Interview: Neil Jackson Discusses Stargirl’s Chilly “Icicle” Interview: Neil Jackson Discusses Stargirl’s Chilly “Icicle”
Interview with DC's Stargirl actor Neil Jackson about his character Icicle a.k.a. Jordan Mahkent Interview: Neil Jackson Discusses Stargirl’s Chilly “Icicle”

A hero’s journey is always made better by an amazing villain, and tipping the scales of injustice on DC’s Stargirl is Neil Jackson who plays “Icicle” – the man who is said to have killed Starman who has a plan for Courtney Whitmore’s new home of Blue Valley. Episode 3 of Stargirl — which premiered yesterday on DC Universe and airs tonight (June 2) on The CW — shines a spotlight on this captain of cold, and in doing so, tells an emotional journey which will see some huge payoffs by the end of the hour.

STARGIRL ICICLEKSiteTV’s Craig Byrne spoke with Neil Jackson about his character Icicle as well as his alter ego “Jordan Mahkent” who we learn a whole lot more about tonight. You can see the interview below.

KSITETV’s CRAIG BYRNE: Did your casting on DC’s Stargirl have anything to do with having worked with Geoff Johns on the Blade TV series?

NEIL JACKSON: 100%. He called me last year and said “we’re making Stargirl and I’d love you to play Jordan Mahkent.” It was simple as that. I knew a little bit about Stargirl; I knew of Stargirl from being friends with Geoff for 15 years, and I knew [the character] was incredibly personal to him. I knew the story behind it, but I hadn’t read any of the comics.

When he pitched it to me over the phone, he just said what they’re doing with the series, and who this guy Jordan Mahkent is, and then I read the first episode and loved the tone. It was gorgeous. It was like watching an Eighties classic for the first time, like Back to the Future or ET or something like that. I loved what he did with it, and I couldn’t wait to jump on board. But it was all because of my prior relationship with him.

How excited were you to get the third script and see it was called “Icicle?”

I was excited to see it was called “Icicle.” It was even more excited when I opened it up.

I knew going in that the third episode would really establish Icicle. I also knew the backstory and everything that they’re planning on doing, but reading the script and seeing what they put there… there are several times in this show where Geoff and the writers’ team have laid out this full course meal for me as an actor, and this episode was one of them.

Getting to play the full gamut of emotions, and really explore this character – who he was, who he is, and who he wants to be – it was just such a joy.

The opening scene of the episode with his wife and kids was incredible, and Amanda Lavassani who played Christine was incredible to work with. Every single take just had this emotion just pouring out of her, take after take after take. Roger Dale Floyd who played my son was incredible as well. All I did was just kind of react with these two. That was a real gift. Having that scene, when the character looks outside and has a burst of anger that freezes the garden around him, [it] just sets you up, to empathize with him and understand that he’s a man who’s experienced great pain, and out of that great pain, [comes] this mission.

He wants to change the world, and leave a world for his son that was better than the one that was before. Often, I’ll be asked to play villainous characters or characters that are slightly more on the villain of scale and try to empathize with them and understand them, and it’s sometimes difficult because they’re often underwritten, but this guy – he’s more of an antihero. In many ways, he sees himself as a hero of the piece, which was something easy to understand. So, it was a real joy seeing that episode and getting to play with that.

How is the look for Icicle created for the show? Do they use face trackers on you?

They do that. When he transforms into Icicle, it’s just dots on the face. They literally take eyeliner – I think it’s eyeliner pen – and just put these dots on my face. In accordance with this, a map has been given to them by the visual effects crew and so people are adapting specific tracking markers, and then [there’s] a bald cap that has the tracking markers on. And then, it’s left to the geniuses over in the visual effects team to lay over the visual effects.

I love being able to see what Icicle would look like before we even played any of the scenes, because the look is so imposing. I love what they’ve done with it. It’s just such an odd and intimidating appearance.

Jordan Mahkent has been traveling the country and only recently returned to Blue Valley. Can you talk at all about where he’s been and what the trip was for? And will we see any flashbacks to what he’s been up to?

We won’t see any flashbacks to what he’s been up to, but we will see in real time what he’s been up to, because he has a couple of business trips that take him to go and do that. What he’s basically been doing is enacting a plan that will be finally explained.

There’s sort of two plans that are happening. The two sides of Jordan: There’s a business plan, which is Project New America, which sees the revitalization of communities in America that have suffered for whatever reason, sort of injecting cash into the communities to try to rebuild them up to make the community stronger again. And then the other side of it – the sort of “supervillain plan” is yet to be revealed, but that’s a bigger plan that will be changing communities on seismic levels through a series of manipulations.

What he’s been doing, he has been going around and on the business front. He’s been looking for places that need this help, and that he’s able to help find on the personal front. He has been looking for everybody who was responsible for the death of his wife, and anybody who was responsible is being brought to justice for the injustice that they brought on her. He’s been kind of wearing these two hats: The businessman/statesman, and and then “the villain,” getting revenge for what happened to Christine.

What kind of relationship does Jordan have with this son? And is it possible that Cameron may end up being on an opposite side from him?

That’s a great question. He doesn’t have a great relationship with his son. I mean, I think Jordan believes that he’s doing the best he possibly can to be the best father that you can, by making the world a better place for his son to inherit. But, the effect of that is that he’s an absentee father. He’s gone a lot. His son is raised by the grandparents, Sofus and Lily, who are brilliantly played by Jim France and Kay Galvin. He’s just not there. They don’t have a personal relationship.

Also within that, Cameron is a direct reminder of the pain that he feels from the loss of Christine. There are several beautiful things that we’re going to experience with the two of them, holding on to the scale of their relationship and hopefully to build from there. I hope that over the course of seasons, they might be able to do that. But then at the same point, there’s a chance that when Cameron finds out exactly who Jordan is, that he will reject his father and therefore the other side so it’s all left open, and greater minds than mine will figure that out.

Can you talk about the interaction between Jordan and Courtney’s mother Barbara?

That’s one of the most fascinating character developments within this for me. My take on it is that when Christine died, that side of Jordan, the happiness and joy within Jordan, died with it, and he channeled all of that hate and that energy into the New America project, and this project that he’s been setting up with the Injustice Society.

He hasn’t got a great deal of joy in him. He’s a very sad, very solitary man. That’s one of the things we talked about in the beginning; his pain and sadness is laced in every single scene in every single emotion. I wanted to play him that he’s heavy. He doesn’t want to do this. He’s not joyously trying to watch the world burn. He’s saddened that it’s come to this, but he’s the only person with the strength and volition of character to be able to make the changes necessary to the world as a better place.

He didn’t expect Barbara Whitmore. Barbara Whitmore comes along, who was just this beautiful, joyous character, so full of life and light, play gorgeously by Amy Smart, and it just catches in for a moment, because I think it reminds him of the way he felt when he was with Christine, and it’s a feeling hadn’t had for years. As much as he wouldn’t want to be a homewrecker, and he wouldn’t want in any way to cause her to be drawn away from Pat Dugan, he can’t help but be attracted to this energy that she gives out, because it’s in such contrast to the pain and darkness that he’s feeling, and it’s something that is really fun to explore through the course of the season.

How good are you feeling about the potential for Stargirl Season 2?

Pretty good. I mean, right now, I haven’t looked at Rotten Tomatoes in the last couple of days, we were holding a 90% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. 88% audience score. The numbers on The CW are great, and it held his numbers from Episode 1 and Episode 2. We’ll see how it does tonight on Episode 3. I hope those numbers hold. I think if those numbers hold, then The CW is gonna greenlight it. I can’t see us not getting a second season. When that will be in the state of this pandemic, and when we’ll end up going back to filming, who knows. But I would be very surprised if they don’t green light a second season.

For those who haven’t tuned into the show yet, why should they check out this excellent series?

There are multiple reasons, apart from the fact that it’s just a lavish, gorgeous, fun show. The production value is immense. It’s the most expensive pilot I’ve ever worked on in my 20 year career. Money has been thrown into this and it all comes up on screen. The CG is incredible. The sets are amazing. The costume is amazing. But more than that, it is just a beautiful, fun slice of entertainment in the way that the Eighties classic movies like Teen Wolf and Back To The Future were wonderful family adventures. And I think right now with the craziness is happening in the world, we all need that little slice of entertainment and joy, and that’s where the show is.

You can find a description and preview images for DC’s Stargirl Episode 3 below. Follow @StargirlTV on Twitter for more show updates!

           

DC's Stargirl

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Stargirl -- "Icicle" -- Image Number: STG103a_0369b.jpg -- Pictured: Neil Jackson as Jordan Mahkent -- Photo: Jace Downs/The CW -- © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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Craig Byrne, Editor-In-Chief

KSiteTV Editor-In-Chief Craig Byrne has been writing about TV on the internet since 1995. He is also the author of several published books, including Smallville: The Visual Guide and the show's Official Companions for Seasons 4-7.