After years entrenched in big-budget spectacle, from “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and “The Rise of Skywalker” to “Dune” and lending his voice to the animated series “Star Wars Resistance,” Oscar Isaac is finally getting back to his art film roots. He’ll soon to be seen in Paul Schrader’s upcoming “The Card Counter,” as a gambler and former soldier who sets out to help a young man seeking revenge on a mutual enemy from their past. Teasing the upcoming film, which was shut down by the pandemic in mid-March with only five days left of filming, Oscar Isaac and Paul Schrader appeared on a Deadline panel where of course the subject of “Star Wars” popped up, especially regarding Oscar Isaac’s possible return to the franchise.
The answer is likely no, which makes sense given that his character arc as Poe Dameron wrapped up with the sunset of the Skywalker saga in the last film, directed by J.J. Abrams and released in December 2019. “I enjoyed the challenge of those films and working with a very large group of incredible artists and actors, prop makers, set designers, and all that was really fun,” Isaac said. But there’s a caveat.
“It’s not really what I set out to do. What I set out to do was to make handmade movies, and to work with people that inspire me,” said Isaac, who’s worked with directors including Alex Garland, J.C. Chandor, Julian Schnabel, and the Coen Brothers. “Paul [Schrader]’s movies, the things that he’s made, it’s in my DNA. I’m not alone, obviously. [For] every actor of a certain generation, those are the films that made them who they are, so that’s certainly my case. It feels like for me a personal turning point and that, as far as I’m concerned, it has nothing to do with the finished product. It’s the process of doing this.”
Does Isaac’s renewed creative spirit working on indies and art films like “The Card Counter” mean he won’t ever return to the “Star Wars” franchise? “Probably, but who knows. If I need another house or something.”
Isaac was also recently cast in James Gray’s upcoming film “Armageddon Time.”
Watch the full panel over at Deadline here.