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The Two Faces of January - Oscar Isaac interview

The Two Faces of January

Compiled by Jason Palmer and Rob Carnevale

OSCAR Isaac talks about the appeal of playing a character like Rydal in The Two Faces of January and why he got to work on the script for such a long time before shooting began.

He also talks about shooting in Greece as well as his excitement at being cast in Star Wars: Episode VII. He was speaking at a UK press conference.

Q. It’s a very Patricia Highsmith device to have a man fascinated more with another man than a woman. Hence, Rydal, your character, is more obsessed with Chester than he is with Colette in many ways. Did you think a lot about the father-son undertones or whether you and Viggo had talked a lot about the dynamic between these two guys?
Oscar Isaac: Yeah, that defintely was very much in the book and the script, and figuring out how much he starts with this [father-son thing] because his father has just passed away recently and he hasn’t gone to the funeral. So, how much that influences his feelings when he first starts getting close to Chester and sees him. But I love how you never really know who is telling the truth. He says: “He reminds me of my father…” But is he just saying that off the cuff to this woman or does he really mean it. There’s a lot of those type of complications that she writes in that are so great.

Q. This is such an intense psychological drama, did you and your co-stars talk through it much. Or did you just dive in?
Oscar Isaac: It was the most extensive pre-production that I’ve ever really done. But I think Hoss is very much about that for continuity’s sake. For two days, I just went over the script and I got to ask him line by line: “What is this? What does that mean?” So, that was one of the things we did. And then a month after that, we all got together to fogure it all it. And it’s because of that that I think we were able to create so much nuance and layer it and not feel we needed to show everything. We really got to play with the subtleties.

Q. How was shooting in so many Greek locations?
Oscar Isaac: It was great. It was four locations that were vastly different. But the riots were going on for some of it. So, I’d finish shooting and then wondered out to see where all the tear gas was coming from and all these people would be running the opposite way with masks on [laughs].

Q. Is it rare to find a script like this that’s not based on a biopic or something real life?
Oscar Isaac: Absolutely, and as soon as it came to me I said ‘of course, I would love to do something like this’ because these movies don’t really get made very often.

Q. You’ve been cast in the new Star Wars movie. When do you get started?
Oscar Isaac: End of this month [May] and, yes, it’s incredibly exciting because I grew up with it. My family are huge, huge fans. Like my uncle and cousin collect the toys and we’d have Star Wars parties. So, when I told them they had the biggest nerd-gasm. Literally, there’s nothing I could have said, or will ever say, that will top that or make them happier. That’s it.

Read our review of The Two Faces of January

Read our interview with Viggo Mortensen

Read our interview with Kirsten Dunst