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Welcome to Oscar Isaac Network, our source dedicated to Guatemalan-born American actor and musician Oscar Isaac, celebrating seven years online this year. You’ll find the latest news, photos and media on Oscar. Check out the site and please come back soon.

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written by Luciana on August 15, 2015

Oscar attends Disney’s D23 EXPO 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens marched into the auditorium at Disney’s D23 Expo on Saturday with promises to deliver another glimpse into the galactic battle that will unfold onscreen this Dec. 18.

Oscar attended the event alongside his co-stars John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Lupita Nyong’o, Harrison Ford, and director J.J. Abrams. You can find the fist pictures of the panel added in our gallery.

written by Ray on March 24, 2015

It’s Oscar Isaac’s Year

Dujour.com — In 1981, it was no walk in the park to live in New York City. Over the course of 12 months, the city was reportedly home to over 2,000 murders and more robberies than ever previously committed. Cupcake shops were not opening on a regular basis. In director J.C. Chandor’s A Most Violent Year, businessman Abel Morales (played by Oscar Isaac) attempts to navigate these brutal waters as his fortunes swell and the target on his back grows to keep pace.

More than 30 years later in a very different New York, Isaac himself is in the midst of an impressive ascent—albeit one marked by a lack of circling thugs. While the chorus of adulation for Isaac’s role in A Most Violent Year is still resounding, the Guatemalan-born actor doesn’t seem interested in pausing to enjoy it. In the coming months, he’ll appear opposite Mark Wahlberg and Garrett Hedlund in Mojave, he’ll star in the artificial intelligence thriller Ex-Machina and he’ll be deified by nerds everywhere for his roles in J.J. Abrams’ upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens as well as Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Apocalypse.

It’s an impressive slate for the Julliard graduate, but he says each of the films was one that he just couldn’t pass up. “Being asked to inhabit the psyche of someone over a period of time, it’s got to be a bit like falling in love,” he says. “You know, you can’t really quantify exactly why you want to play a particular part, but it’s something you just keep thinking about, that doesn’t leave your mind. That’s the barometer in how I choose a role.”

Still, Isaac’s quick to admit that choosing a job that involves light sabers is remarkably easy. “Not only are there these iconic props, but the sets, vehicles, droids and all these characters—you’re interacting with the characters that have been a part of everyone’s life for such a long time,” he says of Star Wars, for which he plays X-Wing fighter Poe Dameron. “Sometimes I pinch myself because it’s actually happening; it’s wild! But it’s funny, because you still have to do the same job you’re hired to do, which is between ‘action’ and ‘cut’ to be alive, be truthful and tell the story.”

Isaac, who got his big break in the 2013 Coen brothers movie Inside Llewyn Davis, says there’s no one sort of character or film that he finds appealing.

“In film it’s not the same as in theater, where you’re like, OK, I definitely want to give Hamlet a crack, or I want to play Willy Loman,” Isaac, who admits he aspires to one day direct, says. “There isn’t so much that one that I’m looking to do, it’s more about working with certain directors and finding stories that are compelling.”
That was certainly the case with Chandor and A Most Violent Year. Isaac’s Morales is an up-and-coming oil titan whose fleet of trucks—not to mention his family—is being terrorized by his competitor’s goons, but who refuses to lower himself to their level. It was a mindset Isaac took pains to understand.

“I had some issues figuring out why he was making his decisions,” Isaac says, “particularly the nonviolent choices, like why he felt so strongly against getting a gun to protect himself even though he was getting threats from all sides, and against his family.”

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written by Ray on February 12, 2015

Oscar Isaac talks ‘A Most Violent Year’ and why he changed his Latino last name: ‘Oscar Hernandez is like John Smith’

NYDailyNews.com — Stroll into a random café in New York City to watch a live band play and you may just find Oscar Isaac singing and strumming guitar. The Golden Globe-nominated actor gives award-worthy performances in films like 2013’s “Inside Llewyn Davis,” but off-screen he indulges in his other passion — music. But it’s his talent for acting that’s suddenly making film audiences take notice of the Guatemalan-born Isaac, who grew up in Miami to a Guatemalan mother and Cuban father. The Juilliard graduate’s acclaimed performance as a troubled New York businessman alongside Jessica Chastain in the ’80s-set “A Most Violent Year” will be followed with roles as an X-wing fighter pilot in “Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens,” as the titular villain in “X-Men: Apocalypse,” and the sci-fi thriller “Ex-Machina.”

Your character in “A Most Violent Year” had some really strong lines throughout the film like, “When it feels scary to jump, that is exactly when you jump. Otherwise you end up staying in the same place your whole life.” Did those lines jump out at you when you first read the script? It did. It definitely spoke to someone who is very confident in their vision, and everything (my character is) doing is exactly that. It’s 1981, one of the most violent years on record, the city’s on the brink of economic collapse, people are leaving in droves, and he decides now is when you grow, now is when you risk it all.

You’ll be appearing in the latest “Star Wars” and “X-Men,” plus “Ex-Machina.” Do you enjoy playing sci-fi roles? The genre is less important to me than the story and the world of it. And, obviously, great directors. Between J.J. Abrams, Bryan Singer and Alex Garland, who’s the writer and director of “Ex-Machina,” those are amazing people to work with and real visionaries. That, for me, is the most exciting thing, and then characters that are really interesting and unique. Things I’ve never done before.

At this rate, you may soon be a geek god. Well, I guess a geek god that’s also a geek. I really do like sci-fi. The really great sci-fi is … never about aliens and mutants and robots, it’s actually about the human condition and us trying to express something about existence and the mystery of it.

Did you decide to go with the name Isaac instead of your birth name of Hernandez in order to expand your appeal in Hollywood? It wasn’t so much Hollywood that I thinking about. This was before I even went to Juilliard, when I was an actor in Miami. Oscar Hernandez is like John Smith down there… so I wanted to differentiate myself.

Casting directors, especially when you’re starting out, there’s not a lot of imagination yet, so they kind of just pigeonhole you as one thing and I was hoping they’d see me for other roles, not just “The Gangster” or whatever.

What do you say to the naysayers in the Latino community who may not support the decision to drop your last name? That’s their prerogative. I feel totally comfortable with my decision. I’m very up front about the fact that I was born in Guatemala and that my father’s Cuban, my mother’s Guatemalan (and) I speak Spanish. I think the idea of show business and names, that’s always been an element of just the nature of show business.

It seems to be working for you, considering you’ve had so many different roles, not just Latino stereotypes. Yeah, it’s great. Also with “A Most Violent Year,” it’s like the very first time that you see a Latin American man portrayed this way. He’s not a gangster; he’s nonviolent, he’s powerful, he’s quintessentially American, and he’s not a sidekick. We get to see a very un-clichéd look at the Latin American immigrant experience and really what the backbone of this country is. A lot of people like this come and work their way to the top, and this is somebody that buys into the American dream — and at the same time he’s very flawed. When you present someone not as a token for the entire community, I think that actually does more for the community than being some sort of poster child.

written by Ray on February 12, 2015

‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ star Oscar Isaac used his own ‘Jedi’ mindtrick for role

NYDailyNews.com The first movie the ‘A Most Violent Year’ actor saw in the movie theater as a child was ‘Return of the Jedi,’ and now he’s flying his own X-Wing Fighter.

At 35, Oscar Isaac is a serious and accomplished actor, but the night before he was due on the set of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” he reverted to the four-year-old who first fell in love with the franchise.

“I remember being in my hotel room and using a shampoo bottle for an X-wing and flying it around my room,” Isaac told the Daily News. “That’s how you tap back into that spirit.” He may not play a Jedi in the movie—while he won’t spill details about the upcoming movie, it’s clear from the trailer that he gets to pilot an X-Wing Fighter bigger than a shampoo bottle—but the Force is strong in Isaac.

“I was a big fan,” says the star of “A Most Violent Year.” “The first movie I remember seeing in a theater was (1983’s) ‘Return of the Jedi.'”

Fast-forward 32-years and Isaac is living a dream shared by many “Star Wars” fanatics. “In fact, I realized that was the key to the character and into the world,” added Isaac, “was reverting back to that childlike feeling.”

Isaac will have plenty of chances in the coming year to tap into that feeling: in addition to the highly anticipated J.J. Abrams-directed “The Force Awakens” that’s set for release on Dec. 18, Isaac is starring in “X-Man: Apocalypse” as the villain Apocalypse, as well as in “Ex-Machina” as a somewhat creepy scientist.

“I really do like Sci-fi,” Isaac said. “It’s never about aliens and mutants and robots (for me), it’s actually about the human condition and us trying to express something about existence and the mystery of it.”

If his string of Sci-fi flicks makes him into a “geek god” of sorts, he’d happily take the mystery out of that. “Well, I guess a geek god that’s also a geek,” the Golden Globe-nominated actor admitted.

There’s nothing geeky about Isaac’s starring role as Abel Morales in “A Most Violent Year” alongside Jessica Chastain. “He is someone who is very confident in their vision and everything that he’s doing is exactly that,” he said of the J.C. Chandor film out this month.

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written by Ray on February 12, 2015

Oscar Isaac on ‘A Most Violent Year,’ ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens,’ ‘Ex Machina,’ ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’

LatinPost.com — The last year has been quite the year for Guatemalan-born actor Oscar Isaac. Isaac, who gained tremendous repute for his phenomenal turn in the Coen brothers’ “Inside Llewyn Davis,” continued to establish himself as one of the most fiercely talented actors of his generation. In 2014 alone, he worked on the hotly anticipated “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” as Poe Dameron and then managed to land the part of the villain Apocalypse in the upcoming “X-Men: Apocalypse.”

But he also continued his work on smaller and more intimate pictures including the thriller “Two Faces of January” opposite Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst before jumping into awards discussion for his turn in “A Most Violent Year.” For that film he was awarded the National Board of Review’s award for Best Actor.

Recently, the actor spoke with Latin Post about working alongside his close friend Jessica Chastain (who did her utmost to help him land the lead role), why this film portrays Latin American men in a new light and how it feels to work on big action films such as “Star Wars” and “X-Men.”

You recently won the award for Best Actor from the National Board of Review. When did you hear the news and how did it make you feel? I heard the day that it was announced and it was great. It’s very nice to get recognized for your work, especially this year when there are so many fantastic performances out there.

What drew you most to “A Most Violent Year?” I really appreciated the character and the way that J.C. [Chandor] wrote it. It is rare that you see Latin American men presented this way. It is not cliché and very individual to this person. I cannot remember the last time I saw someone presented this way and I love that it was about this moderately wealthy man that completely buys into the American dream and the myth of the self-made man. And has severed all ties to his past and is committed to growing his business and put it all out on the line. I love how gray of a character he is. One side of the spectrum he is trying to be ethical and be proud of not cheating or being a gangster. But on the other hand, he is a red blooded capitalist and is not afraid of seeing people as commodities. He also has a bit of self delusion as well. I just thought that it was such a complex and complicated figure.

Why does he deny his past? He doesn’t really talk to his brother, who one would assume he would take care of, and he also refuses to speak Spanish with Julian in one scene. Because his strategy is one of other growths. I think he severs his past, just like many do, to recreate himself. He is not interested in meshing his culture. He left when he was a young boy and was probably was alone for most of his life. He started as a truck driver, quickly saw that it was a criminal organization but also realized that if you could do the business legitimately, you could make a ton of money. This is a very needed commodity. What is the last bill that people stop paying when it is cold out? Everyone needs heat.

J.C. told me this story from a documentary on Henry Ford. It was literally a big pot and people would wear their finest Sunday clothes. They would jump into the pot and would literally come out in business suits. And that was the new them. That was the new America. Your culture is capitalism.

Abel is someone that has that believe. It is strange and questionable. And that moment when he does speak Spanish, he is completely fluent. It is a strategy. Because in the world that they are living in, he is not just interested in servicing Queens, Brooklyn and Green Point. He wants to service Manhattan. He wants to go to every neighborhood. And to do that, guess who he hires? Blond hair, blue-eyed guys, because those are the neighborhoods he is going to. And for his drivers he wants them to speak English. Especially with Julian, I think he is trying to train him. He sees a bit of his past in that character. In a way that character represents who he was and who he could have turned into had he not made different choices. It is harsh because Julian is not a hustler. He is a sensitive and vulnerable guy. I love that it is a meditation on the system and it questions whether it is even possible to operate within the system with some sense of ethics and integrity.

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