How the gangly and unassuming Jacob Lofland is able to fill a room with his 20-year-old presence escapes me long after our interview in a Brooklyn barroom—but then it hits me. There are two of him. There is Briggsville Jacob (Arkansas, population: 400) and Hollywood Jacob (Los Angeles, population: the world).
Briggsville Jacob likes hunting and racing 4x4s. He can operate a bulldozer. Briggsville Jacob brought his high school girlfriend to the photo shoot today.
Hollywood Jacob acts opposite massive stars—Matthew McConaughey in Mud, for example—and appears in fashion editorials shot by famous photographers. Hollywood Jacob says things like, “I wear what I wear and I’m comfortable and everybody else can just fuck off.”
Both Jacobs smile a lot. Both feature an instantly amicable Arkansas twang. Both Jacobs have a comfort with themselves that seems alien for someone under the legal drinking age. “My parents had me late, and I’m an only child,” he explains. “I had to learn how to talk to my parents’ friends at a young age, to not act like an idiot in front of them. I learned how to speak to adults really fast, because I didn’t have anyone else around.”
Earlier, Briggsville Jacob told a wardrobe stylist that his hometown has no cell service. The stylist seemed shocked at first and then impressed. “There’s actually a big tree in my town we call the cellphone tree because it’s the last place there’s reception before you head into town,” he explained. “You can see people gathered around there talking and checking their phones. Once you go past that, you’re gone. Off the grid.”
Briggsville Jacob doesn’t like using his smartphone, but Hollywood Jacob thinks it’s a good idea. “It’s kind of a weird thing for me,” he explains. “I use it for work when I have to, to connect with people, but other than that I’d rather people didn’t know what I was doing. I’d rather keep my business to me and theirs to them.”
Hollywood Jacob has new projects coming up this year. There is Go North, a post-apocalyptic drama, and The Son, a 10-episode AMC show starring Pierce Brosnan. Based dually in 1849 and 1909, Jacob’s character gets abducted by Native Americans in frontier-era Texas and grows up in a Comanche camp. “It was a lot of fun,” he says.
That’s something you’ll hear Briggsville Jacob say a lot: that all of this is a lot of fun.
“The best thing about my job is getting to meet all these diverse, interesting people,” he tells me. “And sure, someone like Matthew or Pierce is cooler than the average person, but they’re just normal people going to work at their jobs every day, too. You can kind of soak up a little bit from watching each of them and how they handle the task they’re given to do.”
Both Jacobs like going fast. “Vehicles are my thing,” he says. “I love cars and driving in general. My whole family would race go-karts on Saturdays starting when I was 12. And my dad and I were constantly in the shop working on engines. I am leasing an Audi A4 right now that I absolutely love. And then I have a few full-size trucks. I live in Arkansas and if you don’t have a truck, they’ll kick you out.”
Hollywood Jacob has a backup plan. “My dad always told me that if acting doesn’t work out, there’s that bulldozer waiting for me back home,” he says. Mainly because Briggsville Jacob is never, ever moving to Hollywood. “I’m not against maybe having a place there someday,” he says. “But no, I’ll never change my address. The Arkansas driver’s license stays the same.”