Oscar Isaac is an easily recognizable face in Hollywood. The actor has been able to carve a niche for himself with his versatility and range of acting skills. If you missed his character in 2012 The Bourne Legacy as Outcome No. 3, his face as Poe Dameron in Star Wars film franchise and Apocalypse in X-Men: Apocalypse is more than enough to get your attention.
The pretty face actor has been featured in over 40 films, excluding his roles in television and theater. Who is the man behind the name? Here are 12 interesting things about Oscar Isaac.
1. Oscar Isaac was Born in Guatemala
The actor was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala, on March 9, 1979. He was born to a Cuban father, Óscar Gonzalo Hernández-Cano, a certified pulmonologist, and a Guatemalan mother, Maria Eugenia Estrada Nicolle. Although born in Guatemala, his family immigrated to the US when the actor was five months old.
2. His Film Debut was Illtown
Most actors have to start somewhere before hitting their breakthrough film. 1996 Illtown was Isaac’s film debut. In the film, the actor played the role of a pool boy. In an IMDb interview, the actor admitted the role was embarrassing and humiliating to have as first credit. Let’s not even get started with his weird postures in the scene! What was with the funny background postures, Isaac?
3. Oscar Isaac Speaks English and Spanish Fluently
Isaac is an eloquent speaker of both English and Spanish. Being born in a household with Spanish as the official language in Guatemala and Cuba, it’s easy to see why he’s fluent. He also has French ancestry through his grandfather. When asked about his origins, the actor gladly acknowledges that he’s “a mix of many things.”
4. Oscar Isaac Has Always Been Drawn to Film and Music
At age 4, Isaac was already organizing backyard plays with his older sister, Nicole. He made his first home movie at 10 and called it The Avenger. By fifth grade, he wrote his first play based on Noah’s Ark story, which featured a doubtful platypus. Born in a very religious household, it’s easy to see why the Bible was his inspiration for a story.
5. He Attended Juilliard School
Issac obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the prestigious Juilliard School in New York City in 2005. The actor is close friends with Jessica Chastain, an alumnus of Juilliard School.
6. Oscar Isaac Formed a Musical Band in High School
At his public High School in Palm Beach, Isaac soon found some boys in a trailer park and convinced them to join his band. After learning more about music and guitars, the band registered for a talent show but lost. Isaac was 14 at this time.
He later became a member of The Blinking Underdogs, a ska punk band. The band was quite successful and was once invited to perform an opening for the popular Green Day band.
7. Oscar Isaac Shortened His Name to Avoid Being Typecast as a Latino Gangster in Movies
Isaac had big dreams of becoming an actor in Hollywood. However, he felt that the name Oscar Hernández Estrada would limit his film roles. So, he decided to use Isaac as his last name. He told Business Insider, “Being called Oscar Hernández in Miami is like being called John Smith; there are 15 pages of us in the phone book.”
8. Oscar Isaac Once Considered Joining the Marines but For a Different Reason
When Isaac informed his father of his intention to join the US Marines, his pulmonologist father expressly disapproved. After getting recruiters to help convince his father, Isaac took their exam. However, Isaac only wanted to be involved in combat photography in the military reserve. Fortunately for film fans, the job wasn’t available at that time.
9. Oscar Isaac Played Biblical Joseph in The Nativity Story (2006)
Long before playing the supervillain in X-Men: Apocalypse, Isaac delivered the role of Saint Joseph in The Nativity Story. His religious background was an added advantage, as well as reading the book, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah.
10. Oscar Isaac’s First Mainstream Success was in 2015’s Ex Machina
The movie was critically acclaimed, with Isaac getting praised specifically for his performance. In the movie, Isaac plays the character of Nathan Bateman.
11. Oscar Isaac Has Helped Bring in Billions of Dollars
Isaac’s most popular role in the movie coincides with his highest-grossing film. 2015 Star Wars: The Force Awakens crossed the $2 billion mark at the box office. Isaac played the iconic Poe Dameron character.
12. Oscar Isaac is All About Family
Isaac is what can safely be defined as a family man. He has ensured he keeps a close-knit relationship with his wife and kids. The actor married film director Elvira Lind in 2017. The couple’s first son, Eugene, was born in the same year, while the second son, Mads, was born in 2019.