Jackson Rathbone and Aimee Teegarden "Aim High"
TeenTV is in a famous hotel right off Rodeo Drive to chat with the hot stars of the high school “spy” web series “Aim High”. The show has a great pedigree. It’s produced by action-meister McG of the Charlie’s Angels films and stars Twilight’s Jasper, cute Jackson Rathbone with Prom’s Aimee Teegarden as the object of his desire.
Story goes: A teen guy is living a double life; he’s struggling with high school by day and is a government agent by night. Nick Green (Jackson) is a junior and he’s one of only 64 highly-trained teen operatives. (Hey, our adult agents are over-committed all over the world. The U.S. needed teens to fill the gap). Nick, a very cute but secretly deadly nerd type, is hot for Amanda (Aimee), the quirky, edgy chick who is reluctantly dating a school jock. Sounds somewhat standard but this isn’t your ordinary teen series. We’ll let the stars tell you about it. The show starts Oct. 18th on cambio.com and Facebook.
On entering the interview room we are drawn to Jackson’s bright, trendy cobalt blue shirt which totally matches Aimee’s bright blue heels. She’s in black and he’s in grey. Their stylist has a great coordination gene. The two have been doing TV interviews and the hairdresser is primping up Jackson’s “do”. We comment on his shirt.
Jackson: I really love this shirt.
TeenTV: You guys have been here all day and I’ll bet you’re tired.
Jackson: Yeah, but I like this hotel (the famous Beverly Wilshire where the classic film Pretty Woman was shot). I’m staying here tonight. I’m gonna go around asking random people if they want to ask me questions.
TeenTV: I see this show as part “MacGyver” (old TV show with a hip spy who uses ordinary objects around him to create weapons etc.) and part “Awkward”. Really enjoyed it. Very smart and fast-moving. Jackson you are also a producer, why not aim this at the CW or ABC Family as a series and then do a Facebook interactive connection later?
Jackson: We can’t utilize the personalization aspect of the show on a TV network (viewers can interact on Facebook). The reason I was attracted to the project in the first place is the internet is the “wild West” and I’m a rootin’ tootin’ cowboy with my guns blazin’ and I want to do something new. If we go to a CW it’s the same old stuff.
TeenTV: Ooookay! Aimee, what attracted you to the web series. Like Jackson, you’ve done TV and Film.
Aimee: I got involved after Jackson. I came in and auditioned and met with everyone and just really fell in love with the idea of doing a kind of social media series and was super excited about it and here we are.
TeenTV: Both of you, how do you relate to your character and how are you very different?
Jackson: Well, I’m definitely awkward when it comes to asking a pretty girl out. (Aimee looks at him like “You are?”). It’s sad but true and like Nick Green, I don’t get much sleep at all.
TeenTV: So do you have a little James Bond secret desire? Wanna be a spy?
Jackson: I’m not allowed to talk about that. I moved around my entire life and my family, we’re all a little bit involved. I think I said too much!
TeenTV: Aimee, how are you like Amanda and how different?
Aimee: I think there is a music component to Amanda that I don’t have in my own life. I’m not musically gifted or I haven’t found out yet if I am. So that was really fun when we shot this music video for her.
TeenTV: Oh yeah. It looked cool but you don’t hear or see too much of it in the show.
Aimee: There will be the whole video released as a bonus further down the line and more bonuses released throughout the series.
TeenTV: How will teens get to interact with the show on Facebook and what will appear on screen when they do it?
Jackson: You can watch it from your Facebook account and then your pictures and profiles and writing on your “wall” will appear in the foreground or background. If you want to watch it without that aspect, you can. Your “graffiti” could be on the wall or pictures of friends and family can be in posters. . But, if you personalize it and then watch it on your friend’s computer, it’ll look different. I want to watch it on my mom’s Facebook account. I want to see my mom in it! “Mom! You’re on TV! Look!” She doesn’t know about it yet. I’m gonna call her.
TeenTV: Cool. Aimee, I like Amanda’s look. Did you have any input into her outfits and did you get to keep anything?
Aimee: I didn’t get to keep anything. It’s all property of Warner Brothers right now.
Jackson: Watch her. She’s gonna E-Bay it!
Aimee: No! But it was so cute and it’s all H&M and Forever 21 and Target and stuff kids can go out and buy. The costumer just put together some great stuff for Amanda. Fun outfits.
TeenTV: Jackson, what martial arts training did you do for this because you are jumping all over the place. I don’t think Jasper’s action is the same.
Jackson: Oh no it’s not. I’ve studied martial arts as a kid then I did a bit of Kung Fu and Krav Maga on The Last Airbender. Then I kept up my training here and there with these stunt guys that I became really good friends with during the making of that movie. We actually brought them in to be the choreographers and the coordinators for “Aim High”. We were lucky because these guys work on the biggest budget action films there are. They made the show look ultra-bad-ass with their choreography.
TeenTV: Aimee, Nick makes up a pretty lame excuse for being late to meet Amanda. What is an example of a lame excuse a guy has given you and Jackson, what is the lamest excuse you’ve ever given a girl?
Aimee: (pause, she’s thinking). Oooooh, I don’t think that’s ever really happened to me.
TeenTV: Wow, you’re lucky (Jackson laughs).
Aimee: I have had guys be snots and that kind of thing but I’ve never been stood up or anything.
Jackson: I’m actually pretty good. If I’m gonna be late, I’ll let a girl know. I run late sometimes. It’s L.A. But, I will completely break the law to let a girl know. I will call her while driving! That’s how chivalrous I am. I’ll risk a ticket!
TeenTV: Why do we see schematics when Nick is planning an action move on the spot? Does he have a computer implant in his brain or what?
Jackson: That’s so you can get inside the head of Nick Green. It’s not meant to be a computer chip. The director Thor Freudenthal calls it “Nick vision”. He wanted something to showcase inside his mind. One of the big training points for a government operative is to be constantly aware of your surroundings. Like you walk into a room and you can close your eyes and say, “Okay there is a mirror over there and we’ve got this little table”. You want to be able to know exactly where everything is so you can utilize it.
TeenTV: To kick butt.
TeenTV: I think I saw six episodes.
Jackson: Six is season one, yeah.
TeenTV: Nick is a nerd on the surface but a real, cool killer underneath. Is that a difficult balance for you as an actor or do you feel he’s still nerdy even when he’s on a mission?
Jackson: I think he’s still kinda nerdy when on a mission. He’s cracking jokes constantly. He’s like “whatever” and the jokes are awkward. He’s telling a Russian mercenary “We should get together and have some borscht”. It’s fun. He’s just that geeky. I like to describe Nick Green as “adorkable” (Aimee rolls her eyes and laughs).
TeenTV: Awwww. Okay, Aimee, you say you aren’t musical but Jackson, you have a band. Did you do any music for “Aim High”?
Jackson: I do have a band (100 Monkeys) and we wrote a song called “Aim High’ as a promotion for the show. Whenever I was on tour, I could promote the show with it.
TeenTV: But your character Nick isn’t gonna bust into song in the show’s second season?
Jackson: No. Well, maybe Nick will be “Hey, I’m a bassist now and I wanna be in your band!” but don’t think so.
TeenTV: Do you both think the show will empower teens? Both of the characters make their own choices.. some are good. Nick could kill a bully with his shoelace but decides not to and Amanda takes the wrap for her sister so she can get into college. Will the show make teens understand that they can take control of at least part of their lives?
Jackson: I think the hardest thing about high school is feeling like you’re an outsider. You don’t feel like you fit in or maybe you do but you just aren’t happy. Life isn’t easy when your hormones are raging and you’re discovering things about yourself that you didn’t know. You’re trying to find your own path in life but you’re still living at home with your folks and people are constantly telling you what to do. But you need to express yourself and don’t know how. This show is all about that and getting through it. Embrace all the moments that do make sense.
TeenTV: Good advice. So, Aimee, you have the movie AWOL coming out. What is that about?
Aimee: It’s based in 1969 and it’s about these two lovers; one goes to fight in Vietnam and one goes off to college and it’s their trials and tribulations trying to get back together.
TeenTV: Jackson, when you do start press for Breaking Dawn?
Jackson: I feel like I’m already doing it.