Isaacs Conjures Lucius Malfoy’s Return to Harry Potter


Fans of the malevolent Lucius Malfoy will miss his patented brand of platinum blonde magic in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the next installment of the enchanting film series opening November 21st, but actor Jason Isaacs promises he’ll be back hurling all kinds of harrowing hexes at the students of Hogwarts in the final two(!) films based on the concluding novel, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.”

Looking virtually unrecognizable without his Malfoy makeup while on a rare outing in L.A., Isaacs filled in on his return–possibly thanks to a personal appeal to author J.K. Rowling–as well as how the Potter kids kept their heads from getting Hagrid-huge, and his time hanging with the Hollywood equivalent of the Hogwarts clique: the “Entourage” crew.

CS: I almost didn’t recognize you out of character as Lucius Malfoy.
Jason Isaacs: Don’t worry about it – I don’t recognize myself.

CS: How often do you get recognized by fans when you are out? Easy?
Isaacs: Almost never.

CS: Are you surprised when you get recognized?
Isaacs: I am very surprised. The grown ups recognize me for something else, and then they tell their kids “Look who it is! It’s Lucius Malfoy.” And the kids look at their parents like they have just had an aneurysm. I look nothing like Lucius Malfoy. I look nothing like anything, any of the parts I’ve played, really.

CS: Are you excited to reprise the role?
Isaacs: I am very excited. Also, the woman who is playing my wife I’ve been a fan of for a very long time. In fact, one of the great things about going to do “Harry Potter” at all is that a lot of people who are my acting idols I see sitting in make-up chairs beside me. To get to do scenes with Gary Oldman and Richard Harris, Michael Gambon and now Helen McCrory, who I’m a big fan of – it’s fabulous.

CS: What was it like to pick up the final “Harry Potter” book when it came out and not know what was in there, especially for you?
Isaacs: I’m not quite strong enough to pick up a book of that weight. I had a couple of people to help me, and a winch. The secret can be out now. Before it came out I wasn’t quite sure – there was a point where I wasn’t sure I was going to do anymore because there wasn’t much for me to do in number five and I wasn’t in number six. I met Jo Rowling for the first time at a big awards dinner. I went over and basically fell to my knees and said “Get me out of prison, I beg you.” She looked over her shoulder and looked back at me mouthing “You’re out. Chapter One.” And that was it, that’s all I had to know, and I signed up immediately.

CS: Do you know when you start?
Isaacs: I think I start February next year, but I’m not sure. Dan’s [Radcliffe] got to go to Broadway first and wow them with all of his… with all of him. [Laughs]

CS: You have seen the young actors in the films growing up, basically.
Isaacs: I have, yeah.

CS: Can you talk about how they have matured over the years? How have they stayed grounded through all of this?
Isaacs: In the beginning all of us grownups got to patronizing a little bit. Now they have gotten a thousand hours more screen time than any of the rest of us put together – and bank balances to match. They are not just very accomplished actors, they’re very seasoned and mature individuals. They have learned to handle this very enormous stress and this kind of global fame. Frankly, I marvel at how well they have turned out as human beings. Like the mystery of “Harry Potter” and the magical alchemy that happens in the stories, the scripts and the books, something very magical has happened to those young people because by rights they should have turned into monsters, but they are still delightful to be around.

CS: Is it easier on them to be mostly in England? Do you think if they were here there would be more temptations?
Isaacs: They have each other, they have the film set they have been on, which is their family for the time. It’s going to be very hard for them, and for all of us, when we finish. We are so into it, too. Sadly it has to end, unless she’s going to write us all a sequel.

CS: What else are you working on these days?
Isaacs: I’m in “Entourage” actually, which is a thrill because I’m a total fan. It’s taken me at least a whole day’s work to stop thinking about them as their characters. I was playing golf with Turtle and Drama and I am as geeky a fanboy as anybody screaming across the road.

CS: Are you playing a character or yourself?
Isaacs: I play a truly monstrous character. Frankly, there is not point in competing with Ari frankly. The thing is all those characters are so deeply drawn, a little like “Harry Potter” you’ve got to hit the ground running. Similarly to “Harry Potter” also, you get to set and it’s such a popular show here in Hollywood that they are so comfortable with what they are doing. They are so good at what they do that you feel like you have to come in with some pretty bold colors or you’ll fall through the cracks.

CS: They are such a boys’ club too. Were you in right away? Did they embrace you?
Isaacs: I just try and swear as much as I can. I spat a few times and I fit in seamlessly.