The TV series Flight 29 Down follows the adventures of 10 students from Los Angeles who crash-land on a tropical island. On the show, Johnny Pacar plays Jackson, a big, quiet guy with a past. While everyone tries to figure out how to survive on the island, they also try to crack the many mysteries of Jackson. Is he super-smart? Did he live on the streets? Johnny recently talked to Scholastic News Online and gave the answers to some of the show's secrets. Here's what he had to say:
Q & A
You've been acting since high school? How did you decide you wanted to pursue acting professionally?
Johnny: I took a film and video animation photography class [because] I wanted to do behind the scenes stuff. Then, an independent film was shooting in Michigan, where I am from. I auditioned and that was the first time I really acted. Then, I started working at a movie theater my senior year in high school and just watched a lot of movies. In my senior year I did a couple of school plays. I really enjoyed them and my teacher said that I should give [acting] a shot. After I graduated, I continued to take acting classes and I just decided to move out [to LA] and give it a shot. A month later I got my first job and worked gradually from there. I submitted my headshots and waited for an agent to call me and one did and I was with her for a while and then the work came in time. It started off with commercials.
What was the first commercial you did?
Johnny: It was for Sprite. It was international and it was a nice little first professional gig.
Moving from Michigan to Los Angeles must have been a bit of culture shock. How did you adjust?
Johnny: Absolutely! It took me a while. Sometimes, I am still not used to LA. It took me a while but luckily I met some really cool friends. They were from different places as well and I started to feel like it was a group of friends that I felt comfortable with, which helped out tremendously.
What do you miss most about Michigan?
Johnny: Oh several things: I miss the kind of laid-back lifestyle. [Michigan] is not as crazy and hectic and not so populated. I miss the change of seasons a lot. I can't handle when it is 80 degrees in November. I have never spent a Christmas here and I can't imagine spending a Christmas here. There has got to be snow on Christmas.
Tell us about Jackson, your character in Flight 29 Down.
Johnny: Jackson is standoffish. He is new to his school and for a couple of episodes he keeps to himself. He is very independent and confident but not arrogant. He has been through a lot. He is street smart and knows what to do to handle situations more maturely then the rest of the group. He feels like he can't connect with the other kids because they are so different from him. He pitches in and wants to help. He doesn't let anything go to his head or try to control anybody or take power.
It must be so much fun to film a TV show in Hawaii!
Johnny: It is and it isn't. We film in Oahu, on the North Shore. I mean, it is Hawaii but after three weeks I was ready to come home. There is just something about being able to go to the coffee shop and things like that.
If you hadn't chosen acting, what do you think you would be doing for a job?
Johnny: I am one of those people that every couple of months there is something new I would want to be doing. I really love to play hockeyI started playing in second grade until I stopped in eighth grade. I really wanted to be a professional hockey player. Then, eighth grade rolls around and I got tired of hockey. My mom got me a guitar and I started playing a lot with a couple of friends. We started a band. Then, I really wanted to be a rock star for the longest time.
Do you write you own songs?
Johnny: I go through my phases. I love to write ballads, but I also like to play harder, faster stuffmore punk rock stuff. I play the drums and the bass.
If you were really stranded on an island, what would you need to survive?
Johnny: Water, shade, food and clothing. It would be terrible without a toothbrush. I think it would be tough.
What was your most embarrassing moment when you were in school?
Johnny:In first grade I was afraid to eat in our classroom. I think one day a week we got to eat in our classroom. I remember one time when I was afraid not to finish my milk because I was told to drink lots of milk. I just didn't like white milk and they didn't have chocolate milk, so I had to get white milk. I hid it in my desk, forgot about it, and it ended up smelling really bad. The teacher was wondering where the smell was coming from and everybody is kind of looking and there is the spoiled milk probably two weeks past its date in my desk.
Interview by Marie Morreale
(Photo: Mario Perez/Discovery Kids on NBC)
Flight 29 Down airs Saturday mornings on NBC and Monday and Friday at 8:30 p.m. on Discovery Kids. Check local listings for details.
Name: John Edward Pacararu
Birth date: June 6, 1981
Hometown: Dearborn, Michigan
Current Residence: Los Angeles, California
Height: 5' 11"
Sibling: older sister
Sports: hockey and snowboarding
Musicians: Alkaline Trio, Green Day, and Strung Out.
Actors: Johnny Depp and James Dean
Movies: Rebel Without a Cause, Edward Scissorhands, Legends of the Fall, and Donnie Darko
Book: Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
School Subjects: history and science