Carter Jenkins of Surface: The TV Squad Interview
So we've already told you that Surface is the best new show of the season, and why you should be watching it. I recently talked with Carter Jenkins, who plays Miles, the shy, curious, lizard-loving teen who started the whole thing when he brought an egg he found in the water into his home and now might be turning into a lizard thing himself. He called from California, after wrapping up filming on the NBC show for the season.
Carter Jenkins: Bob!
Bob Sassone: Hey man, how's it going?
BS: So you guys are done filming for the season, right?
CJ: Yes, we are done filming.
BS: Now is there any word yet if you're coming back for another season? Because I notice in the ads and also on the NBC site they're saying "final two episodes." I think that's scaring people because they're not saying "final two episodes of the season."
BS: (laughs) So have you heard anything yet?
CJ: No, we won't know for a while, but nothing for sure yet.
BS: It's probably just the way they're wording it. They probably mean final two episodes of the season, and I think they're just wording it that way.
CJ: Yeah...hey thank you for being so cool all season. We've been checking out your write-ups on the show and we really enjoy them.
BS: Well good. It's a great show and the way a show like Invasion gets all the press and the critical raves, I don't really understand it. I started watching Invasion and I started reviewing it, and then I had to stop because it was so boring! So I see a really cool show come along I want to, you now, push it along as much as possible...when you're renewed next season maybe you can name a monster after me or something.
CJ: (laughs) OK.
BS: So you said you're done filming for the season, right?
BS: Now, without giving away any secrets, does the season come to a close where it's sort of a closure for the story, or do you leave it open?
CJ: I think it answers a lot of questions, like most of the questions you have the first season, but it definitely opens a lot of doors for stuff to happen in the second season that will make you have even more questions.
CJ: Like what will happen next. So it's a little bit of both.
BS: Yeah, I don't know how they planned it but, I have this prediction that if it does go on for a second season, the second season will be more seeing the monsters on land, attacking people and everything like that. Kind of change the show, from being what it was this season to...taking it to a different level.
CJ: Oh yeah. The second season, I don't really know, but the second season will be a different show, a whole different level.
BS: That will be cool, because it's sort of reinventing the show. You see a lot of shows like this and when they have a second and third season they're kind of repeating what they did the first season, so if you can change it. One of the things I love about the show is that it's really unpredictable. We didn't know what these things were for the longest time.
BS: They didn't give it away or show what they were or where they were from. It probably surprised a lot of people what they actually turned out to be, not alien.
CJ: Right...I don't think anyone guessed. I think everyone was, oh, obviously they're from another planet. Yeah, that was pretty fun.
BS: I've been really impressed how they've had a lot of restraint when it came to keeping Miles apart from Laura and Rich. A lot of shows would have forced them together early on.
BS: I don't know if you guys meet up in these last couple of episodes, so you don't have to tell me that, but I was really surprised that they kept the stories separate for this long.
CJ: Yeah, it definitely shows patience. I know Jay... and I like them as people and I like them as actors...
BS: ...and you want to work with them!
BS: Now do you hang out with Jay off the set? I think he told me you guys were buddies off the set even though you haven't worked with each other.
CJ: Yeah, yeah, we are. And Lake too. We play poker.
BS: Now he was a star when he was your age, so has he given you any advice or anything on how to handle it? I think I asked him this too.
CJ: Yeah, you did ask him. I read the interview and he said something about not taking pictures?
BS: Pictures, right. Yeah, when I was looking online for a picture to put with the interview, and I came across some really weird, cheesy, embarrassing pictures. (laughs)
CJ: Teen magazines?
BS: Yeah, yeah, and I think he's just saying it's the stuff that you have to do, at some point it's something you might be embarrassed by, just be careful. You're bound to be embarrased by stuff you do. So where are you from?
CJ: I'm from Florida. I moved to California when I was almost 11.
BS: Oh, OK, how old are you now?
BS: So long have you been acting?
CJ: I started acting in Florida when I was 7 or 8, then I really pushed it when I came to California.
BS: How did you get into the business?
CJ: It was cool because I had found out about an acting class that a friend of ours was going to, or they knew someone who was teaching it or something, and I went and I took the class and had fun and kept going back, and my mom and dad agreed to let me do this. And then I was in a play and did a showcase and an agent came - this is all in Florida - and I start auditioning for commercials and stuff. And then a couple of years down the road I knew another actor who was doing that too, and there were a lot of opportunities in California to try to get an agent and everything, and we ended up doing it too, and it's worked out so far!
BS: Now what's the best part of being on television?
CJ: The best part of being on television...doing a TV show, I really like it because I like acting, and you get to do a lot of it. It's very fast paced and I have a script coming in all the time, and it keeps you on your feet and you have to be ready at all times, and it's a lot of fun.
BS: It must be different to be on a regular show where you have a regular job and not have to audition every month or something...
BS:...where you have a job every couple of months.
CJ: Yeah, it's a little weird because I've worked on other things, but this is the longest job I've ever done, one single job, and there's no auditioning...strange. I kinda missed it, I like auditioning!
CJ: I had an audition the other day for this movie and it was like, and I sort of miss auditioning. It's a whole different world. Auditioning and working.
BS: That's probably because you're young. You'll probably get sick of auditioning (laughs).
CJ: I know it sounds, "not right," because I should be grateful that I got a job, but I like auditioning.
BS: Now what's the worst part of being on television? And don't say "doing interviews."
CJ: (laughs) Hmm...the worst part for me...
BS: Any trouble with fans or the long hours?
CJ: About the hours, I can only work a certain amount of hours. I can only work 9 1/2 hours a day, and so we have to a lot done quick. And I do school on set.
BS: Oh, so you're tutored on set?
CJ: Oh yeah.
BS: How many hours is that a day?
CJ: It depends on the day because I have to do a certain amount of hours per week, and they can be spread apart. There's a whole bunch of laws about it. It's very detailed.
CJ: But the worst part of being on television...
BS: It's probably good that you don't have a worst part then. (laughs)
CJ: Yeah...there aren't many bad things about it.
BS: That's good! The people at Surface will be happy to hear that.
CJ: I mean, the whole fan thing...I haven't run into any crazies... I get fan mail all the time. I actually respond to them, and that's cool, and it doesn't bug me.
BS: Now do you have a web site?
CJ: Yeah, http://www.carterjenkins.com
BS: I'll put a link in to that too.
CJ: Yeah, people can write me and I always respond and send a picture.
BS: Are you doing anything this spring and summer, while you're on break. Any other projects lined up?
CJ: I wish I could tell you I had a movie lined up but I don't have anything officially. I do have a movie I did a while ago that's gonna come out. It's called Lucky 13.
BS: Is that in theaters?
BS: What's that about?
CJ: That's about the competitive world of bar mitvahs.
BS: The competitive world of bar mitvahs?! (laughs) I've never heard a movie described that way before.
CJ: That movie is actually gonna be really good. It's a comedy that has all these great actors in it, and has a really funny plot. I've seen it and it's really good.
BS: There's a book out right now called Bar Mitzvah Disco...
CJ: I think I heard about that!
BS: It's really funny. There's actually a lot of famous people in it, and gave their pictures of their cheesy bar mitvahs in the 70s, and these horrible bands and horrible things they did.
CJ: Yeah, I heard about that actually. I did an interview not long ago, for Lucky 13, and he was telling me about that book.
BS: Yeah, it's really funny.
CJ: I gotta check it out...yeah, so I'd like to be working right now, but we'll see what happens.
BS: So your parents aren't going to make you get a job at the mall?
CJ: (laughs) No. I hope not. I'm hustling my brother in pool right now.
BS: So poker and pool. So if your acting career doesn't take off you can go on the World Poker Tour or hustle pool for a living.
BS: What do you listen to for music?
CJ: I like a lot of things, but mostly the Beatles. I love the Beatles and I really love Bob Dylan.
CJ: Yeah. A lot of people have a problem with his voice. He's probably not the best singer, but I like his stuff.
BS: I have to admit, I'm one of those people who has a problem with his voice. He's a great songwriter.
CJ: Yeah, that's true, when other people sing his songs. I think he's a much better songwriter. Actually, there's a guy on the set who works on Surface who lives a couple houses down the street from Bob Dylan, and we were talking and I tell him that I'm a fan, and he had his wife go and pick up a pinecone from his yard. So I have Bob Dylan's pinecone on my desk (laughs).
BS: (laughs) That sounds like a good name for a band: Bob Dylan's Pine Cone.
CJ: That is a good band name.
BS: That's not gonna show up on ebay I hope.
CJ: No, that's staying in my room. It's such a funny story I like telling people.
BS: They're probably aren't too many people who have Bob Dylan's pine cone.
CJ: I don't think so.
BS: So hey, this has been very cool Carter, thank you.
CJ: Yeah, no problem. I'm going back to bed.
BS: (laughs) Just wake up?
CJ: No, I'm gonna stay up. Maybe play some pool. Maybe go golfing.
BS: Is this regular golf or miniature?
CJ: Regular. I haven't been in a while.