I’ve added 4 more high quality stills of Oscar Isaac in Inside Llewyn Davis, and 1 better quality still in The Two Faces of January. Check them out below!
Category: Inside Llewyn Davis
Before we know anything about Llewyn Davis, the rising folk singer at the center of Joel and Ethan Coen’s superb new film “Inside Llewyn Davis,” we see him singing on stage. That’s for the best; as a person, Davis is rudderless, but as a musician he’s immaculate. In a hushed Village club, Davis strums an acoustic guitar and sings a rendition of “Hang Me, Oh Hang Me,” a lament that’s piercing in its vulnerability. Filmed simply and intimately, the scene leaves no doubt about Davis’ artistry though his position in 1961’s Greenwich Village music scene is never less than precarious.
It’s an affecting introduction to the character, as well as to the actor who plays him. For several years, Oscar Isaac has worked consistently in supporting roles: the villainous King John in “Robin Hood”; the haunted ex-con Standard in “Drive.” But “Inside Llewyn Davis” is this Juilliard-trained actor’s first major lead role. That it just so happens to be in a movie directed by his favorite filmmakers is perfectly in keeping with the film’s exploration of how talent and chance mysteriously intertwine, elevating some to stardom while leaving others to be forgotten footnotes.
“This movie is a recognition that there’s very few shooting-star geniuses—and even for those people, I would say that luck plays a huge role,” says Isaac, sitting in a Los Angeles conference room as part of a busy day of promotion that will include photo shoots and Q&As. It’s a hectic schedule, but Isaac seems energized, understanding how good fortune has brought him to this moment. “You know, [the Coens] have been working on this movie for 10 years. Had they gotten it together five years ago, I’m not in it—or if it was five years [from now]. In my career, I’ve had a lot of that: The right thing at the right time got me the job, and then someone saw that, and that got me the next thing. It could just have easily gone the other way, and still could.”
Amiable and thoughtful, Isaac is not much like the stoic, sardonic Davis, a luckless talent at a personal crossroads who’s frustrated by his going-nowhere solo career amidst the blossoming folk revival. And because the Coens, masters of an ambivalent tone previously evident in “A Serious Man” and “The Man Who Wasn’t There,” only reveal hints of his backstory, Davis (like the film itself) is open to interpretation: His life is either a dark comedy or a moving meditation on the unseen forces that shape our destiny.
Express.co.uk — PLAYING struggling folk singer Llewyn Davis, in the Coen brothers’ latest award-winning comedy, was a role Oscar Isaac had been preparing for for 34 years.
Oscar Isaac is about to become very famous for playing a complete nobody. The hugely talented, classically trained actor, who was born in Guatemala and raised in Miami, gives a star-making performance playing a struggling folk singer in 1961 New York in the Coen Brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis.
No matter that he failed to nab an Oscar nomination (the picture as a whole was weirdly overlooked), he has already bagged a Golden Globe nomination and was the toast of the Cannes Film Festival where the picture won the Grand Prix. Now he is white-hot with a string of major movies on the horizon including thriller A Most Violent Year with Jessica Chastain and Hossein Amini’s The Two Faces Of January for British company Working Title.
“The irony is not lost on me; that I am being celebrated for playing someone that is not,” says Isaac, 34, as we chat in a London hotel room, the star as amiable and articulate as his character Llewyn Davis is dejected and monosyllabic.
A bleakly comic character study, the picture was inspired by Dave Van Ronk, a Greenwich Village folk singer who missed out on the big time, eclipsed by his protegé Bob Dylan.
EmpireOnline.com — Oscar Isaac dropped by the Empire Podcast booth a few weeks ago talking about “cat agitators”, “ass agitators” and having sex with robots. He also addresses working with the Coen brothers on Inside Llewyn Davis and much more! His interview starts on 50:32. You can listen to it below.
GQ-Magazine.co.uk — Sad, strange, funny and folky, Inside Llewyn Davis sees the Coen Brothers reteam with producer T Bone Burnett for their most successful musical partnership since the Soggy Bottom Boys of O Brother, Where Art Thou? last left the stage. Loosely based on the career of singer songwriter Dave Van Ronk, the film focuses on the thwarted ambition of a musical misanthrope – played brilliantly by Drive‘s Oscar Isaac – in New York’s Greenwich Village in 1961.
Sitting in London’s Soho Hotel, Isaac possesses none of Davis’ prickliness but does share his character’s trademark intensity. He is, however, far better company; when reminded of his recent appearance inRolling Stone‘s “The Hot List” the 33-year-old recalls his girlfriend’s only response was, “You’re not thatcool”. We beg to differ: born in Guatemala, raised in Miami, Isaac is as comfortable acting on stage at the Juilliard School as performing in a dive bar with his old ska band The Blinking Underdogs. His CV also shows a resilience few can match: the praise he received for his supporting role in Soderbergh’s Che biopic must have been much needed after appearing in Madonna’s WE, Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch and the underwhelming The Bourne Legacy. To mark the debut of a film finally worthy of his talents arriving in British cinemas, we talk to Isaac about being intimidated by John Goodman, why not everything in the Coens’ universe makes sense and his worst ever audition.
GQ: On your first session together to help prepare you for the role, T Bone Burnett played you Tom Waits’ Bad As Me and left the room. What happened next?
Oscar Isaac: It never really changed – there was always that kind of vibe. He’d say, “play me a song”, I’d play a little something of it and then he’d say, “Do you want to smoke a bit of weed?” He kept saying, “Play it like you’re playing it to yourself.” I would have that stewing in my brain – “Play it like you’re playing it toyourself? What does that mean, man?” That’s how he works and its no wonder he and the Coens get along so well, because it’s the same thing. It’s kind of a crazy phenomenon: both T Bone and the Coens, their tone is so specific. You can easily tell what is a Coen Brothers or a T Bone Burnett piece of art. And yet it’s not an imposed, precise, calibrated, intellectualized, predetermined thing at all. It’s a weird thing when the vibe is set for that to just be drawn out of people. It percolates up! I was expecting a team of [musical] experts, fingerpickers, videos I had to watch, reproducing certain sounds. I think they did for [Johnny Cash biopic] Walk The Line because it had to be this qualitative thing. But with this one it was much more murky and ambiguous. So there was never a real conversation: “Do I sound like Dave Van Ronk?” “Idon’t sound like Dave Van Ronk?” “Do I just do what I’m doing?”
How helpful was Dave Van Ronk’s memoir The Mayor of MacDougal Street?
I went back to it, because as an actor it’s just about what inspires curiosity and creativity. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I grabbed on to Dave Van Ronk for dear life. But it’s impossible for me to be Dave Van Ronk – John Goodman’s character has a lot more to do with Dave Van Ronk than I do. Van Ronk was a huge Swedish f***ing howler – that’s not me. But his story, his thoughts about life, his humour, his aggression and his surliness – there’s a great description of Dylan first meeting Van Ronk in Chronicle where he has the music shop. “One winter day a big burly guy stepping in off the street – he looked like he’d come from the Russian embassy”. He’s very surly with the guitar and doesn’t want to talk to anybody. I really liked that. The Coens didn’t really refer to it that much again because they didn’t do such a departure.
Latina.com — Oscar Isaac is a lot of things: a Juilliard School graduate, a ukulele player and a fan of the late, great Puerto Rican theater and film actor Raul Julia. He’s also potentially one of Tinseltown’s next great leading men.
Despite his reluctance to admit it, Isaac would be hard-pressed to deny the evidence: he burnished his bad-guy bona fides as a brainwashed assassin in The Bourne Legacy, showed off his comic timing as ballad-crooning rock singer in Channing Tatum and Rosario Dawson’s 10 Years and tackles drama as a teacher helping transform an inner city school with Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis in Won’t Back Down, out now.
I have a feeling the anxiety of, ‘Oh my gosh! I’m never going to get a job again,’ maybe never goes away, no matter how much it seems the contrary.
Considering his past, that anxiety is understandable. As a child of divorced parents, the actor admits he clung to acting as a way of coping with family drama.
My shyness would go away and certain big emotions that I didn’t understand were given focus. Acting is a way of being able to explore specific parts of myself.
And he’s done plenty of exploring, following in the footsteps of his idol, Julia, as soon as he graduated from Juilliard in 2005, when he landed a leading role in Shakespeare in the Park’s revival of Two Gentlemen of Verona—a role that had earned Julia a Tony nomination in the ’70s.
As in Julia’s case, Isaac’s ethnically ambiguous looks make him a casting director’s dream. Since 2006, after dropping his surname, Hernandez, to avoid being typecast in Hollywood, he’s played Joseph, Jesus’ dad, in Catherine Hardwicke’sThe Nativity Story; an Iraqi in Ridley Scott’s Body of Lies and an English king in Scott’s Robin Hood. He also snagged choice supporting roles in the Ryan Gosling thriller Drive and Madonna’s W.E.
But Isaac’s true breakthrough arrived late last year, with his first starring role—one of the most coveted in Hollywood—as the titular folk singer inInside Llewyn Davis. The drama is written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, who launched Javier Bardem onto Hollywood’s A-list with his Oscar-winning performance in No Country for Old Men.
Not that Isaac spends too much time dreaming of little golden statues. “I can’t anticipate [winning an Oscar], because often you set the bar so high and things don’t happen,” Isaac says. “My goal is to continue doing work that’s inspiring to me. The fact that Inside Llewyn Davis happened is an incredibly rewarding feeling…a feeling that I’m on the right path.”
And that path includes music: Isaac, who as a teen played guitar in a punk-ska band, performed one of his songs in 10 Years and plays the ukulele in Won’t Back Down. He also contributed five songs to Inside Llewyn Davis’s soundtrack. Isaac even uses his tunes as part of his dating repertoire. “I write love songs; those are the best ones to write,” he says. “You play songs for girls—that’s the thing to do. The song, sometimes, seals the deal.”
So does being one of the most talented actors in Hollywood, Oscar. Just a thought.
Westworld.com — Three types of artists hinge on authenticity: punk bands, folk singers, and rappers. Actors, like Oscar Isaac, are by definition phonies. But the star of Joel and Ethan Coen’s new film,Inside Llewyn Davis, gets that pressure to keep it real. In high school, he was a straight-edge punk frontman in bands like The Worms and The Blinking Underdogs. And to playLlewyn Davis, the cheerful Guatemala-born, Miami-raised performer sank into the self-sanctified life of a homeless singer-songwriter in 1961 New York who’d rather starve to death — or, really, rather mooch off his friends — than sell out. (As for rapping, maybe he’ll make that movie later.)
“You’re always looking for who means it more,” says Isaac. “That’s why you have artists who end up killing themselves, so you knew they meant it — so it wasn’t some affectation.”
He couldn’t fake it, either. For chunks of the film, the Coens plant their camera to watch Isaac strum and sing old songs about fishing and lynching that neither he nor his character wrote, but that both have to channel through their soul.