Interview: Oscar Isaac – Inside Llewyn Davis
The Coen Brothers can always be counted on to make amazing films; their newest film, Inside Llewyn Davis, is no exception. Set in Greenwich Village in 1961, the film mixes a lonely atmosphere and soulful music to chronicle a week in the life of struggling Folk singer Llewyn Davis. Recently, The Pretentious Film Majors got a chance to sit down with the star of the film, Oscar Isaac and ask him about the process of getting the lead role and what it was like working with the Coen Brothers.
PFM: What was the process of getting this more major role in a Coen Brothers film like? Were you sought out by a casting director?
OI: No, I sought the casting director out. I got an audition, she sent that to the Coens and then I came back and auditioned for them.
PFM: Were the Coen Brothers the big reason you sought out the role?
OI: Yeah, I sought the Coen Brothers out. They’re my favorite film makers.
PFM: I saw the movie and thought you were phenomenal in it. How are you getting yourself prepared for the likely Oscar campaign and your first big awards season?
OI: Doing ginger shots and juicing a lot. I’m trying to sleep a lot and not lose my voice. I also stopped drinking. I cut it all out so I’d have a little more energy.
PFM: You’ve mentioned in previous interviews that your character in Drive was initially underwritten and you worked with the director to expand it from the original script. How was it different working with the Coen Brothers who have such distinct and developed characters from the get go?
OI: Yeah there wasn’t really a need to make any major rewrites at all. In fact, you bend over backwards to try and get this exact thing to work because they write with so much rhythm and so much nuance so there wasn’t a whole lot of need to change stuff around. Every once in a while you’d adjust a couple things but that was a vastly different experience.
PFM: You’ve worked with a lot of great directors in the past, are there any directors you’d like to work with in the future?
OI: Yeah, there are a lot of great directors I’d love to work with. I’m very curious about Fincher’s process and I love his movies but it seems like such a different process from anything that I’ve done so far. That would be an exciting thing. And I like Michael Haneke a lot. Although, that’s more of a dream because I don’t think he’ll do another English language movie. And of course Paul Thomas Anderson as well.
PFM: What’s next for you?
OI: I have a really interesting movie coming out called Ex Machina that Alex Garland wrote and directed. He wrote a lot of Danny Boyle’s movies, he did Sunshine, and The Beach. He wrote the novel “The Beach.” He wrote this great script that we shot in Norway and in London. So we shot that already and that’ll come out at some point next year. It’s this crazy sci-fi movie. And then there’s The Two Faces of January that Hossein Amini—who wrote Drive— wrote and directed which will be next year as well.
Isaac’s talents as a singer and actor make it incredibly easy to get lost in this excellent film. You can catch Inside Llewyn Davis in theaters December 20.