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Sucker Punch - Oscar Isaac interview

Sucker Punch

Interview by Rob Carnevale

OSCAR Isaac talks about working with Zack Snyder on Sucker Punch and finding his bad boy character. He also talks about working with Madonna on forthcoming Wallis Simpson movie W.E. and why he is happy with the way his career is shaping up.

Q. How was it seeing the finished film for the first time? Is a film like this visually surprising even to those who are in it? Or does Zack Snyder give you plenty of information along the way?
Oscar Isaac: The scale of it is really hard to imagine, until you see it.

Q. How would you describe Zack as a director?
Oscar Isaac: He does have that kind of boyish wonder and enthusiasm and energy and [he’s] incredibly collaborative as well. He has such a very specific visual style but within that he’s very open to change things, to try ideas that maybe ultimately won’t work but you have a lot of room to fail.

Q. Was it tough to transfer the words on the page to how they would be seen on screen?
Oscar Isaac: Yeah, I think particularly with our characters there was a lot of language and it had a kind of heightened style to the way we were speaking, and so it was [about] investigating and figuring out who were the kind of people that spoke this way, and why the use of language in this particular way. My character has quite a few monologues that he gives, and that was an interesting thing to work backwards from that, and ask who is this kind of person, or who does he imagine himself to be that he would have to speak this way?

Q. Did Zack ever suggest films you should watch that perhaps inspired certain moments or scenes?
Oscar Isaac: With me, not so much. I watched All That Jazz, and I watched Night of the Hunter, and I watched Klute and some other things with strange murderous shenanigans.

Q. How was dueting with Carla Gugino on Love Is The Drug?
Oscar Isaac: It was one of the high points of the whole thing for me. And there’ll be a more extended version on the director’s cut.

Q. What’s next for you?
Oscar Isaac: I did a film actually with [co-star] Abbie Cornish after Sucker Punch, called W.E. that Madonna directed. And then there’s another film called Drive that Nicolas Winding Refn directed, which is absolutely amazing. That’s with Carey Mulligan and Ryan Gosling and that’s a film that I think is coming out in the Fall and it’s something I’m really excited about.

Q. W.E. is the Wallis Simpson movie?
Oscar Isaac: That’s right.

Q. Who do you play?
Oscar Isaac: It’s these two dual storylines, about Abbie Cornish’s character. It’s a modern day [story] and she goes to Sotheby’s to see all the auctioning off all of Wallis Simpson’s memorabilia, and I’m a security guard that works there that she ends up having a romance with.

Q. Is there the feeling that The King’s Speech is doing your pre-publicity for you?
Oscar Isaac: [Smiles] A little bit of that…. it’s such a very different kind of story but interesting that it does overlap some of that history there.

Q. And how was working with Madonna as a director?
Oscar Isaac: She is definitely a formidable woman, and she has such impeccable taste. Anything she ever asked for was always right on. And she’s very funny, that’s what I wasn’t expecting, she has a great self deprecating humour and wit. I loved it, I love her.

Q. Abbie said she had to Skype Madonna – did you?
Oscar Isaac: I didn’t have to Skype, I was summoned to Madonna’s ‘lair’… her house up in New York and met with her for a few hours and just had a great conversation and off of that she hired me. It was awesome.

Q. How do you find the contrast between this large scale studio movie and some of the more rough and ready indie passion projects you’ve been associated with?
Oscar Isaac: Well, I think that the interesting thing with Sucker Punch is, granted it’s huge, and we had all these resources at our disposal, but it did have the feeling of a smaller movie. It had a single camera, so it was very intimate, and again there was a messiness to it that felt more like shooting an independent movie. There wasn’t this pressure to get things right and perfect, because we had to move and go to the big dragon set piece, you know?

Q. You must be very happy with the way your career is shaping up right now?
Oscar Isaac: Very happy. I’ve been very, very fortunate to have been able to work consistently, which is always a nice thing. And each project has its own particular great things about it, so I’m really happy with the way things are [going].

Read our interview with Jamie Chung

Read our interview with Zack Snyder