Kyle Arango talks about life, acting, and THE DEATH OF STALIN with Jason Isaacs
Recently I got to see a wonderful and hilarious film called The Death of Stalin and was given the opportunity to interview one of its stars Jason Isaacs. Jason is a well-accomplished actor who was born in Liverpool and earned a law degree before deciding to study acting. Ever since, he has had numerous roles in films such as The Patriot, Peter Pan, Fury, and the Harry Potter series. Jason was nice enough to talk with me about numerous things such as his early life, acting career, his heroes, and of course, The Death of Stalin.
Jason Isaacs, it is a pleasure to get to talk to you and I have to say I saw The Death of Stalin last week and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it and just how hilarious it was.
Well, my question to you, now that I’m interviewing you is, why were you surprised?
Well I had not known much about it before seeing it.
Well, have you seen Veep, its directed by the creator of Veep. Some people have funny bones, and some don’t, and he is certainly one of the greats (Armando Iannucci).
What has the experience been like to be part of such a successful film like The Death of Stalin?
It has truly been an honor and its great when people all over are celebrating the film. I’ve done many Q + A’s after screenings and the film has received many standing ovations. I like to sneak into screenings just to hear the audience’s spontaneous applause and laughter at the political climate. When an actor gets to be apart of something that is universally praised, it is what we strive for.
Do you think the film draws any comparisons to other political climates today?
I’d say there are many parallels to Trump by drawing on the childishness of the governments but its not just there, its all around the world. I’ve been to screenings in other countries where audiences gives a spattering applause when the film compares to their governments. People can universally relate to it.
Now, one of the big stories surrounding this film is that it was banned in Russia, what was that day like when you found out the news?
It was sort of surprising to hear that a film was banned. The Russian government reviewed the film and decided to ban it because they said it was a blatant attempt to interfere in their election which is almost funny. However, some outlets in Russia were able to see it and they gave it applause.
So, let’s talk about your character of Zhukov. What kind of research did you do for this role?
Well the history is the research. I saw an old photo of a man with a buff chest and tons of medals across them. We had to stuff my suit and pad it up to make me look like he did.
What did the suit feel like inside?
I felt like Mr. Incredible
One of the funnier scenes in the film is when you and Khrushchev are talking about how they will acquire power and you give him a kiss at the end of it. What was that day like when you had to kiss him?
Well he was a fantastic kisser, nice taste of that Brooklyn tongue. In all seriousness, when you’re in a room full of fantastic comedians, its hard to do a scene like this and not laugh. I had to stare at his eyebrows just, so I wouldn’t crack up.
What draws you to whatever project you choose, what goes into the process?
Well its all about the script and story for me. All actors have been in bad things but when I’m looking for a project, I ask the question “what can I not suck in?” and the process goes from there. The story is the most important part for me and what draws me to the roles.
Now let’s get to your past, what films or actors made you want to become an actor?
There was nothing really in particular. I grew up in an uncultured community and did not watch many films, mostly television and Futbol. I went to law school and received a degree but then decided to pursue acting after being apart of a theatre play.
Were there any fandoms that you were a part of growing up?
Well I was a comic book reader and read all the Marvel and DC books but was never a huge nerd. I voiced a couple things in the pop culture realm such as some DC animated films and Star Wars Rebels, but the truth is I do not remember much of them.
What is voice acting like compared to regular acting?
It is much more different, and I enjoy it a lot. Mostly because I get to be somebody I look nothing like at all. In voice acting you are able to try different things and have more freedom in the risks you take.
Who are some of your heroes that you look up to?
Well its not really any actors, its people who wants to make a difference and change the world. People who stand up for what they believe in and do something about it.
Well I live in Florida and when the Parkland tragedy happened, it really hit close to home for all of us.
Yeah it is terrible what happened but those kids from the school who are speaking out are very strong and inspiring.
They could be considered very good role models for a younger generation.
Yes absolutely. I was at the march this past weekend in L.A. and it was unbelievable just what these kids are willing to do and the support they are receiving. They are really making a difference. I raise my two daughters to be good role models and citizens in the world.
Ok, a couple of quick rapid-fire questions to wrap it up. Favorite music.
Motown, any kind really.
Chinese, I’m already looking for the best places around where I’m going to be shooting next.
Any place in the world you’d like to visit?
Probably Africa, I have not been there before or returning to India. I recently shot a film with Armie Hammer, Dev Patel, and many others called Hotel Mumbai and it was lovely, so I’d love to return.
It was truly a pleasure getting to talk to Jason Isaacs about many different topics. The Death of Stalin is a fantastic film and you should check it out whenever it is available near you. I highly recommend it.