Han­nah’s fall­ing star

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Guide - RICK BENT­LEY

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.

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