Category: Interviews

Interview : Oscar Isaac — There’s a lot of buzz on Oscar Isaac, he just won Best Actor, along with Michael Keaton (Birdman), he’s starring in the new Star Wars film, and he’s playing the wild Apocalypse in X-Men. Jazz Tangcay sat down with Isaac to talk about this exciting time for him and to discuss his latest film, A Most Violent Year. Directed by JC Chandor and starring Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year tells the tale of an immigrant family trying to make it in the oil industry during the worst year on record for crime in the history of New York. The brilliant Isaac centers the film with his studied performance, another versatile turn by Isaac.

Congratulations on the NBR Award.  Thank you.

What was it like seeing the reaction at the World Premiere for A Most Violent Year at AFI Fest?  That was my first time seeing it too. That was a pretty crazy experience because that was the first time I’d ever seen a movie that I’d been in with such a huge audience. It felt great, it felt that by the end, people were getting a sense of who these people really were. It was really rewarding, and it was great to see people laughing as much as they did.

Like the deer scene, people were clapping and I was like, “What!” (laughs). You and Jessica have such great chemistry, you went to Julliard together, tell us how you become friends? We saw each other in plays, and we just really appreciated each other’s work. We had mutual friends, we hung out and it was great. We kept in touch and we were looking for something to do together for a long time. She told me about it, then she told JC (Chandor) about it, and it happened. I couldn’t believe she had sent that email to JC, she just said that recently, and I didn’t evne know about it.I have to say it was one of the best experiences I’ve had of working with someone.

What was it like to work with JC Chandor? It was great. He’s intense, he talks a mile a minute and has a very expansive mind and covers so many topics. When it came to the shoot, he was just so focused, it’s like he harnesses all that energy and lasers it in . He gave me great notes and great direction. Like he was telling me so much about the suits, and I asked, “Why are you telling me so much about the suits?” and he said, “It’s not about fashion, they’re suits of armor.” It totally influenced the way I would move and walk around, and suddenly I felt. He was like a knight, going to war.

You once said, It was how important the right pair of desert boots were needed to getting into character for Inside Llewyn Davis, did you need a similar piece of clothing or item to get into character for Abel? Oh yes, not only the actual suits, but the camel coat, that coat is like his suit of armor.

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Watch Oscar Isaac Geek Out About Being in ‘Star Wars’ and ‘X-Men’

Watch Oscar Isaac Geek Out About Being in ‘Star Wars’ and ‘X-Men’ — Oscar Isaac is one of us, a geek through and through. But at this time last year, we had no idea. A year ago, Isaac was the star of a wonderful Coen Bros. movie, Inside Llewyn Davis, which was a big coming-out party for the actor. Before that he’d appeared mostly as stand out supporting character in Drive, Body of Lies, Robin Hood and others. Fast forward a year, and now we’ve not only seen him fly an X-Wing in the trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens and he’s also been cast as the ultimate mutant baddie, Apocalypse, in X-Men: Apocalypse. Those are two of the biggest franchise movies Hollywood has happening.

Isaac was out promoting his latest film, A Most Violent Year, and was asked about both projects. Turns out, he’s been an Apocalypse fan for decades and he still can’t believe he got to fly an X-Wing. You can watch the Oscar Isaac Star Wars and X-Men videos below.

Both videos come from MTV. First up, here’s Isaac talking about his shot in the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer.

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Film Independent special screening and Q & A of “A Most Violent Year”

Film Independent special screening and Q & A of “A Most Violent Year”

Oscar Isaac took part in the Film Independent special screening and Q & A of “A Most Violent Year” on December 4th, 2014. 35 photos have been added to our photo library.

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Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac Talk ‘A Most Violent Year,’ Bad Auditions at SAG Screening — On Monday, Nov. 17, the filmmaker and stars of “A Most Violent Year” spoke to a SAG audience following a screening of the film. Moderated by Variety’s Jenelle Riley, the conversation was filmed by SAG Foundation, the non-profit arm of SAG and marked the first time actors Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac spoke together at length about the film. They were joined by writer-director J.C. Chandor.

“A Most Violent Year” tells the story of Abel Morales (Isaac), an immigrant in 1981 struggling to grow his business while being investigated by the FBI and dealing with corrupt competitors. Chastain plays his tough-as-nails wife, who happens to have a mob connection.

Chastain not only stars in the film, she was instrumental in getting Chandor to cast Isaac, who she attended the Juilliard School with. “There was another actor attached for awhile,” said Chastain, “But the right actor came on board.” Added Chandor, “Jessica started whispering about this guy to me and it was sort of meant to be. She was sort of acting as an agent.” To which Chastain quipped, “Where’s my 10 percent?”

Chastain also revealed that she sent a long email to Chandor endorsing Isaac–something that Isaac was not aware of until this Q&A.

In addition to talking about preparing for the film, the actors revealed their worst audition stories, both of which involved prominent actors who were not named.  “A Most Violent Year” hits theaters Dec. 31, 2014.

Jessica Chastain & Oscar Isaac – New Featurette For ‘A Most Violent Year’ — Before it lands in theaters, a new featurette from the movie has arrived. “It’s the Wild West in New York City at this moment,” Isaac says, describing the backdrop of the movie he stars in. “There’s a violence around and the general thought is when someone has a gun, you get a gun too to defend yourself.”

A new poster has arrived as well and it quotes The Playlist review from writer James Rocchi. “What good is the American dream if you can’t sleep at night because of the things you did to achieve it?,” he asked rhetorically in his A-grade review. Check out the new poster and feature clip. “A Most Violent Year” opens on December 31st in limited release.

Variety Studio Actors On Actors Presented By Samsung Galaxy

Variety Studio Actors On Actors Presented By Samsung Galaxy

Oscar Isaac and Gugu Mbatha-Raw attend day one Variety Studio: Actors On Actors presented by Samsung Galaxy on November 8, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. The video will stream on beginning November 18, so be sure to check here for Oscar’s interview! 9 photos have been added to our photo gallery.

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Oscar Isaac Q&A: The Two Faces of January, Star Wars, Ex Machina

“It opened doors immediately,” Oscar Isaac muses on working with the Coen brothers. “I got The Two Faces of January a couple of days after I had been cast in Inside Llewyn Davis. The trajectory completely changed once that happened.”

It’s no surprise that the actor’s soulful performance as down-at-heel folk singer Llewyn has proved to be such a turning point. In the two years that have passed since shooting, he’s gone from respected supporting player to compelling leading man, and was recently cast in a major role for JJ Abrams’s Star Wars: Episode VII.

Digital Spy sat down with Isaac this week to talk about his Star Wars fandom, the meaning of Inside Llewyn Davis’s much-discussed cat, and his role opposite Viggo Mortensen in this week’s Patricia Highsmith adaptation The Two Faces of January.

Hossein Amini has said that The Two Faces of January appealed to him as a novel because the characters’ motivations are so unclear, but don’t actors always want to know what their motivation is? Yeah, the motivation is important for me to act it, but I don’t necessarily want the audience to know my motivation. When you watch something, you don’t want to be told what to think, and when movies or performers try to prescribe that it usually doesn’t work, because the camera sees everything. You let the characters’ behavior happen and people will make their own decisions about what it is.

I had worked with Hoss before on Drive, and that was a really great experience because we had to completely remake the character together, and he was so open to it all, and such a gentleman. And when he showed me this script, the characters were so dark and complicated and you never knew what their motivations were, and that’s what I thrive on.

Your character Rydal has a very ambiguous dynamic with Viggo Mortensen’s Chester, it’s paternal but also homoerotic. How did you view their relationship? Well, Viggo is a very, very beautiful man, so there’s always gonna be erotic tension whenever he’s in the room. That work was done for me! But it was fascinating, yeah, Highsmith sets this up straight away and Hoss does the same. Rydal’s father has passed away, and it was clearly not a good relationship, he didn’t go home for the funeral. So suddenly he sees this man, Chester, and he represents everything he wants to be and also everything he hates, everything he wants to kill in himself. So that creates a whole well of emotions that are tapped at different moments.

The ending is much more cathartic and less cynical than the rest of the film leads you to expect – were you surprised by the finale? Yeah, I remember that being a strangely emotional moment. The irony is that it’s much more emotional than his earlier scene with Colette, who he is supposedly in love with. It’s a process of projection, or displacement, where he’s watching his father just disintegrate through Chester. And what Patricia Highsmith and Hoss both picked up on is showing people at their weakest, and ugliest. Viggo was never afraid to be ugly, or stupid, or foolish, and in fact he looked for those places.

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