To the uninitiated, “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” sounds like the name of a musical group. In truth, that title refers to a popular series of books-and movies-about the mixed heritage off-spring of the Gods of Olympus. These demigods spend lots of time at Camp Half-Blood, a refuge that serves as a training ground.
“Sea of Monsters,” which now is available on DVD and Blu-ray, features Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman), the half-human son of Poseidon, on a quest to find the Golden Fleece. Accompanied by his the satyr Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) and other friends from Camp Half-Blood, he heads off into the world on a life-saving mission.
When reached by phone, actor Brandon T. Jackson talked about Grover, the series, and the right time to bring the funny to a character.
Are there bad Mondays in Camp Half-Blood?
I think Mondays in Camp Half-Blood are pretty cool. They’re chill, nothing really goes down unless you have monsters coming out of nowhere invading the territory. Hopefully, that doesn’t happen because it means my character has to get up and go on another quest.
He’d rather just chill out: Grover is at the age where he just wants to chill. He has found every half-blood and now he just wants to chill with the nymph girls and other mythical creatures. And chill with Percy and everything.
How many locations did you have to go to for “Sea of Monsters”?
Honestly, I lost count. There was some filming in the studio, but there was stuff in New Orleans that was shot kind of everywhere. Really, I lost count.
I know we were filming in this swap area that had alligators that they had to clear out because it was a Six Flags that was abandoned, but they kept it up; it was like a swamp. There were all these snakes and alligators. It was pretty interesting. A lot of fun, though.
When you joined the cast on the first movie, did have to go through an audition process? Or were you approached about playing Grover?
I was coming off the movie “Tropic Thunder,” and they asked me if I wanted to do a fantasy series. I read the script and they called me and said they liked me for the role. So I tested for it and they decided to go with me. It was cool that they did that; it was a fun time.
Was it your work in “Tropic Thunder” or your stand-up comedy background that made you right for Grover?
It was a combination of things because I think they wanted the character to be kind of funny and serious at the same time. Someone that could pull off the action and the funniness of the character. I think they could see I could pop into this character: bring the funny, but do it in a way that’s not over the top where you are just trying to steal the film. That would be too much for the film.
I think that they wanted it to be played in reality; I think that’s kind of my humor. I always looked at Eddie Murphy and Will Smith; those are two of my big idols. They were able to be funny in movies without being over the top-unless they chose to be over the top.