Exclusive Interview: Oscar Isaac Talks Star Wars: The Force Awakens And X-Men: ApocalypsePosted by Wilson Morales
December 14, 2015
In just a few days, the most anticipated film in the last ten years will hit theaters when Star Wars: The Force Awakens is released on December 18, 2015.
Directed by J.J. Abrams, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is set 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi, and features a new generation of swashbuckling heroes and shadowy villains, as well as the return of fan-favorite smugglers, princesses, and Jedi.
The seventh installment in the series will stars Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels, and Peter Mayhew reprising their roles along with newcomers Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow.
For Oscar Isaac, who plays an X-Wing pilot named Poe Daemon, the role is not just another character he’s playing. The franchise itself holds a special place in the Guatemalan native’s heart. These last few years, Isaac has racked up an impressive list of roles and films including the critically acclaimed Coen Brothers film Inside Llewyn Davis, 2014’s A Most Violent Year, and this year’s Ex Machina. Besides films, he also starred in HBO’s Show Me a Hero this past summer. For his performance he garnered a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film.
To top it off, Isaac also landed the coveted role of Apocalypse in next year’s X-Men: Apocalypse, the sequel to 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past and the ninth installment in the X-Men film series.
In speaking exclusively with Blackfilm.com, Isaac talks about his experience on The Force Awakens, as well as playing Apocalypse.
Oscar Isaac: I would say Poe is the resistants’ most daring and there to prove that he can be there, and sometimes recklessly so. He believes in the Force. He’s the kind you want next to you when you’re in a fight.
What ultimately led you to say yes to this film?
OI: I think it was working with J.J. Abrams. He’s got such enthusiasm and energy and incredible eye. He’s a visual artist that I wanted to work with. Also, “Star Wars” was the first movie I ever saw in a movie theater with “Return of the Jedi.” That was my first initiation not only to the world of Star Wars but cinema. It held a place in my heart. I grew up with Star Wars. It’s always been a part of my family. Every time there was a new Star Wars movie we would go party and dress up like the characters. It was one of the fun parts of my life growing up. So, to be able to fulfill a bit of a childhood dream, even though I never dreamed that I would actually be in a movie, but I always imagined myself in the Star Wars world. When the opportunity came around, I jumped at the chance.
Having mentioned that you have seen all of the films, which character did you dress up as?
OI: I dressed up as a gonk druid which is a gray box just because I was lazy. I didn’t feel like making a costume.
Which is your favorite of the six previous films?
OI: Well, for me, since it’s the first movie I ever saw, it’s “Return of the Jedi.” My favorite character was Lando Calrissian. I had him as my favorite toy. I would always play with him as he was dressed as the guard and he had that very cool helmet. I also liked him because he was in between good and bad. You weren’t sure. He was a very mysterious, charming character.
How was working on the set?
OI: It was great. It felt like we were making an authentic Star Wars movie. You have Han Solo, Chewbaca, C3P0, Carrie Fisher and there were all there. It was an amazing experience to tell part of their story and create new characters.
Can you talk about the droid BB-8 that’s with your character?
OI: I did a little bit of green screen, but most of the stuff was practical. How they built that droid is amazing. They had a few different versions. They actually interact with different characters. They built an X-wing that would open automatically and the lights would fire up. I was in the cockpit that they could move and it had cameras inside. All of those things come together to create this incredible vision.
Why do you think this film has created a great massive attraction than other films or franchises?
OI: I think that the original films created such an impact that I think that everyone that saw those movies and grew up with those movies has passed on that love and desire to the next generation. Even kids that aren’t familiar with the franchise are basing their desire on the excitement that others have. They have inherited that love for it. I think it’s this cultural phenomenon that caught fire.
With the release of the X-Men: Apocalypse trailer last week, can you talk the character a bit?
OI: It’s very cool. It’s going to be in front of Star Wars when they show the trailers in theaters. I’m very excited. We’ll see how many people realize that Apocalypse and Poe are the same person.
How cool is it to be part of two huge franchises?
OI: It’s great because they are so vastly different from each other. They are completely different characters. I’m just having fun at this time and I’m really thankful and blessed that I’m getting the opportunities to play different roles and let’s people know that they never know what to expect from me.
With Poe, the audience doesn’t know what to expect because it’s a new character. Apocalypse, on the other hand, is a character people know from the comic books. Will the film present something different from what fans know?
OI: Depends which comic you are talking about. There’s X-Factor, there’s X-Men, there’s The Age of Apocalypse, there’s the animated series, there’s X-Men: Evolution, so when someone says Apocalypse without referring to a specific comic book, it’s a very general question. They may want to state which is the Apocalypse they like first. He’s definitely not going to be everyone’s favorite version of Apocalypse, but he’s my favorite version of Apocalypse. It’s something from the 80s mixed in with something new. They either create a backstory that he was this mutant from Ancient Egypt that found this technology and they explore that story or they send him to another universe where he’s more powerful than he’s ever been. He’s turned all these other X-Men into villains. There are different ways that artists and creative people get the chance to explore his story on a massive scale if they do. In this one, Bryan Singer and Simon Kinberg took the inspiration from many different sources, many different versions of Apocalypse throughout the ages and found the one that we thought was the most interesting.
Did you read all of the different comics that featured Apocalypse or some of them?
OI: I read all of them. I love Apocalypse. I grew up collecting X-Factor. I remember when the first comic book came out, and for me, especially because I grew up in a religious household, I knew about the book of revelations, the second coming, the Apocalypse, and then you see this comic book character that is supposed to embody all of these ideas. For some people they just thought he was this big blue guy and it was survival of the fittest, but for me, that was less interesting. The most interesting part for me was the Blibical aspect and end of the world and the revelation of the way things were before.
With two huge franchises, and a Golden Globe nomination. How do you stay humble?
OI: I have my family and I know that it’s a ride so I’m happy that things are going really well. You never know where things will go and for me, I just keep my head down, keep working, and try to do something worthwhile as an actor.