Jackson Curtis is the main protagonist of the 2009 film 2012. A struggling science fiction writer who has to work as a limousine chauffeur to make ends meet. He is the father of Noah and Lilly Curtis and the ex-husband (later he and Kate get back together) of Kate Curtis. He is portrayed by John Cusack who also voiced Dimitri.

Jackson is a survivor of the 2012 apocalypse.


Jackson Curtis is seen living in Los Angeles, California in the year 2012. He was first oblivious that the apocalypse is coming, only hearing news on the TV. He is a science fiction writer who published his first book: Farewell Atlantis and he also works as a limo driver for Yuri Karpov.

After Jackson is woken up by a mini quake, he sees the time on his watch and realises that he is late to take his children out camping to Yellowstone National Park. He then hurriedly gets up and goes to the bathroom to brush his teeth. His phone rings which annoys him as he dips water in his hair to clean it, he then picks his phone up and answers it. It is his ex-wife Kate who is annoyed of where he is, while talking to her, he trips over some copies of his book Farewell Atlantis before heading out of his house.

He then tries to take his car, but is angry and annoyed that it is broken down and has to take his limo instead. As he drives, he sees a (possibly religious) wack sitting on the street corner and holding up a cardboard sign that reads "REPENT THE END IS NEAR". This gets him thinking until he arrives outside his ex-wife's house. He then honks his limo horn to make his family know that he is here, his 7 year old daughter Lilly and 13 year old son Noah heard it and went outside. While Lilly was delighted to see him, Noah was cold toward him after he abandoned him and Lilly, usually calling him “Jackson” instead of “Dad” which annoys Jackson and tells him to call him “Dad”, but Noah ignores.

Kate then comes out and hands Jackson the camping tent and supplies, while talking Gordon comes out of the garage talking to a friend on his earpiece. Before he leaves for work, Gordon greets Jackson and tells him that he has a nice limo, he then says goodbye to Noah, Lilly and Kate before going into his Porsche. Lilly then reminds Kate to tell Jackson about the thing that Lilly has to wear Pull-Ups every night to stop her from wetting her bed. Kate then tells Jackson not to spend too much time on his laptop, Jackson agrees. 

Camping in Yellowstone National Park 

A few days later, Jackson and Lilly are singing a song in the limo, while Noah sits quietly in the back playing on his PSP. They lose connection with the radio as they instead hear a radio host talking that government people are flying all morning, which makes Jackson, Noah and Lilly very confused.

While they are hiking through Yellowstone, Jackson tells Lilly and Noah that he is taking them to a place where he and Kate used to hang out a lot. Noah then coldly tells Jackson that he doesn’t want to hear where he and Kate had sex and calls him “Jackson” which makes Jackson even more annoyed. Lilly then spots a fence, they then ignore it and continue by climbing over it, despite Noah telling them about the signs.

They come across an area that was once a lake that he and Kate would visit before they were married. Suddenly, the U.S. Military arrives and informs them of being in a restricted area. The military brings Jackson and his kids to their government base.

Dr. Adrian Helmsley informs them that the area that was once the lake is now unstable and they should stay away from any restricted areas. Jackson finds out that Adrian is also one of the few people who have read the science fiction novel Jackson got published.

On their way back to the campground, the family run into a suspicious Yellowstone hermit named Charlie Frost, who is truly a conspiracy theorist and scientist running a radio show from his trailer. Later that night, Jackson looks on his laptop to see if any parts of the Yellowstone are restricted. Noah is then bitten by a mosquito and asks Jackson if he sprayed the tent. Jackson tells him that he is going to get bug spray the next day, and Lilly tells Jackson that he wouldn’t work on his book. Jackson truthfully said that he is not, and then moves his laptop aside and helps Lilly get ready for bed. He sees Noah’s phone and asked him who gave it to him. Noah replied that Gordon gave it to him for his birthday, Jackson then tried to talk with him, but Noah closes the tent door.

Jackson visits his trailer later that night and Charlie tells Jackson all about the apocalypse and how it is soon coming, and the government is hiding when that will be, but Charlie also informs him that they are building ships to rescue people who can afford a ticket. Charlie then shows Jackson an animated video made by himself talking about the apocalypse. Jackson felt that Charlie was acting crazy and he leaves.

The next day, Jackson, Noah and Lilly went to get medication for mosquito bites. While doing that, they hear that a supermarket in LA had been hit by an earthquake and no one had got hurt. Noah then gets a call from Kate (she and Gordon had survived the earthquake in the store), who wants them to come home.

2012 apocalypse 

On December 21st 2012, Jackson, Noah, and Lilly return home to Los Angeles as Kate was glad that they were okay, Jackson felt left out after he saw Noah hugging Gordon but he was not jealous. Jackson goes back to work and delivers Yuri’s Russian twin boys to the airport. The twins are rude to him, saying he will die and they will live because they have tickets to a big ship. This immediately sparks his attention and he eventually realised that the apocalypse is beginning. Jackson then rents a plane and rushes back to Kate's house, telling everyone to pack everything up because the government is lying about the worst being over, and there is more to come. Kate and the family think Jackson is talking crazy and she hangs up the phone on him.

Just as this happens, a 10.9 earthquake shakes the entire city and the house begins falling apart. Jackson arrives with the limousine and the family escape from the crumbling city of Los Angeles on the plane piloted by Gordon as the other pilot Jackson hired was killed. The five then watch in horror as Los Angeles slides into the Pacific Ocean. 

Jackson and the family return to Yellowstone to get a map to the ships from Charlie Frost. Jackson and Lilly take off in his trailer and find Charlie at the top of a mountain. He tells Jackson where the map is in his trailer and is killed by the Yellowstone Caldera's volcanic explosion. Jackson and Lilly return to the runway where the rest of the family is waiting. He searches for the map and is nearly killed by the crumbling of the earth at the location of the trailer. This supposed death devastates Noah and Lilly. Gordon is ready to fly the plane out of Yellowstone, but Noah demands, "He's my dad!! We're gonna wait!!" But Gordon starts the plane anyway. As Kate is pulling the ladder up, she suddenly sees a hand coming out of the fissure. Jackson miraculously climbed out. Kate quickly tells Gordon to slow down the plane, as Jackson stands up and runs toward the plane away from the ash cloud. eventually climbs out and escapes with everyone on the plane.

When looking at the map, he discovers the ships are in China, and concludes that they need a larger plane to get there. They end up in a destroyed Las Vegas, where they run into the the Russian twins Jackson drove to the airport, their father Yuri, his girlfriend Tamara, and their dog Caesar.

Yuri is a Russian billionaire and has a huge plane of his own, holding all of the sports cars he was to show off in Vegas. Their pilot, Sasha, agrees to fly them to China, but he needs another pilot, and Jackson pushes Gordon into co-piloting the plane with Sasha. Jackson, Yuri, and their families nearly escape a toxic cloud of ash headed for Las Vegas, but lose a part of their landing gear.

While relaxing on the plane, Jackson and Yuri have a discussion while Noah talks with Alec and Oleg. Sasha and Gordon see fire and smoke coming from the clouds, Sasha then sends Gordon to tell Jackson and Yuri to come up to the cockpit to take a look of what is going on. While looking, they watch in horror as the islands of Hawaii are covered in lava as the Hawaiian Hotspot had erupted. Sasha then tells them that they are low on fuel and that they are going have to make a landing in the South China Sea.

Many hours later, Jackson is sitting in a car trying to hear news on the radio but cannot get any signal as gigantic tsunamis have flooded the continents. Kate then comes into the car and reminds Jackson of the time they camped in Yellowstone and had a talk about how they changed since they separated. 

What they do not realize is that the plates have shifted thousands of miles, and Asia is now where the Pacific Ocean was. They crash land, and everyone gets out by driving one of Yuri's cars out of the plane, but the crash kills Sasha, which devastates Tamara, as he was her secret lover.

A Chinese government rescue plane carrying animals spots the group in the snow, but they only rescue Yuri Karpov, his twins, and their dog, because they have tickets to get on the ships, abandoning Jackson, his family, Gordon, and Tamara (because he knew she was cheating on him).

Their only choice is to walk and try to find help, eventually finding a group of Chinese people including a young monk named Nima and his grandparents, trying to get on the ships with the help of his brother, Tenzin, who works on them. The brothers' grandmother forces Tenzin to help Jackson and his companions get on the ship as well. Tenzin agrees.

While they are trying to sneak through the bowels of the American ship, one of Tenzin's tools gets caught in the gears of the gate to the ship, leaving it slightly open, not allowing the ship to move. Tenzin's leg is severely injured and Gordon is killed in the gears in front of Jackson. The water begins filling up and Tamara saves Lilly and Caesar from drowning, sacrificing herself. Just as Adrian arrives on the communicator, Jackson desperately screams to open the door, but the door is sealed off because it's trying to prevent more water from entering the ship. There was no room to get any air to breathe in the chamber. It was a suicide mission, but Jackson volunteers to go in and remove the tool. As he is about to swim to the chamber, Noah desperately asks his father to help him out. But Jackson denies him the permission, as he says Noah needs to watch over Lilly. Kate walks over to Jackson, and they share a passionate kiss before Jackson enters. Kate says, "I love you" to Jackson, worried that they won't see each other again, afraid Jackson might die. So Jackson enters the chamber and tries to pull the Impact Driver out out, but it's jammed tightly. With help from his son Noah, they are successful. The ship managed to start its engines before it could impact Mount Everest. Jackson is nearly killed from drowning, but manages to get out.


Jackson, Kate, Noah, and Lilly all survived the apocalypse, along with Yuri's sons, who decide to share Caesar with Jackson's family. They all are forced to begin a new life and find a new home in the now-transformed continent of Africa.

Skills and Abilities

  • Science-Fiction Writer: Jackson is an author who writes science-fiction novels, which one of them was his recent published book, Farewell Atlantis. He has published 422 copies of his, as mentioned by Gordon Silberman and Laura Wilson commented that she liked his book.
  • Master Driver: Jackson is an expert driver, able to drive a limo, car and a camper with no difficulty or causing accidents. He was able to drive his limo through the earthquake that hit Los Angeles, California, avoiding falling obstacles and is able to drive fast through a collapsing building. He was capable of driving Charlie Frost's camper through the eruption of the Yellowstone Caldera and driving a Bentley car out of the Antonov's cargo without injuring himself or his family.
  • High-Level Intelligence: Jackson is very intelligent as he is able to come up with a plan to survive the end of the world by getting to the Arks with his family and friend, Gordon Silberman. He planned to get back to Yellowstone to retrieve Charlie's map that will show the Arks' location and finding a larger plane in Las Vegas in order to make it to China.
  • Survival Skills: Jackson has good survival skills. He was able to survive the cataclysmic earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis during the 2012 apocalypse, along with his family and friends, without getting killed by one of the disasters.
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