Earlier this week, we had the great pleasure of getting together with prolific young actor Jackson Robert Scott over Zoom! We celebrated the end of an era with Locke & Key, and Jackson shared his favorite key in the series, how he stays so scary in character, and reveals whether or not he cried on the final day of filming. Jackson also generously told us about a new project he can’t wait for people to see, and shared a powerful takeaway from one of our festival favorites, Gossamer Folds!
In-universe, it has been two months since Tyler (Connor Jessup, Closet Monster, American Crime) left home at Keyhouse for Cascade County, Montana, his memories of magic wiped away after his 18th birthday in the wake of his girlfriend’s tragic death. Almost immediately, the matriarch, Nina (Darby Stanchfield, Scandal, Mad Men), discovers a mysterious snow globe that has fallen from a shelf… Bode (Jackson Robert Scott, Stephen King’s It, The Prodigy) soon hears a whispering from inside the fridge, and uncovers a key with a snowflake symbol on the end that he dubs The Snow Globe Key. Everyone is trying to move on in Tyler’s absence—Kinsey (Emilia Jones, CODA) is finishing up her no-budget horror sequel, The Splattering 2, with her quirky group of film-nerd friends; Nina invites Josh (Brendan Hines) as her plus one to Duncan’s approaching wedding; Bode’s friendship with Josh’s daughter, Jamie (Liyou Abere), appears stronger than ever as he continues playing and experimenting with keys, including a new one that turns the user into an animal. Kinsey keeps reaching out to Tyler for him to return home for, at the very least, the wedding of Uncle Duncan (Aaron Ashmore, Smallville, Animorphs), but can barely get him to “like” her texts, let alone fully respond. Meanwhile, true evil is lurking in Matheson. Awakened in last season’s finale by the demonic Eden, Gideon (Kevin Durand, The Strain, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones) is basically the new Big Bad. On Gideon’s agenda is finding a way to obtain all the keys made from Whispering Iron—with every key together, Gideon can fully open the portal to merge the demon world and the human world! Helping him along the way are two evil cronies who emerge from the snow globe, along with colonial “Echo” henchmen he revives. A war is brewing between Gideon and the Lockes, and where better to have a big showdown than at Keyhouse? Don’t miss our exclusive interview with Jackson after the jump!
You’ve been part of the Locke & Key journey since 2017’s Hulu version of the show. Can you talk to us about that original pilot, and what made it different from the Netflix version?
JACKSON ROBERT SCOTT: Wow, good question. They were both directed two very different ways. The Netflix series—each episode was done by a different director, so it was always different. I think what set the Hulu version up different than the Netflix series was Andy Muschietti, who directed [Stephen King’s] It, was directing that! He made it a lot darker, a lot more like the comics than the Netflix version was intended to be. Then Netflix wanted to change it up so it was more of a family friendly type show. I think those are probably the main two differences in them. I think that both did an amazing job. I’m very happy with the Netflix version, but also I would have loved to have seen a darker version as well.
Out of all the keys on the show throughout the three seasons and their various functions, which one was your favorite?
JACKSON: Well, my favorite key… it used to be the Anywhere Key. I still really do love that Anywhere Key. But now as I’ve gotten older, I just thought that the Head Key is actually really, really cool. You can imagine anything you want in your own perfect dream, because it’s your head! It’s everything, every memory—it’s your happy place, basically! I think that is really, really cool, even though that I think that Anywhere is pretty cool. The only downside is you can only travel to places that have doors! There are a lot of doors in the world, don’t get me wrong. But you know, it’s always tough to imagine that door! You have to look it up on Google and be like, ‘Okay, where’s the Google to Hawaii’, and then you gotta find the perfect door, maybe a hotel room door or something? It definitely takes away travel costs and travel time! Very useful!
Why not just have all that inside your head instead? I think maybe—this is just hypothetical, I don’t know this—but maybe because it’s your head, you could just imagine any food, and it comes to you! I don’t know if that’s how that works. But if it does, because it is your head, that would be very, very cool and make it a plus. So yeah, I just have to say that the Head Key was my favorite.
Is there anyone you wish you could have had more scenes with?
JACKSON: I would have loved to have more screen time with probably Dodge. I know that I was possessed by Dodge, so I guess we do see Dodge. But I would have loved to see Laysla … she plays the female Dodge, and I think she does it really well. It would have been really, really, really fun for her to come back as the real Dodge in season three, not just me being possessed by Dodge. I would love to see more of her because she plays Dodge really well.
Between Pennywise’s channeling of evil Georgie in Stephen King’s It to the therapy scene in The Prodigy among others, and now in Locke & Key being possessed by Dodge, you play a scarier version of yourself quite well. What is your favorite part of tapping into these darker places as an actor?
JACKSON: Of course, you know, I’m just a regular kid. There was actually a mental evaluator, or like a real therapist for The Prodigy that was there to check in on me and make sure I’m okay. Yeah, I’m fine through all this. With tapping into that dark side with me, I try and make sure that when I’m acting, I’m acting and when I’m not acting and when we say cut, that I’m Jackson. I know, of course, there’s definitely different methods of acting, but that is just mine. I’m not necessarily saying that it’s easier for me to go into that stuff. But as a kid, I was trained by my parents to do a certain role or a certain character, especially if he’s evil, like Myles was in The Prodigy.
My mom is actually my biggest acting coach, I’d have to say. She’s my influence in acting. Of course, it wasn’t like she pushed acting on me at all, I was the one who wanted to do it, but she has supported me throughout everything. She actually started as an actor, but she gave her career to me, which I’m so grateful for, and I’m forever in her debt. She tells me when I’m playing that type of evil role, I want to make sure to be scary. She’ll try and act it out for me, so I can sort of get a feeling of what tone is the best for this character.
Once the cameras stopped rolling, I’m just a normal kid, and I just try and have fun on set. I think it’s not healthy to be that kind of thing. I think it’s bad for your brain—it isn’t really a good mentality to have, you know, so I think I’m very grateful for my parents to be my acting coach, and to be able to play that certain role. It is a very tough role, way different than drama and all that stuff, because you really have to sell it. If you’re not scary, then it isn’t a scary movie at all.
The Timeshift Key was obviously a major plot point for this season. The chance for the entire family to see Rendell one last time was also a beautiful way to come full circle. Which flashback scene was the most fun to film?
JACKSON: Well, first off, I just want to say, I have no clue why they didn’t just go to the Well House and make him an Echo. I think that was completely stupid. It’s not like all Echoes are evil. As we saw in season two with Lucas, they can be totally normal and good. So it’s not like you put in an Echo, and they’re automatically a demon. It isn’t like that at all. So I have no clue why they didn’t just bring him back.
As you were saying, my favorite part with the Time Shift Key… I would kind of be lying if I didn’t say with Bill, who plays Rendell, my dad. He was such a kind man and such a kind person to be around. A great dad. I’m so sad that we didn’t get to act with him more, because he is an amazing person. I’m so glad I got to be able to see him one more time before we parted ways, not just in the show, but in real life. Yeah, I’d have to say that was my favorite, being able to get to see him one last time with the whole family. I thought that was really special. I also really did like when I went back in time to the 1700s and saw the Harlequin Chest! That was pretty cool. I liked that a lot. I definitely liked reuniting the whole family one last time, a whole lot more.
Before we move on, what was the energy like for that final day on the set of Locke & Key—were you emotional having to say goodbye to Bode Locke?
JACKSON: Well, the mood was definitely exciting, not because it was the last day, but because we finally finished this amazing product. But it was also really, really sad. It was exciting during the day. But as we got closer and closer to the next scene, or the last scene that we had to shoot, the mood kinda got more down. It was really sad. I did get emotional. I didn’t like cry or anything. I’m being honest. I promise. I’m not just saying that. I didn’t cry. I think some people did. I forgot, because it was so long ago. It was definitely a sad day. But it was probably one of the best days because we made it we made the most of it.
Josh and I both really adored Gossamer Folds, and your work in that was just magnificent. What was your biggest takeaway from that movie? Did you get to keep the pocket dictionary?
JACKSON: I didn’t, sadly. My biggest takeaway was probably don’t judge others before you get to know them. I think that’s a big problem with today’s society. We just look at a person, and we judge them and we don’t even have the time to really get to know them, because maybe they might look a certain way. Society teaches us that there’s a certain way that we all have to look. Everything becomes super materialistic.
Nowadays, everyone wants to be famous or rich. People do it for the wrong reasons. I think just taking the time, if you truly want to get to know somebody, that is the biggest step. If you’re ever going to judge someone, always make sure that you know them first. Don’t judge them wrongly. You know, I think also that’s a big part of that people don’t get when they hear that, is don’t judge them wrongly.
Before we close out, do you have any projects, current or upcoming, that you would like to put on everyone’s radar? Do you have any plans to return to horror in the near future?
JACKSON: Well, I just did something called Jesus Revolution, a movie. I’m not sure when it should be coming out, maybe later this year, or early next year. But it is a beautiful message, and such a beautiful film. The cinematography is beautiful. Make sure to go check that out once it drops. Once again, it’s called Jesus Revolution. I just did one other thing. I’m not sure if I’m allowed to say it, though. That’s all I have to say for now.
As our youngest interviewee yet at just 13 years old, it was a total blast to connect with Jackson! We cannot wait to see what else he does from here, be it horror, drama, or something else in between! Locke & Key the complete series is now streaming exclusively on Netflix.
- Our review of Locke & Key season 2.
- Our review of Locke & key season 3.
- Our review of Gossamer Folds.