Reel World

Rocker Stephan Jenkins of Third Eye Blind dabbles in acting

American Hot Wax It's either a terrific insight or a banal cliché that movie stars want to be rock stars and rockers want to be screen idols. "Sounds like a cliché to me," says Stephan Jenkins of Third Eye Blind, deflating the notion that his brief screen debut in Rock Star (opening Sept. 7) is the first hint of a career shift. In fact, TEB's concert schedule precluded Jenkins from taking the bigger part originally suggested by pal and Star star Mark Wahlberg, who plays a cover band singer drafted by the superstar metal band he worships. "I had time to play his nemesis, which is a lot more fun anyway," Jenkins said via cell phone as a driver carried him across L.A.'s freeways to the Rock Star junket. "Fight in the parking lot, molest his girlfriend, rip up his band's fliers, back on a plane, back on tour."

Filmmaking draws on Jenkins' affinity for analysis-free collaboration. "I like to know that everyone's moving together and in the same direction. Beyond that, I like things to not be spoken out. A few adjectives here and there. You can talk yourself right out of all the fun." No surprise that Jenkins was loath to talk about his acting style. "There's definitely an intellectual process, which is sort of the breeding ground for an intuitive process. Of course," he said, with a dry chuckle, "we're talking about a goofy little movie about what happens when you get what you want, and how that corrupts. I'm really a songwriter. I'm not presenting myself as giving tips to aspiring actors."

Perhaps he'll be less reluctant after he finishes shooting the indie feature Angelic Tuesday, a cautionary tale of a cocky designer who leaves his older wife after getting his big break -- provoking her to plot revenge. "I like spontaneity, so in some ways it's a challenge to be genuine and real when delivering something so tightly scripted," Jenkins admitted. A cautionary fable about the moral corruption of ambitious Angelenos, Angelic Tuesday inevitably has a wee bit to say about the movie biz. "Hollywood is an unrelenting company town where the bottom line is everything," Jenkins declared. "People watch grosses over performances and over the lasting quality of films. But underneath that are terribly naive people who want to make something because they actually want to make it. They get in there and bootstrap. I like those people. I like the pluck and the hustle. I come from a band that did things itself." In that vein, Jenkins will direct the music videos for Third Eye Blind's next album, for which the band is now building a studio in S.F.

Wild at Heart Nicolas Cage has received lukewarm notices for his work in Captain Corelli's Mandolin, but at least the erstwhile San Franciscan wasn't a prima donna on the set. "He didn't need a trailer because the house he was living in [on the Greek island of Cephalonia] was literally halfway between the village and the port," director John Madden (Shakespeare in Love) reported during a recent visit to the Bay Area. "And he gave us a great leaving party, a vodka and caviar party. It was about as non-Greek as you could get, but nobody wanted to see anything more of Greek food at that point." Cage picks up the annual American Cinematheque Award in Beverly Hills on Sept. 22, while Madden harbors hopes that Golden Gate, the 1993 film he shot here with Joan Chen and Matt Dillon, will get its due one day.

 
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