Hannah’s falling star
THE cast and crew of Hannah Montana let out a laugh that shakes the soundstage walls, reacting to a tumble from a car by series regular Jason Earles.
As Jackson Stewart, screen brother of Miley Cyrus, it’s the kind of physical humour for which Earles (right) is renowned.
He follows a long line of comedians who have brought slapstick to television— Dick Van Dyke, Bill Murray and Michael Richards among them.
‘‘I’m the guy who is willing to take the fall,’’ Earles says.
‘‘I always try to make big choices, but I hope that it’s not completely absurd. There’s a fine line between just being so over the top that people are like, ‘Oh my gosh’ versus being really committed to a joke and taking it to a level that makes it really funny.’’
Jackson has grown on the show to be the go-to guy for physical humour. The character was originally supposed to be so introverted he talked through a hand puppet because he was not able to handle the success of his sister.
Earles’ acting instincts come from years of work. His credits include a variety of projects including American Pie Presents Band Camp, National Treasure and The Shield.
Nothing has brought him the kind of attention he has received for being part of the Hannah Montana universe, but he says it’s been an easy place to work because Miley and her father, Billy Ray Cyrus, are so laid-back.
‘‘I just watch how they interact and then figure out how I best fit into that,’’ Earles says.