Photography by Mr Mark Segal | Styling by Ms Gaelle Paul
Words by Mr Alex Godfrey
After a decade of striking fear into the hearts of children as blonde bombshell Lucius Malfoy, Mr Jason Isaacs has said goodbye to Harry Potter. He is now embarking on something else potentially huge. As the lead in NBC's new TV drama, Awake, Mr Isaacs plays a man living alternate realities after a fatal car crash - and the buzz surrounding the show is enormous. It's due to start in America in January, and if it's as good as everyone anticipates it will propel Mr Isaacs, who hails from Liverpool, onto the US TV A list. And we can't think of a nicer man to fly the flag.
What are you doing at the moment?
I'm in Los Angeles filming Awake, except I'm not because we've shut down for a month while the writers write more stuff. It's a very unlikely television show, which is one of the reasons I was drawn to it - it's much more nuanced, engaging and emotional than the other things being thrown my way. And now there are a lot of very smart people having aneurysms every day, writing, rewriting and tinkering, trying to find stuff that will surprise an audience and yet deliver something familiar. I'm a producer on it so I get to go to the writer's room. I leave when they all look haunted and it feels like someone's about to kill someone else.
It's being heralded as a cross between Lost and Inception, which delivers an enormous weight of expectation.
There's a huge amount of stuff online about it but everybody's wrong about what we're trying to do. People are both predicting the story and, as you say, constantly defining it as a hybrid between things that it's nothing like. Hopefully it will be its own beast - there's no precedent for it.
What do you find so appealing about acting?
I understand that as an actor I have to tart about in front of the camera with make-up on and put on a silly voice; it's all part of storytelling to me. Sitting with people you like, telling stories and coming up with solutions is very rewarding.
People are both predicting the story and constantly defining it as a hybrid between things that it's nothing like. Hopefully it will be its own beast - there's no precedent for it
Harry Potter has of course ended. Did you ever go to any fan conventions?
No, but I went to Comic-Con for an Awake Q&A, where they showed the pilot to thousands of fans. I don't know how they can be fans because they've never seen it before, but they were amazingly well informed and asked phenomenally perceptive questions. At one point somebody asked a very incisive question that we struggled to answer, because it was a question we'd been wrestling with ourselves. I looked out to see who asked the question and it was an eight-foot tall Avatar Na'vi.
Talking of fans, there are some very interesting fansites dedicated to you. You seem to inspire madness in people. Have you seen the one featuring action figures of you?
Yes! They're fantastic! I don't understand why I'm so blessed with fans in that way, but I have these unbelievably respectful, lovely women who follow me all over the world. I'm grateful and flattered, but they put me on a pedestal and it's an odd thing because obviously nobody in my real life would treat me like that. At home I'm the idiot that doesn't take the rubbish out and leaves his dirty clothes on the floor. When I'm with the crazy Harry Potter fans who are shaking and crying and sweating and fainting, I talk to them until they see me as just that guy whose breath is slightly rancid. I always try to normalise the situation because I think it's nonsense, this way we deify actors.
That's interesting, because most actors say they don't pay attention to that sort of thing.
I don't look at the forums - madness lies that way. I only know they exist because I have a friend who visits fan forums and starts some utterly scurrilous rumours about me - that I've had fake breasts put in, or I'm having an affair with both my make-up artist and her husband - and then sends me the link for my entertainment.