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Jackie R. Jacobson - Getting Ready to Ride the Next Wave

Updated: Nov 9, 2020

Jackie R. Jacobson

Getting Ready to Ride the Next Wave

by Kayla Marra

Having grown up in Los Angeles, it’s no big surprise that it was always Jackie Jacobson’s dream to become an actress. Watching the Disney Channel, Jackie had her heart set on acting from a very young age. She set out early to break into the biz, and now at eighteen she is something of a veteran. From an early appearance on Criminal Minds in 2012, to Speechless in 2018, and many roles in between, Jacobson is now a star in the series and movies Malibu Rescue released by and featured on Netflix.

Malibu Rescue, was first a movie, then nearly immediately was followed up as a 10-episode series. Now there is an upcoming sequel movie subtitles The Next Wave (which we will get to later!). Malibu Rescue is about a misfit group of teenagers from The San Fernando Valley trying to prove to the snobby Malibu kids that they belong in the “Malibu Junior Rescue Program.” Jackie’s character, Dylan, is sweet, but she takes charge of the Valley kids and leads and empowers the group.

We were lucky enough to chat with Jackie via ZOOM to talk about the upcoming sequel Malibu Rescue: The Next Wave (coming later this summer!), what she’s been doing to keep herself occupied in quarantine, working with Netflix, and the current social justice movement currently taking place in the United States.

First and foremost, how have you been doing with quarantine and what have you been doing to keep yourself occupied?

I think quarantine has been really good for me in a lot of ways. I finally got to catch up on some sleep and take some time for myself, after working for a couple months. I feel like I’ve also found a lot of new hobbies. I’ve been baking. I’ve gotten really into makeup. I feel like I’ve found new things to do during quarantine. I’ve been trying to work out and stay sane. It is definitely really easy to be super unproductive in quarantine. I’ve been trying my best to be as productive as possible.

It’s great that you’ve been staying positive and trying to better yourself during this time. What are you looking forward to doing the most after the lockdown has been fully lifted?

I’m most excited to see my grandparents. I haven't been able to see them because they're super high risk. And just to hang out with a big group of all of my friends, maybe go to the beach or something. I know beaches are open but still nobody really knows if we want to hang out right now. I’m really excited to finally see my friends, because it is summer vacation, so to see them and do summer vacation things.

Luckily for your fans, they’ll have Malibu Rescue: The Next Wave coming later this summer to keep them occupied! Tell us a bit about Malibu Rescue (both the series and movies) and your character, Dylan!

Malibu Rescue is basically about a group of kids in the valley who come to Malibu to do a lifeguard camp to become “Junior Rescue.” There is a huge battle between the Valley and the Malibu kids. The Valley kids are the underdogs and I become their captain. Dylan is such a sweet girl but she's just all over the place. [She] never really has it together but is always trying her hardest. She will do whatever it takes to prove to the other Malibu kids that she is just as qualified to be a lifeguard. In the movie you really see the connection between the Valley kids and Dylan, and then in the series it’s them as one group. It’s not really separated between “The Valley” and “Malibu,” it’s like they’re meant to be here. There are so many crazy, fun things that happen. The next movie, The Next Wave, is almost like the Olympics. It’s Team USA and every other country coming together for the ultimate competition in Malibu. It’s about, once again, the Valley kids proving themselves as Team USA and that they’re as good as every other country. Of course, there are so many little mishaps that happen, but you have to see what happens at the end! I think it’s a good combination of the movie and the series, to this next movie, it’s a good culmination.

As they continue to prove they belong in the Malibu Junior Rescue Program, what can we expect to see Lizzie, Tyler, Eric, Gina, and Dylan up to in the upcoming sequel?

In this upcoming sequel you definitely see all of them pushing themselves more and finding the strength, and the fact that they are real lifeguards and they do deserve to be there. So, all the stakes, I feel like, are heightened. In this movie we have crazier stunts, we have more people, we have more action, we have more romance, there are so many things that are happening in this movie that’s just ten-times the amount of every other series or movie that we did before.

Along with action and romance coming up, can we look forward to any big confrontations between our favorite characters and the snobs from Malibu?

You can always look forward to some confrontation between the Valley and the Malibu kids. Honestly, the movie starts off with that [confrontation]. As we go on with the movie, you find confrontations with other people, people that you didn’t think we’d ever met before, we’d never seen before. There’s definitely a lot of new characters who start a lot of trouble in this movie.

Your character, Dylan, is so sweet on the show and in the movies, while other characters aren’t so sweet. Do you think it would be fun to be the mean kid, or do you prefer being the nice one?

Honestly, ever since I started acting, I’ve always played the mean girl. I’ve always played the mean blonde girl or the cheerleader. So, when I finally played Dylan it was so nice to be the likable person and have people actually rooting for you. (laughs) I think I’m going to stay on this side and not go back to the mean side.

I bet it is nice to be liked!

(Laughs more) Exactly!

Did you know that after the release of the first Malibu Rescue movie last May that there would be a series and a sequel soon to follow? How did you react to this news?

When we first booked Malibu Rescue, the first movie, we knew that we were going to be coming back for a series, so that was just a lot to comprehend at the time. I got a phone call that I booked it, I also found out that we got the series after, so there were so many things to process. I don’t think it really hit us that we were doing both until we were actually on set of the series. After the series came out, it was a waiting game to see if we were getting another season or another movie. Maybe a couple months after the series came out, we all got the call that we were going to be doing another movie, which we were so excited about because we knew that we couldn't leave it off the way the series left off. We were all super excited to do one to continue the story. It was a lot to process!

Malibu Rescue was directed by Savage Steve Holland, who is well known for his 80s movie Better Off Dead. Had you ever seen the movie before, and what is it like to work with him?

I have seen the movie before, and Savage Steve Holland is exactly what you picture him to be. All his movies are so wholesome but also, they have a slapstick comedy feel to them. It’s a lot of jokes, falling, and different action things. Savage is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met and working with him as a director completely changed the vibe of the show. I feel like if we had any other director we wouldn’t have had as much fun or as much freedom. Savage always told us that we can do whatever we want to add our own things to it. It wasn’t like what he says goes. It was really nice to work with a director who was so collaborative. He was so open to trusting us as actors, so it was one of the best experiences ever working with Savage.

That sounds awesome! Filming the Malibu Rescue series and the Malibu Rescue movies must have been quite different experiences. How do filming a movie and filming a TV show differ, and how are they similar?

They differ with the obvious way that filming a series takes a lot longer than filming the movie. We bang out our movies in a month, the most we’ve ever shot a movie was maybe a month and a half, but our series took us four months. So, there’s that. There’s the obvious strain on your body being at the beach every day. On the series we shot more indoors, inside at the “lifeguard HQ” than we did at the beach, so that was a big difference [from] the movie. Our first movie was all outside, all on the beach. So, there was that difference. You have to connect with your castmates more. The longer that you hang out with them when you’re spending fourteen-hour days for four months [together], you guys become so close. I think the only thing that stays the same regardless of time or duration is how close we stayed. In the movie you’re close and you’re filming for a month and then you have a little bit of a break. Then you’re filming for four months together; you guys become super close. By the time you get to the next movie it’s as if you’re filming a series again. You guys are spending as much time as you can together and hanging out on the weekends, so it’s like, the cast dynamic doesn’t change. The only difference between the series and the movie is the time it takes to film it.

It’s nice that you’re able to grow a little family together and get more and more comfortable with each other. It must be nice to have a people you are so close with on set. So, what do you do to pass the time together on set? I’m sure you weren’t constantly on screen.

We were napping, or eating, or trying to take as many breaks as we could. We have a really talented cast and a lot of our castmates sing, they play instruments. We have Breanna [Yde] bring in her guitar and sit in her trailer and listen to her play. Ricardo [Hurtado] would sing, and Alkoya [Brunson] would sing. If we weren’t all hanging out and just talking and telling stories, somebody was singing. Somebody was dancing. Somebody was probably sleeping. Eating – it was usually me. Anything we could do to get to know each other better, we did. On the weekends we would try to grab dinner. We went to Six Flags a couple times. We just tried to stay as close as possible.

That’s awesome! So, both the Malibu Rescue series and movies are released by and featured on Netflix. What has your experience been like working with Netflix over the last few years?

Netflix has been so welcoming, which is something I didn’t expect of such a big company. How could they know you or remember you when they have a million other people on their shows? But every time we filmed or had a table-read, we always had representatives from Netflix there. Everybody remembers your name. Everybody is so sweet at Netflix. Every time they gave us little goodies like we got a Netflix hat, a Netflix bag. When we did this last movie, they gave us a Polaroid that has the Netflix logo on it. They are just honestly the most down-to-earth people; they are so easy to work with. They really take the pressure off of being on Netflix, so that’s super nice and was very calming. When you think of Netflix, you think of this huge empire that has all these crazy, super famous shows. When you’re just that little part of it and they make you feel as big as those other shows, it’s really nice.

You’ve been acting since you were very young from appearing on Criminal Minds in 2012 to Speechless in 2018, and now starring in the Malibu Rescue series and movies. Do you have any pre-filming rituals you’ve used through the years to hype yourself up or to calm down before shooting a scene?

The most important thing that I’ve done throughout the years is trying to be as professional as possible. The cast and I love to goof around but I think right before a scene it’s important to always try to take a couple breaths to myself and really get focused. Do the job, and then you can have fun later. I feel like there isn’t anything super specific or crazy that I do but I definitely take naps in between every scene. That definitely helps. Or maybe that’s just because I’m tired, I don’t know. (laughs) I definitely just try to be as calm and professional as possible before I start filming.

Do you feel like you’re more calming yourself down or do you feel like you’re more hyping yourself up for scenes?

That’s a good question! I think it’s a little bit of both. When you’re on set – and I think especially for me when this became my first big thing that I’ve ever done – I have to kind of pinch myself every day and remind myself that I do deserve to be here. I’m supposed to be here, blah, blah, blah. Part of it is calming myself down like “You deserve this. You’re going to be fine. Don’t worry, everybody wants you here.” The other half of my brain is like “You got this. You’re here for a reason!” It’s a mix of both. I don’t think it’s one or the other, it’s definitely a mix of both every time I go on set.

It’s definitely good to have that balance, for sure! With Malibu Rescue or any other projects, you may be working on, can we expect anything to come in the future?

Aside from Malibu Rescue: The Next Wave, which I can’t say when [it will be released], there isn’t anything else that I’m allowed to speak about at the moment. But Malibu Rescue: The Next Wave is definitely a priority.

This is kind of off topic but there is a lot of sadness, but also empowerment in our country right now. Almost like the second civil rights movement. I noticed that you posted for Blackout Tuesday. How do you think we as a country can change to be better?

I think as tragic as everything is that’s happening in the world right now, I have never seen the country and people come together as much as they have in the past few weeks. I think that, itself, is just a step in the right direction. There are so many little things that you can do. I wish that I could be at the protests, but because of my immunity [susceptibility to getting sick] I can’t. So, because I can’t be at the protests, you sign the petitions that you can. If you don’t want to sign the petitions, you try to do the little things just like shopping at a black-owned business or eating at a black-owned restaurant. It’s the little things that honestly make the big difference. I feel like people overlook the little things. They think that they need to be doing the most they possibly can, which is amazing, but signing every petition that you believe in and that you think is right, and shopping and eating at a black-owned business is what’s really going to change. I feel like everybody has really come together and that’s honestly really inspiring, especially for my generation, the fact that in a few years, we’ll be the older ones and there’s going to be another generation under us, so it’s like setting the right path and saying what’s right and what’s wrong, and changing what history has said, and reversing it and making it right for once I think is super important.

It’s definitely so nice in this day and age with all the technology and access we have to things, so you don’t need to go to a protest, you can sign petitions, you can donate. It’s just amazing to see.

Exactly! There are definitely different resources that you can donate to and petitions you can sign. Everything is on your phone, so it takes three seconds. That’s why this has become such a big movement because it is so accessible to everybody. I think that’s the biggest part of this. Everybody is pitching in a little bit. As much as they can.

Lastly, do you have a message you’d like to share with or say to your fans?

The biggest thing I’d like to say to my fans is thank you, obviously! Part of hyping myself up or calming myself down on set comes from them because they’re so excited for the next movie, or they want us to do more. It’s really just the little voice in the back of my head, saying that all these people’s lives are better, or they have a better day, because they watched the movie. So, I just want to say thank you for watching [Malibu Rescue] and supporting it. They give us the drive to want to do more and be better.

Be sure to check out Malibu Rescue: The Next Wave coming August 4, 2020 on Netflix!

Copyright ©2020 All rights reserved. Posted: June 30, 2020.

Photos #1-2 ©2019. Courtesy of Strategic PR. All rights reserved.

Photos #3-4 ©2019. Courtesy of Netflix. All rights reserved.

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