the middle. Little things like that trip you up.[PAGEBREAK]
HW: What attracted you to Shutter?
JJ: When you're doing a horror film you have the potential of doing something much broader and much more shocking of a shift. So for me to be able to start here and then end up as somebody totally different is fun for me. You get to lay in all those red herring things in the story and lead people down this path and then hopefully show them something on the other side.
HW: What were the challenges of shooting in a foreign country?
JJ: When I was in Japan the culture is so fundamentally different. Just the basic level of human interaction is based on different ideas and ideals that that was probably the hardest part, learning…cultural touchstones.[PAGEBREAK]
HW: Tell me about this new pilot you are working on.
JJ: It’s not officially picked up, but I hope it is because it's pretty cool…It's called Fringe. It's JJ Abrams next show. It's a sci-fi show that is – say that if Shutter is just on the far side of the paranormal boundary than this would be just on this side. It's the science part of science fiction…In The X Files the explanation is always that it could be real or it could be some other thing when they're dealing with like the vampire episode or the werewolf episode…but ours comes at it from the perspective that there's a scientific explanation, but there's so much more happening in our own physical world than what we're seeing.
HW: The prospect of another several years on a TV show isn't daunting to you?
JJ: Yeah, of course it is [laughs]. The joys of working in television, when it is joyful, are that you get to tell a story over a long period of time. The joys of working in sci-fi is that you get to tell any story that you can possibly imagine. So you put those two things together and if you get extremely lucky you end up with something extraordinary like Lost.[PAGEBREAK]
HW: How did you meet JJ?
JJ: Just to go back in the time machine, the first season of Dawson's Creek there was an actor named Scott Foley who then became a character on Felicity. He and I became friends and when they were having the premiere of Felicity here at Disney I was there for the opening screening. So I've known JJ in that sort of way since then. I watched all of Felicity and watched all of Alias and watched all of Lost. I've been there watching at each sequence of his career…He's remained pretty much the same guy – hyper, hyper intelligent, sort of intellectually hyperactive and I don't think he'd be upset if I said he was a geek in the best possible way. He's a complete nerd when it comes to these things and he gets so excited about making the puzzle.
HW: Is Damon Lindelof involved in it as well.
JJ: No. He's on Lost, but there's a perfect example. Lindelof comes from inside their company and so they have that great communication and after a couple of years it becomes his show because JJ is willing to be like, 'You're good. You've got this locked.' Then Lindelof cares enough about the show enough to say, 'There's only 16 stories to tell and I can only tell it to 2010 because after that it becomes ridiculous.' [PAGEBREAK]
HW: What can you tell us about your character?
JJ: He's a character that usually has to be two characters. Almost always in television, usually it's what we were talking about earlier with women in films. But this guy is intelligent and actually physically capable which usually has to be two people on a show. Have you ever met those really, really dumb smart people? It's a person who's really intelligent, but it doesn't help them get through their normal lives. That's who he is. He's a wickedly smart man who still makes the worst decisions that you can imagine…He has no job. Just that dumb/smart problem.