The Shot List: Chosen Jacobs
By Oz Online | Published on August 16, 2018

Catapulted to fame by his role as Mike Hanlon in the 2016 reprise of It, multitalented Atlanta native CHOSEN JACOBS is taking another joyride on the Stephen King train with Hulu’s Castle Rock

OZ: We know you first and foremost as an actor, but you also saw a bit of musical success with your It-inspired single, “The Losers.” Are you currently working on an album?

CJ: I won’t classify it as an EP or LP, but I’ll just say that I have something coming out soon. I have a lot of music I’ve been working on since It, so stay tuned for that.

You know, it’s just all fun. That’s the way I’m trying to keep it: all fun. Of course it’s work, but it’s so much fun just being in a creative space.

OZ: It’s probably good for preventing burnout, too, to flip back and forth between artistic mediums like that.

Right. Very true. You know, I remember I heard someone say before that the audience is smart. They can tell when you’re actually having a great time when you’re recording, or if you’re just kind of phoning it in.

The energy is even more important. It’s one of the most important aspects of a song. I could sound bad, but if you really felt what I was saying, you would feel attached to it if it was genuine.


“Every life experience you’ve had is driving the scene.”


OZ: Good energy is even more important when it comes to acting, isn’t it? I imagine you’ve gotta do something to relax your mind before going on set.

For me, I just pray to be myself. I think that’s the biggest thing. Of course you’re getting into your character, but one cool thing about acting is that you’re only being asked to do things that you’ve felt before in real life—or that you’ve seen somebody go through—and just stretching it. If they tell me, “OK, your sibling died in the scene.” My siblings are alive, but I know people who have experienced profound loss.

Every life experience you’ve had is driving the scene. No matter how outlandish the scene may be, if I can find something real and something tangible in my life to attach to it, it can be genuine to me. Like seeing an alien: I’ve never seen an alien before, but as children, we think we see a monster under our beds. As long as I can attach something tangible or that’s real to me, the possibilities are endless. That’s the awesome thing about the acting industry: I play make-believe for a career.

OZ: Hawaii Five-O on CBS was more or less your breakout role, right—your first substantive paycheck, first substantive screen time?

That’s correct. Man, I love shooting that show. We shoot in Honolulu and it’s so much fun.

OZ: You literally couldn’t have a better location than that.

I know. It’s funny, because that was my first real gig actually being on set and shooting and having lines and everything like that. Most people are shooting in LA or Canada, but I get to shoot in Hawaii.

I’m a little spoiled now. You can hit the beach at 12 o’clock at night and it’s still warm enough.

OZ: In your mind, who is Will Grover, your character from Hawaii Five-O?

Will Grover is a very fortunate kid. He’s a kid who has role models he can look up to. He’s a strong believer in family. Even though he and his dad go back and forth, it’s all out of love.

I think that’s the most important thing. In families, you’re always going to have your problems, but as long as the love is still there, you’re good. He has a huge family network, from his mom, to his dad, to the whole Five-O family. I think that’s a really important thing for any youth to know: “I have somebody behind me who has my back.” Everything that comes from Will Grover comes from that foundation.

OZ: What are some differences you can note between working on a major network TV set and a major studio film set?

TV is much faster. A film is maybe an hour and 45 mins to two hours, and it takes months and months to shoot. But because you have that time, you can explore different things. When you’re on a TV set, you have eight days—something around that—per episode, so you’re much more on script, and it’s much more, “OK, let’s knock this scene out, then the next scene, then the next scene.”

When you’re on a film, you’re like, “OK, I have four months or five months. How about we explore this, or try that?” You have the luxury of time.

OZ: It’s a lot more immersive and much juicier as an actor, I suppose, to be able to get really deep into the character.

It’s like a movie is a stretched-out episode. When you’re shooting television, you get your problem, your catalyst, your climax, and your conclusion all within one episode. But with a movie, you actually get to sit with one problem for a whole shoot. You actually get the time to be like the character, and the problem is taking time, because it’s taking months to shoot the film. So, the bad guy—whatever the opposing force is—on the project, you get to sit with that and take it meticulously with each step, like you do in real life.

OZ: Again, sizing up both major films and network TV, which skills in your toolbox do you think you’ve sharpened as a result of working in each?

For film, the skill I think I’ve sharpened is the professionalism of just being able to do things on the spot—if that makes sense. Actually, I’ve sharpened that with both film and television, because you can say a line and it could look really great on paper, but sometimes they’ll just say, “Do what’s natural for you.” Sometimes the wording isn’t sounding right, but you want that message to be there.

As an actor, I’m better able to define my characters now. I don’t need the script; just memorizing my lines and going out there and doing it, I’m actually being a creative and saying, “OK, what do I think my character would say? How would he react to this?” And I think that’s a very important thing, because it makes you more attached to your character. No one is telling you what to say; you just know how you feel in the scene, and therefore, your words will stem from that.

OZ: Let’s talk about It for a minute. First of all, what a great film to be your boxoffice breakout.

It’s a blessing. I’ve been a professional actor for about four or five years now, but just being out in L.A., a lot of my friends were in Pampe


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