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Back to One

A podcast about acting -- just the work. by Peter Rinaldi

Back to One, Episode 176: Jason Isaacs

After 30 years in the business, with credits ranging from Angels in America to the Harry Potter films and everything in between, Jason Isaacs has cultivated an approach to the craft of acting aimed at bringing himself fully into the moment. As he talks about in this episode, that approach involves not memorizing his lines, erasing all descriptors in the script, making no decisions before seeing what the other actors bring. “I try to do nothing. I try to be an empty vessel.” In Fran Kranz’s Mass—a real-time, one-room, four-hander where every actor shines—Isaacs plays a father of a child killed in a school shooting. He gets to play with sadness, sarcasm, vulnerability, rage, restraint, revelation, and manages to ground it all in a solid emotional realism that leaves the viewer rocked and changed. What does Isaacs have to say about how he created this amazing performance that just might be one of the best we’ve been given this year? “I don’t remember…It’s like a black out.”

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