Catching Up with Julia Jones

Julia Jones and Taylor Lautner in a scene from The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1. (Used with permission.)

Julia Jones doesn’t get recognized much when she returns home to Boston, but it doesn’t bother her. “I could never live with the kind of fame that Rob and Kristen have. It’s crazy,” the 31-year-old actress said at a recent press event to promote the DVD release of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1.

If you haven’t seen any of the films in the Twilight series, you’re outnumbered by the millions of fans who can’t get enough of Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner’s six-pack. In the final three films based on the bestsellers by Stephanie Meyer, Jones plays Leah Clearwater, the only female werewolf to join the wolf pack that hunts vampires.When I asked her to recall one of the toughest moments she had while filming the last two films in the Twilight saga, she refers to the time she was stuck in a Vancouver hotel for two weeks while the rest of the cast filmed the famed wedding scene with Bella and Edward. “It was just me and eight security guards, which was very depressing.” She finally wangled her way onto the set and says everyone was very teary when filming ended.

Jones grew up in Jamaica Plain, started dancing at Boston Ballet when she was four, and performed every year in The Nutcracker at the Wang Theatre. “I loved being in the opening party scene the best,” she says. While attending Boston Latin School, she modeled in numerous commercials and print ads and credits her Boston Ballet teacher Sydney Leonard with instilling in her the kind of discipline that has carried her through “almost every situation.”

Attending Columbia University in NYC, she continued her acting journey with the help Ruth Babson, with whom she studied 25 hours a week. Her hard work paid off with roles in films like the indie The Look and Jonah Hex opposite Josh Brolin. Then along came Twilight.

“I got a phone call from a casting agent to come in and audition for the Twilight movie Eclipse. I had not read any of the books, so I quickly ran to Barnes and Noble and flipped through them.” After reading twice for the director and casting crew, she agonized for a month until she heard the good news — only to be told she had to keep it a secret for another month. “I couldn’t tell anyone, not even my family.”

Though Jones now lives in Los Angeles, she’ll always have fond memories of Boston. “My friends and I used to hang out at the first JP Licks about two blocks from my house. We’d go there every day and do our homework and stay until midnight because it was open late.”

She’s quick to pick her favorite Boston-bred actor: Matt Damon. Apparently Damon did some acting at The Wheelock Family Theatre in Boston, where Julia also performed when she was younger. “I thought, if he can make it in Hollywood, so can I.” She coyly confesses to a fan moment when she saw Damon at the premiere of last year’s Contagion, but was shy about approaching him.

That may change soon. Thanks to Twilight, Jones’ star is now on the rise. Catch her in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2, which comes out in November, or in two other upcoming films: Winter in the Blood and Missed Connections.