8 Surprising Facts About Oscar Isaac

Rachel Murray, Getty Images for Paramount Pictures
Rachel Murray, Getty Images for Paramount Pictures

With a filmography that includes such films as Ex Machina, Inside Llewyn Davis, the newest Star Wars series, and Denis Villeneuve's upcoming adaptation of Dune, actor Oscar Isaac is a bona fide Hollywood A-lister. But the Golden Globe winner is a pretty private person who prefers to let his work speak for itself.

1. "Isaac" is Oscar Isaac's middle name.

FilmDistrict

Óscar Isaac Hernández Estrada was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala on March 9, 1979. But when it came time for him to choose a stage name, he opted to shorten his name to Oscar Isaac as a way to be considered for more roles.

"All [casting directors] would see me for was ‘the gangster’ or whatever, so I was like, ‘Well, let me see if this helps,’” Isaac told Esquire of his decision to change his name. This ultimately led people to think he was Jewish, however, including director Barry Sonnenfeld—who passed on Isaac for a role because he wanted a Cuban actor. (Isaac is half Cuban).

2. Oscar Isaac's parents were devoted evangelical Christians.

Isaac has admitted that, growing up, he didn’t always see eye-to-eye with his parents, who are both devoted evangelical Christians. “The social-conservative culture wasn’t lining up with what I was understanding Jesus was saying,” the actor told Rolling Stone. This, coupled with his parents’ decision to divorce at his “prime trauma age,” are reasons Isaac believes he began acting out in school.

3. Oscar Isaac was expelled from school in seventh grade.

A24

Isaac was a bit of a rebel growing up, admittedly even getting expelled from a private school in seventh grade. The reason? It’s pretty extensive.

"I'd petted some animals I wasn't supposed to pet,” Isaac told Details. “The school was built around this guy's ranch, and there was a big wall, and we never knew what was on the other side. Me and my friend jumped over and found all these exotic animals—guard emus and the craziest tiny little beavers. We just started petting them all. Why wouldn't you? But the guy complained."

And that’s not all. "I sprayed a fire extinguisher in the gym and defaced a mural. Wrote curse words on all the stairs up to the library, like s**t, f**k, a**, all the way to the top step. Yeah, it was just stupid, stupid,” Isaac added.

4. Oscar Isaac attended Juilliard.

While he may have acted out in his youth, Isaac took his acting career very seriously. He participated in several stage productions while living in Miami, where he grew up (his family relocated from Guatemala when Oscar was just a few months old) and he was a musician as well. He ultimately put the music on hold when he was accepted into the acting program at the prestigious Juilliard school in 2001. During his time there, he was classmates with Jessica Chastain, his future co-star in 2014's A Most Violent Year—although she later admitted she couldn’t remember when they met.

5. Oscar Isaac played in various punk bands in the 1990s.

When Isaac was pursuing music before his admission to Juilliard, he played in a number of bands with names that included Petrified Frogs, Closet Heterosexuals, The Worms, as well as a few Florida-based ska groups.

6. Oscar Isaac was an orderly at the hospital where his dad worked.

Before becoming an actor, Isaac worked at the hospital where his father was a pulmonologist. While speaking to Vice, he explained the job included “taking people to do X-rays, bringing the deceased down to the morgue.”

“When I applied to Juilliard, they asked, ‘What other jobs have you done that qualifies you?’ I put the hospital down, because you get to see the extremes of humanity there—life and death,” Isaac explained.

7. Oscar Isaac beat out some big-name actors to land the lead in the Coen brothers's Inside Llewyn Davis.

For Inside Llewyn Davis, the Coen brothers movie that earned Isaac his first Golden Globe nomination, the actor reportedly beat out some pretty big names for the part including Ryan Reynolds, Casey Affleck, and Michael Fassbender. Affleck has since spoke of his failed audition, explaining he had to learn to sing and play guitar for the role, two skills he ultimately couldn’t perfect.

8. Oscar Isaac got his uncle a role in Star Wars.

One of the most impressive things Isaac has done throughout his career is probably scoring his uncle, a Star Wars superfan with no acting experience, a part in The Force Awakens. While a guest on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, Isaac explained how his uncle came to visit the set, bringing along custom-made T-shirts for everyone. This act of Star Wars kindness ultimately won over director J.J. Abrams, who asked him if he wanted to be an extra in the film.

Celebrate the Holidays With the 2020 Harry Potter Funko Pop Advent Calendar

Funko
Funko

Though the main book series and movie franchise are long over, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter remains in the spotlight as one of the most popular properties in pop-culture. The folks at Funko definitely know this, and every year the company releases a new Advent calendar based on the popular series so fans can count down to the holidays with their favorite characters.

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Right now, you can pre-order the 2020 edition of Funko's popular Harry Potter Advent calendar, and if you do it through Amazon, you'll even get it on sale for 33 percent off, bringing the price down from $60 to just $40.

Funko Pop!/Amazon

Over the course of the holiday season, the Advent calendar allows you to count down the days until Christmas, starting on December 1, by opening one of the tiny, numbered doors on the appropriate day. Each door is filled with a surprise Pocket Pop! figurine—but outside of the trio of Harry, Hermione, and Ron, the company isn't revealing who you'll be getting just yet.

Calendars will start shipping on October 15, but if you want a head start, go to Amazon to pre-order yours at a discount.

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Get Into the Puzzle-Making Business With This Breaking Bad Jigsaw Puzzle

The Breaking Bad jigsaw puzzle.
The Breaking Bad jigsaw puzzle.
Amazon

Breaking Bad (2008-2013), which is widely considered one of the best dramatic television series of all time, charts the world of chemistry teacher Walter White, who turns to a life of a crime manufacturing methamphetamine and navigating New Mexico’s drug trade.

If you need to kill some time before tackling another rewatch of the show's five seasons, this 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle ($14) from USAopoly should do the trick.

The Breaking Bad puzzle offers a stark portrait of drug kingpin Walter White.Amazon

When completed, the officially licensed puzzle depicts Walter White (Bryan Cranston) sitting in his trademark yellow hazmat suit, possibly contemplating the rivals he’ll soon have to murder. The finished puzzle measures 19 inches by 27 inches; the yellow suit ensures you’ll be keeping busy trying to find the right pieces.

You can grab the Breaking Bad puzzle for $14 on Amazon.

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