Oscar Isaac Was ‘Desperate’ for Character Study After ‘Green Screen Space Land’ of ‘Star Wars’

Isaac is back in green screen land with Marvel's "Moon Knight," which is why films like "The Card Counter" remain essential for him.
STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER, (aka STAR WARS: EPISODE IX  THE RISE OF SKYWALKER), from left: John Boyega as Finn, Daisy Ridley as Rey, Anthony Daniels as C-3PO, Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, 2019. ph: Jonathan Olley / © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / © Lucasfilm / courtesy Everett Collection
John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac in "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker"
©Walt Disney Co./Courtesy Everett Collection

Oscar Isaac has touched down at the Venice Film Festival where he’s world premiering three new projects: Paul Schrader’s “The Card Counter,” Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune,” and selected episodes from his HBO limited series “Scenes from a Marriage.” It was during the press conference for “The Card Counter” (via Deadline) where Isaac admitted he desperately needed to act in a character study after his CGI-heavy tenure as Poe Dameron in the “Star Wars” franchise. Schrader’s drama thriller arrived right on time. Isaac personally emailed Schrader about wanting to work together after seeing “First Reformed.” A year later, Schrader got in touch to offer “The Card Counter.”

“I’ve been in green screen space land for quite a few years and I was desperate to do a character study,” Isaac told press at Venice.

“Star Wars” isn’t Isaac’s only trip to space, as Villeneuve’s “Dune” is another galaxy-spanning epic with Isaac playing a crucial role. The actor is currently in production on the Marvel Cinematic Universe television series “Moon Knight,” so Isaac’s relationship to CGI and green screens isn’t ending anytime soon. Regardless, “The Card Counter” was the character study palette cleanser the actor needed in between space movies and Marvel.

On prepping for “The Card Counter,” Isaac told press: “In prep I wore a mask. I went back to my theatre school at Juilliard and worked with one of my favorite teachers there who does a lot of body work. We did three days in a studio where I put on a neutral mask.”

Isaac has long been honest about his experience working on three “Star Wars” movies. The actor told Deadline last summer that while he “enjoyed the challenge of those films and working with a very large group of incredible artists and actors,” starring in films like “Star Wars” is “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,” added 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.”

Isaac made headlines at the time for saying he would return to “Star Wars” if “I need another house or something.”

Following its world premiere at Venice, “The Card Counter” will open in U.S. theaters on September 10 from Focus Features.

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