Jason Isaacs talks about accents, “Dig”, and Jerusalem
Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy) is about to star in US show Dig, which begins on March 5. We previously revealed that a real-life mystery game version of the show had been created for members of the public to play. In a new interview, Isaacs has spoken about the show, as well as his talent for accents that he has developed over the years.
In case you didn’t know, Dig is a
part religious, part secular murder mystery that turns out to have global, potentially cataclysmic ramifications.
The events of Dig are inspired by true life events, and on this Jason explains,
What I didn’t realize was that Tim and Gideon had made almost nothing up. I [g]oogled most of what I’d been told and realized what a terrifying and precarious place the world is. But I’m also a fan of telly and great storytelling and wanted to know on every page what was going to happen next and how these different storylines were going to come together.
On playing the role of Peter Connelly, the lead character in the series, Jason says,
I got to be an action star, have a big emotional journey, and go somewhere the cameras have never been pointed before. We were shooting in places where, never mind camera crews, the public have never even been.
In the interview, Jason refers to his upbringing and his experiences in Jerusalem for the shooting of the series:
Talk about being a lapsed Jew. I’m an English atheist and couldn’t be further from the upbringing I had. But Jerusalem ignites passion, and the stones talk to you; the walls vibrate with history. Whatever your faith or lack of it, it’s something special that adds such texture to the piece.
To American audiences, Jason has always played American characters, and apart from his role in Harry Potter, few know him without his various accents. But these accents came about from necessity during childhood. In the interview, Jason spoke about his ability for accents:
Everyone took the piss out of my Liverpool accent in London, so I adopted a mockney [mock-cockney] accent. Then I went to university in Bristol to do law, where everyone talked like Hugh Grant. I’d never met anyone who talked that way, but within a week I talked like that. My ability for accents was really a social weakness but a professional asset.
On his own acting education, Jason revealed the most important lesson he’d learned, from director Declan Donnellan in 1992:
He basically gave the same note over and over for the nine weeks of rehearsal: ‘What are you trying to change? What are you trying to make them think?’ You can be on a set with someone who has a performance that would be unaffected if you spontaneously combusted, but if you are directing all [of] your energy to trying to change what you want the other person to feel, that takes you out of yourself, and you will always be alive. That was 90 percent [of my training]; the other 10 percent I picked up from people I admired and worked with. I’ve seen all the tricks now; one famous, late, knighted actor literally physically shoved me out of the shot with his elbows. But most actors like to play, and that was certainly the case on ‘Dig.’
Are you looking forward to seeing Dig when the series starts? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!