“Anybody on the planet who hasn’t seen it is missing out” declares Jason Isaacs about Netflix’s “The OA” during our recent webcam chat (watch the exclusive video above). Veteran actor Isaacs plays Dr. Hunter Aloysius Percy, otherwise known as “Hap” on the show, an obsessed scientist who goes to extreme lengths to solve the mysteries of life after death, including abducting and experimenting on people.
Isaacs is playfully resentful when asked whether Hap is just another mad scientist, suggesting that there is much more to this character than a one dimensional villain. “He’s on to something. He’s on to the greatest scientific breakthrough there’s ever been in the history of mankind,” the actor explains. “What I loved about him is that he knows there is a moral cost to what he’s doing, depriving people of their liberty and experimenting on them and killing them is a terrible thing to do, but he’s also aware that the breakthrough he’s making will change everything for everybody who ever lives, ever. Which is maybe big enough to warrant the stuff that he’s doing in his basement, and that weighs on him.”
“The OA” premiered on Netflix late last year to very little fanfare or hype. It was a deliberate move by the streaming giant to put this very unusual show out there without explanation in the hope that viewers will catch on and discover it themselves. Isaacs loved that idea, agreeing that “The OA” boldly subverts and even defies expectations. “Whether it feels like a traditional thriller or it feels like a spiritual odyssey or it feels like an unreliable narrator,” the actor explains, “it encompasses all of those things and it makes you ask questions, and on a level that you are not even aware of when you’re watching it, makes you ask questions about life and death, truth and faith.”
By about mid-way through the season, viewers discover that the “OA” of the show’s title refers to the lead character played by actress Brit Marling (who also created and executive producer the series along with Zal Batmanglij). Isaacs loved working with Marling and admits that “The OA” is one of those rare projects that he personally loved to be part of and to watch, crediting Marling with much of the show’s success. “The one thing that is definitely true about this show, in all the other weird spiritual, metaphysical mystery thriller aspects is that everybody falls a little bit in love with the OA.”
We also chat about Isaacs’ upcoming role on “Star Trek Discovery,” set to premiere on the CBS All Access streaming service later this year. It is no surprise that the project is shrouded in mystery, and Isaacs remains tight-lipped about what we can expect. “Trekkie fans are desperate for any kind of homeopathic hint of what’s going on. I can tell you that it’s called ‘Star Trek Discovery,’ I can tell you I’m in it and I have started shooting. It is absurdly cool, I feel like a five year old,” the actor mercifully reveals. “Anything else I tell you would just ruin it for you.”
Be sure to make your Emmy predictions. Weigh in now with your picks so that Hollywood insiders can see how their TV shows and performers are faring in our Emmy odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before nominees are announced on July 13. And join in the fierce debate over the 2017 Emmys taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our TV forums.