Tue. Jun 6th, 2023

Oscar Issac. It’s a name you might not be familiar with, but come 2014’s award season, you’d be hard-pressed to overlook. Most movie buffs will instantly recognize him from his role in Nicholas Winding Refn’s 2011 film “Drive” as the husband to co-star Carry Mulligan. As a discharged convict, he gets in deep with the mob when he comes short of paying off a “protection money” debt after his releasing.
On top of being a self-proclaimed musician, a particular gift that’s been featured heavily throughout his numerous roles, he’s also had supporting parts in Zack Snyder’s “Sucker Punch”(2011) and two of Ridley Scotts films “Robin Hood”(2010) and “Body Of Lies”(2008).
This fall, you’ll be able to observe Oscar in his most versatile role yet, as the leading star in The Coen Brothers’ (“The Big Lebowski,” “No Country for Old Men,” “Burn After Reading,” “True Grit”) new, folk inspired tale, “Inside Llewyn Davis.”
Inside Llewyn Davis chronicles the journey of Llewyn, a down on his luck, although talented, folk singer, attempting to make a name for himself in the early 1960’s Greenwich Village music scene. Guitar in hand, accompanied by his neighbors’ fleeing cat, Llewyn makes his way through the chilling winter air, where foreboding obstacles continue to blow him off course.
I can’t say much about the film until the embargo is lifted, but after catching a screening of “Inside Llewyn Davis” at Center City at The Ritz Five, I ventured to Philadelphia’s lavish, upscale Four Season hotel to meet and interview the Guatemalan-Cuban American performer himself on landing his dream role in a Coen Brothers’ film.
Rob Gabe: You’ve stated you’re a big fan of The Coen Brothers, How was the on-set working experience different, or similar to what you imagined?
Oscar Isaac: Yeah, they’re incredible filmmakers. You’ve got these two brains that are making the same movie and those brains also happen to be genius brains. I was surprised at their lack of pretense. They’re very generous and warm.
RG: Prior to this film, did you have familiar background in the Greenwich Village folk scene?
OI: With Dylan, but I wasn’t really aware of the pre-Dylan era so this just opened my mind to some of the incredible musicians like Karen Dalton, Phil Ochs, Reverend Gary Davis, and above all, Dave Van Ronk.
RG: Does Llewelyn journey…
OI: [Correcting] Llewyn.RG: I keep messing that name up! It sounds so similar to Josh Brolin’s character Llewellyn Moss in “No Country for Old Men.”
OI: [Laughs] I know, I know.
RG: Does Llewyn’s journey carry a validity and truthfulness identical to your own experience as a breakthrough actor? Does his struggle resonate with you?
OI: Can I relate to his struggle? Yes. He wants to figure out what he’s doing while trying to be authentic and true to his own idea of expression, and I think that’s something all artists have to deal with.
RG: Bruno Delbonnel’s contribution to the film cinematographer was hard to neglect. Can you speak on the mood you were looking to achieve with the blistering, chilly winter atmosphere?
OI: Yeah, I think “Freewheeling,” the Bob Dylan Album Cover. You know with the brown shirt and girl on his side, walking in the winter streets. I think that was definitely big inspiration for the look of the film and so he looked for how to make it look cold so you could really feel that cold in your bones.
RG: Can you tell us about some of your upcoming projects?
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…”
RG: [Jumping in] “The Beach.”
OI: Yeah, he wrote the novel “The Beach.” He wrote this great, great script that we shot in Norway and in London. We’ve shot that already, so that will come out at some point next year. It’s a crazy sci-fi movie.
RG: Is there another one called “The Two Faces of January?”
OI: Yeah, “The Two Faces of January,” that’s written by Hossein Amini who also wrote, “Drive.” He wrote and directed that one, and that’ll be next year as well.
“Inside Llewyn Davis” hits theaters Dec. 20.
Robert Gabe is a third-year student majoring in communication studies. He can be reached at RG770214@wcupa.edu. 

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