In this month’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Oscar Isaac and I play Poe Dameron and from what we gather so far, he’s an X-Wing fighter pilot for the resistance.
Thanks to Walt Disney, we find out more about the star’s involvement in the film.
How did you first get involved?
Oscar Isaac: I got a call to come meet J.J. Abrams in Paris and I showed up without any information as to exactly what it was. I had a vague feeling that it was about “Star Wars” but even that was a bit under wraps. So I came to Paris and sat with him and Kathy Kennedy and Larry Kasdan and they just told me about the film and the role that they were interested in me playing.
What was your reaction?
Oscar Isaac: I just tried to stay cool and stay calm and listen and take it in. But really just utter excitement and a bit of disbelief that this was actually happening.
Were you a “Star Wars” fan?
Oscar Isaac: I’ve been a Star Wars fan as an adult and a child. It was a big part of my family. My uncle, cousin and brother were huge “Star Wars” fans and so they collected all the toys. So I, by proxy, was also a fan. The first film I remember seeing as a child was “Return of the Jedi.” I think for a lot of people in the film business in general, “Star Wars” is a milestone. For some people, it’s why they do what they do, so to be asked to be a part of it was a huge, huge honor and it just created such excitement.
How did J.J. Abrams give you his vision of the film?
Oscar Isaac: J.J. Abrams spoke a bit about the vision of the film and also about how he wanted to approach the film by going back to the roots of it and shooting it on film, making it a very textured world. As far as the performances, it feels like he sees things on three levels, at least in the way that I see it. One is visually the story that’s being told, so you can turn it on silent and still have communicated what’s happening emotionally. Secondly, it’s the energy, which is really the thrust of the whole thing; the proper level of energy for any given scene.
Then third is the nuance of the characters and how they interact with each other, and what they say, and how they respond and how that reveals who the characters are. So that’s been interesting to play with. So any suggestions I might have come from a place of how those three things get affected and how they can be highlighted. That was an interesting thing because with playing Poe, it’s a specific color that he adds to the film. It’s one that’s energetic. There’s almost an old-school “His Girl Friday” Cary Grant kind of quickness to it and that speed is something that J.J. really likes.
Adam Driver is the new bad guy. Do you think he’ll do a good job as a bad guy?
Oscar Isaac: I think Adam will be horrifying and very scary, but also with a real emotional
How has it been working with John Boyega?
Oscar Isaac: John is a fantastic human being. I really, really have a lot of affection for John. He reminds me a lot of my little brother, actually. He’s incredibly flexible and on his toes, with different ideas. He’s got a huge responsibility and I think that he’s just doing it with a lot of grace and generosity. He’s going to be great
What are your impressions of Daisy Ridley as Rey?
Oscar Isaac: Rey is a wholly original character. J.J. Abrams has broken a lot of the stereotypes and he’s been bold with his casting. I think it’s fantastic. Such diverse people populate these worlds now, which hasn’t always been the case. I really applaud J.J. for doing that. I think Daisy is great; she’s so strong and fierce. She’s at the center of this massive thing, but she’s doing it with such ease. That’s a pretty wild thing to see, especially when it’s someone who hasn’t had a lot of experience and is able to take this on, seemingly, so effortlessly.
Talk about working with Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford.
Oscar Issac: They’re great. That’s when it really feels surreal; when you see Carrie and Harrison, C-3PO and R2-D2 and Chewbacca. These are icons in the flesh. That’s when you get a little bit of chills like, wow, this is actually happening. They’ve been great, particularly Carrie, who’s so funny. I find her to be very kind and it’s been a lot of fun to shoot with her.
Have you had any fun moments or tips from the legacy cast?
Oscar Issac: What’s interesting is that when you get Carrie going, she still remembers all the lines from the old films, so she’ll just launch into the opening of the first “Star Wars” where she’s leaving the message, “You’re my only hope.” It’s pretty incredible. It’s all still right there.
How is J.J. Abrams mixing the old and new for a new audience?
Oscar Issac: J.J. would often say that he wanted it to be messy; he didn’t want it to be formal. He wanted the movie to have a bit of a subversive quality to it; a little bit of edge and grit. By infusing it with that, it makes it feel modern as well and really alive. I think the most important thing is that it be alive, and visceral and in the moment.
As a fan, has this lived up to your expectations?
Oscar Issac: It has defied what I could have expected. I think that’s because of J.J. Abrams, who has allowed people to feel ownership over it. You’re not just being allowed to come into this world, this is your world and you get to add to it and you get to really live out these characters and be part of this world. I think that’s been so generous of him.
One way that he did that was with my family. So my uncle is the biggest “Star Wars” fan. He collects all the Star Wars toys and has them all in glass cases. Ever since we were little he had R2-D2s of all different sizes. When I told him I got cast in this, he was crying and could barely breathe. He came to visit me on set with all these Stormtroopers. I brought him over to J.J. to meet him and after introductions J.J. asked him if he wanted to be in the movie. My uncle was beside himself. Just with a simple gesture like that it completely changed his life. It was so generous. That’s how J.J. is. He’s sharing. It’s like he got to do this thing and he’s letting everybody in. That’s what I take away the most from this
Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens in cinemas 17 Dec
Interview and images courtesy of The Walt Disney Company (Southeast Asia)
© POPCulture Online 2015