Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Albany Daily News. Posted by Lexi Schwartz
Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Lexi Schwartz
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Certain people seem to land a particular type of role in their acting careers. During his time on screen, Jason Isaacs spent many years playing a bad guy. Isaacs says that he was bullied while growing up, and that helped him to develop his more sinister characters. More recently, Isaacs has been part of some very notable franchises which include Harry Potter and Star Trek. Currently in his 50s, Isaacs has an impressive resume that he’ll most certainly be adding onto in the coming years.
Isaacs comes from Liverpool, England, where he was born on June 6, 1963. Isaacs spent his early life in England, eventually making his way to London and taking an interest in acting. After graduating high school, Isaacs went to Bristol University where he began taking acting more seriously. Isaacs was on stage frequently and after finishing college continued taking classes throughout the rest of the 1980s to begin his career.
Isaacs’ first role came in 1988 when he appeared in an episode of the TV series “This is David Lander”. The following year he had another pair of guest roles, as well as a starring spot on the show “Capital City”. During this time, Isaacs also made his film debut with a small role in the 1989 movie “The Tall Guy”.
During the 1990s, Isaacs had several TV movies and guest spots, and then he began to focus more on the big screen. Isaacs starred in films such as “Dragonheart”, “Event Horizon” and “Armageddon”. He then wrapped up the decade with “The End of the Affair”.
Isaacs saw his movie career really start to take off in the 2000s, beginning with “The Patriot” in which he played William Tavington. Over the next few years, isaacs had roles in films such as “Resident Evil” and “Peter Pan”. Isaacs also became part of the “Harry Potter” series, playing Lucius Malfoy.
Other 2000s films for Isaacs included “Elektra”, “Grindhouse” and “Good”. Isaacs handled a few television roles during the decade, as well. He was nominated for awards thanks to his roles in “The State Within”, “Brotherhood” and “The Curse of Steptoe”. Since then, Isaacs has been part of the cast of shows such as “Star Trek: Discovery” as Gabriel Lorca.
“The coolest thing has been making friends and the first time I said ‘Energize!’” Isaacs said of his role on “Star Trek”. “It was amazing. The interesting thing about doing ‘Star Trek’ is realizing the power and resonance of this thing. Having done the Harry Potter films, I’ve met an enormous amount of people for whom Harry Potter has been incredibly significant in their lives and has provided light in the darkness for many of them. ‘Star Trek’, that’s been going on for 50 years now, has not only given many people a sense of community but also a moral framework through which to engage with the world.”
Isaacs has also lent his voice to many different shows like “The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance”, and video games including “Hitman”, “Castlevania” and “Spartan: Total Warrior”. His recent films include “The Death of Stalin”, “Fury” and “Look Away”. Coming up, Isaacs has plenty of voice acting works with “Spinning Gold” and “Scoob”.
“I think I was probably always a liar; I just get paid for it now,” Isaacs said about his career. “I imagine like most of us that I’d like obscene amounts of money but the people I met and worked with who have those obscene amounts of money and have obscene amounts of fame have awful lives. Really. I mean hideously compromised lives. And I can go anywhere. No one knows who I am.”
As for how he keeps his youthful appearance, Isaacs says that “I would love to tell you I’ve found the secret to eternal youth. I go to the gym and avoid too many chips. I love to eat, hate to work out.” So if anyone was wondering if there’s a secret, it might just be good genes and sensible habits. “I’m still spending my working life trying to mine people’s souls and now they’re complimenting me in reviews on the amount of time I spend in the gym,” he added.
There’s a certain type of character that Isaacs has been known to play throughout his career. “Look, I play all these tough guys and thugs and strong, complex characters,” Isaacs said. “In real life, I am a cringing, neurotic Jewish mess. Can’t I for once play that on stage?” On his preparation for roles, Isaacs aid that “In the moment of acting you don’t feel like anything, you feel like a person, as much as you can.”
“When I started acting, I thought everything should be issue-based and that there should be a helpline at the end of every program” Isaacs added. “Acting is a really simple job - it’s just hard to do. You just have to be that person with their background in that situation. That’s all it is. My kids do it all the time when they’re dressing up and playing games.”
Isaacs still does get offers to play the bad guy from time to time, but there are other options available to him now. He received a lot of offers following the end of the Harry Potter days, with Isaacs saying that “Perhaps I didn’t want to be the guy that’s crime fighting every week, the guy who wears blue suits and sunglasses. I aspire to more than that in my working life. I want to tell stories in an interesting way, so I said no to all of them. I can’t pretend that it wasn’t an ego boost to be desired in that way.”