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Why Oscar Isaac Says Scenes From a Marriage Started to "F--k" With Him

·3 min read
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Art imitates life, which can sometimes be a problem for actors like Oscar Isaac.

The actor admitted to peers Michael Keaton, Quincy Isaiah, Samuel L. Jackson and Brian Cox that he knew he needed to create more "boundaries" after starring in Scenes From a Marriage. As he explained in the Hollywood Reporter roundtable, "I have kids, and time is the most valuable commodity. And I think with Scenes From a Marriage, the scenes themselves, that was what was so harrowing about it, not so much the character."

Isaac, who shares kids Eugene and Mads with wife Elvira Lind, felt like he was living in the character's world "a little too much," explaining that it was surreal to act in a scene that he'd later create in his real life. "Like I'd be reading a bedtime story to the young actress that's a 5-year-old with a little bunny lamp and then go home, arrive just in time to sit in the bed with the same exact bunny lamp and read a story to my 5-year-old," he remembered. "And it just starts to f--k with your head."

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He's made some improvements in his professional career, noting that he's realized he doesn't need to "cut off a limb just to make [a performance] slightly better."

But it's taken going to therapy to come to terms with the fact that Isaac doesn't need to give every last part of himself to a role. And more importantly, that he doesn't need to accept every project that he's offered.

Jessica Chastain, Oscar Isaac, Scenes From a Marriage
Jojo Whilden/HBO

"My therapy sessions were more about that," he shared. "So it takes building those synapses to be able to say no in my brain and not feeling like I'm destroying my life in some way. And I've got young kids and this is the first time in 20 years that I've taken the year off, by not being on a set, and it's weird. I'm also so happy to be able to do that."

One project he was tempted to turn down was Moon Knight, because he worried about the project being an "embarrassment." As he told the men, "It was so much about, like, 'Is this the stupidest thing? Is this a smart thing?' It was such mental torment just to make the decision."

It's a predicament that all the actors at the table have faced. Cox said that he's taken some roles that he knew weren't going to do well, simple because it paid well. He admitted, "I think that happens more than we admit."

Oscar Isaac, Moon Knight
YouTube

This isn't necessarily a bad thing though. Jackson noted that his success as Nick Fury in the Marvel films gives him the "opportunity to do these other things that give you that artistic satisfaction."

In other words, it's all about balance.

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