Oscar Isaac on Star Wars, His Old Ska Band, and My So-Called Life

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You may have seen or heard Rolling Stone did a big feature piece on Star Wars actor Oscar Isaac. If you didn’t actually get around to reading it you might not know he used to have a ska band or invited Claire Danes to star in one of his young productions. Yup.

Ok, he obviously talked about Star Wars too. Let’s talk about that first. Rolling Stone reports:

It’s clear that Poe Dameron is a far bigger deal in Episode VIII. Rumors suggested that the filmmakers enlarged the role because of the response to Isaac’s performance, but he suggests it’s simply because the character is no longer marked for death. “In the new film, there’s a lot more to do,” Isaac says. “What happens now is the heroes get tested. All three of them” – Poe, Daisy Ridley’s Rey and John Boyega’s Finn – “get tested immensely.” And how’s BB-8 doing? “BB-8’s doing all right. BB-8 gets tested too! Everybody gets tested! It’s the dark second chapter, but not really dark.”

And then I saw the line,”When Isaac enrolled in Juilliard in 2001, he left behind a promising, if already deeply out-of-fashion, Florida ska-punk band.”

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I won’t delve into my own ska past just now but suffice to say, I’m even more in love.

They also spoke to him about his old comic-collecting days:

On a corner couch, Isaac’s childhood friend and longtime musical collaborator Bruce Ferguson is following his chord changes on electric guitar. He and Isaac are an amusingly incongruous pair: lanky and bespectacled, with a scraggly beard, Ferguson looks like the astrophysics Ph.D. candidate he once was (he’s now a private tutor for Manhattan kids). In their own school days in Florida, the pair collected X-Men comics together, even played a Marvel role-playing game, so Isaac had his friend help him formulate ideas about playing Apocalypse – a part he embraced out of pure fandom. “I was really into the character,” Isaac says. “I’m not a huge comic-book-movie fan. I like them and I appreciate them, but it’s started to feel a little bit repetitive. I did really like Deadpool, and the last X-Men.”

And on the intense love of him online, “The Internet never struck me as being into monogamous relationships,” he says with a small laugh. “It’s very promiscuous, the Internet.” Shh, Internet Boyfriend, shh.

They also go into his nationality and how it factored into his acting career:

Isaac’s father is Cuban; his mother is Guatemalan. His father left Cuba for the U.S. right before the revolution, then attended medical school in Guatemala, where he met Isaac’s mom. They brought Oscar to the U.S. when he was five months old. He has complex feelings about his background and its relationship with his work and his public persona. He dropped his actual last name, Hernandez, in favor of his middle name, Isaac, early in his career, and was immediately offered a much wider variety of auditions – though, ironically, the change meant he also almost lost a part meant for “a Cuban guy.” “They define you – ‘Latino actor, we’ll just bring him in for Spanish commercials,’ ” Isaac says. “I’m interested in telling stories about the human experience that are not necessarily just about my personal circumstances. So how do I navigate that? I feel like I’ve been able to.” At the same time, Isaac wants to embrace his identity, and he knows there are people in the U.S. and Guatemala who “want me to kind of carry the torch.”

But finally, I must note the bit of the feature that was most wonderful to me personally. He started acting out at a young age which led him to all sorts of performances. “In high school, he began writing an invitation to Claire Danes, then the teen star of My So-Called Life, to appear in one of his productions, but he reconsidered.” I would humbly ask him to reconsider. Also, if I ever get to interview him we will be discussing My So-Called Life. You can be sure of it.

And because it’s Friday. Here’s a photo of that cover shot being taken.

Crew making sure #oscarisaac and his dog Moby are happy #bts

A photo posted by Mark Seliger (@markseliger) on

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4 Responses to “Oscar Isaac on Star Wars, His Old Ska Band, and My So-Called Life

  1. VBartilucci says:

    “I won’t delve into my own ska past just now”

    I demand you see your porkpie hat and narrow tie collection.

  2. Jason Seas says:

    How have people not unearthed videos of his skapunk band yet? I think this needs to be seen/heard.

  3. VindicaSean says:

    To all of the people who say we don’t have movie stars with the pure sexual wattage of James Dean or Steve McQueen, I humbly present them with this very article.

    He is, what Joey Tribbiani thought he was, when he said, “How you doin?”

  4. I adore this man. Also, one of the few that can almost spike the needle off of “0” on the Kinsey Scale for me, lol.