Jason Isaacs on “After the Fall” and playing villains

While Potter fans know him as the villainous Lucius Malfoy, Jason Isaacs certainly does not always play the bad guy. In his new film After the Fall, Isaacs takes on the role of Detective Frank McTiernan, an officer investigating a series of robberies committed by his friend, who is trying to provide for his family after losing his job. In a recent interview, Isaacs talked about the film and what draws him to certain roles.

Isaacs explains the types of characters he likes to play:

I’ve played about three or four villains out of forty or fifty roles. I’ve mostly played someone trying to get it right and struggling. Sometimes they do heroic things, sometimes they wish they could. It doesn’t really matter what they do; it’s what they overcome that’s interesting.

Isaacs goes on to discuss how the character of McTiernan fits into this idea:

In many ways [McTiernan is] a man who tests the main character’s soul. He’s an isolated cop, far from home in an unlikely friendship. We all experience trying to bring those feelings to life. When I play a villain, I always try to make sure they believe what they are doing is right. We want to make someone complicated and full of doubt. The shared humanity that make us unpredictable.

The main character of After the Fall, Bill Scanlon (Wes Bentley), suffers through economic hardship, which leads to his criminal actions. However, Isaacs says,

It wasn’t a story about the recession. It exists outside the politics of the day. There are times when economics are booming, but people continue to fall through the cracks.

The film is set in suburban New Mexico and uses many location seen in Breaking Bad. Isaacs, a fan of the show, highlights the differences between the two projects:

Breaking Bad was comic, brilliant. [After the Fall] is a more human and lyrical tale. It is extraordinary, much less overt entertainment. Less plot than character.

Isaacs talks about his childhood in the UK, which was a time of economic turmoil and saw the rise of a Right Wing movement. Isaacs explains that this is part of the reason he went into acting:

It’s part of what has always piqued my curiosity: What makes people love? Or hate? What drives people? And it’s clear that those childlike instincts never leave anybody; we just learn to hide them.

After the Fall is the directorial debut of Saar Klein and also stars Wes Bentley (American Beauty, The Hunger Games) and Vinessa Shaw (Hocus Pocus, Eyes Wide Shut). The film is out in cinemas now.

Have you been to see After the Fall yet? What did you think of Isaacs’s character in it? Share your thoughts in the comments below!