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Jason Isaacs
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MSN Chat
July 6, 2000

Dish Diva : Welcome to MSN Live!
Dish Diva : We have a great show tonight!
Dish Diva : Our first guest is Jason Isaacs who stars in the new film, also starring Mel Gibson, "The Patriot."
Dish Diva : Please help me welcome Jason Isaacs to MSN Live!

Jason Isaacs : Hello everyone. Thank you for having me here!

Dish Diva : Let's get started!
Dish Diva : Jason, thanks for being our guest tonight on MSN Live! It's great to have you here! Let's get started with the audience questions.

Dish Diva : Sasha says: I haven't seen the film yet. Can you tell us about your role as Capt. Tavington?
Jason Isaacs : Well he is a Colonel. If you called him Captain, he would cut your head off. He is based on a real man, Colonel Banastre Tarleton. I did an enormous amount of research on him. There is a whole wealth of material available online. Some of the spooky parallels between he and I is that we are both the 3rd son in a family from Liverpool. There were certain biographical details that we appropriated. His dad died young and left a huge debt. The mother packed him off to the colonies and I read all this stuff and thought it was fantastic. He became a fantastic successful soldier and in all these glorious battles. He had to make a name for himself. They said that is great. Let's use it. Lots of biographical features are in the story. I knew his whole back-story. Everyone describes him as an evil guy. He is a guy who is determined to win. He is a very brave man. He was outnumbered 5 to 1.
Jason Isaacs : He is used to fight in a bizarre fashion, they fired and charged and died. The Calvary charged in there early and hacked people to pieces. They had bayonets and they had guns. By the time he meets Mel's character he is rising up in the ranks. The real guy used to carry around a map of the Carolinas. He also carried around a book on polygamy. Then he meets Mel's character and Mel's character throws all my plans out of whack. He won't meet me in an open field. He is with his family and he gets right up my nose. I can't bear to see that harmony and peace. He hides in forests. It was the first example of guerilla war. The British were slightly better equipped. They would wear camouflage and the British thought it was terribly unmanly. One the wonderful thing is that Roland let me show where the bullying comes from. I go to my boss for approval. I get slapped down through the film and that just fuels my rage. That is where it comes from. A little bit of a thank you and it all would have been avoided. (laughs)
Jason Isaacs : People think Mel's character is based on The Swamp Fox, but he was not based on the Swamp Fox. Whatever makes the story best. Whatever works best. It is not a documentary.

Dish Diva : Anegleyes1 says: Has anything in your personal experience prepared you for this role?
Jason Isaacs : Oh yeah, tons of it. I think (because I) was always the bullied never the bully. There is a part of me that finds great catharsis in being king for a day, command a whole army and whole villages quake at my eyebrow twitch. It was cheap therapy. There is something in me that rather enjoyed dominating because it is not something I ever do in my own life.
Jason Isaacs : Also I am an actor and this is all pretend. Acting is a trick of the imagination. Anything around you helps. Put on extraordinary plumage and everyone calls you sir or Colonel and they are terrified of you and the countryside is spectatuclar and 99% of what you need to imagine is done for you. When the writing is good it is like surfing the wave. Luckily there wasn't any bad writing for me.

Dish Diva : Delirious says: Where did you shoot this film?
Jason Isaacs : Carolinas. South Carolina. There are ghosts there. It is where the battles took place. People lent us their land. They could trace their lineage back to the Revolution. It was spectacular. I am a city boy but every morning it was awe inspiring and the fall was just wonderful with the trees turning and the mists and the glades and rivers were just beautiful.

Dish Diva : Fanofmel says: What was it like working with Mel Gibson?
Jason Isaacs : The biggest tribute I can pay him is that he is just a wonderful actor. In the first scene I terrify him at his house. Really you are only as powerful as the other person in the film makes you. Mel is always in the moment. He was terrified. I have an enormous amount of respect for him. He has an ability to be in the moment and full of rage or pain or grief and he has instant access. He is just very very good at his job. He doesn't need the ego boasting. He is also very very funny. He likes to keep people relaxed he laughs at other people's bad jokes. He keeps everything in a feeling of free play.
Jason Isaacs : Roland and Dean are very careful to create an atmosphere of creativity with random human elements. When you feel completely relaxed the arbitrary ticks of human nature just happen and that has a lot to do with Mel and with Dean. He is very self-deprecating. Why do people work when they have so much money? He is fabulous at it and he had a big heart. If someone had a bad back he massages them. He is about as humble as you could ever hope to be. I came away thinking it is possible to be that successful and have your nerve endings open which I never would have thought before.

Dish Diva : Katydid says: You studied law. Any chance of going back to it or are you sticking with acting? Also, what did your parents think when you quit law school to become an actor?
Jason Isaacs : I was lucky. My other brother studied law and was unhappy. They had seen me in dozens of plays and they already had a doctor and a lawyer and now had someone in the arts as well. The first play I was naked covered in chicken blood then they saw me as a male prostitute who got castrated with a cheese wire at the end. I think they were just happy got a job where I wore clothes.

Dish Diva : UKCraze says: Jason, you've done British TV. Would you ever go back to the small screen?
Jason Isaacs : Oh yeah. It is really hard to find anything that is exciting. I did a play in a 70-seat theatre in London where it was wonderful. It is great when all elements come together.

Dish Diva : Badboy says: Being that you are from England, could you relate to "The Patriot's" freedom storyline?
Jason Isaacs : Oh well you know when this was going on in the 1700's my family was fighting off rapes from the Cossacks. I identified with the Calvary on both sides. To stand opposite each other on open fields was carnage everywhere and it was mostly neighbor against neighbor. The causes of the Revolution were confusing. I identified with the feeling of sacrifices and feeling of the bravery with the people involved.

Dish Diva : Genius_Mark says: Jason, do you know if any of your ancestors fought in the Revolution?
Jason Isaacs : My ancestors were somewhere fighting off the Cossacks and desperate to get out of Russia and Poland. I haven't traced that far back.

Dish Diva : Daphne says: Did you keep anything from the set as a memento?
Jason Isaacs : I couldn't keep my boots which was a shame. They were handmade. They measured every toe and heel and sole. I didn't get my bear fur hat because everything goes into storage but now I will ask for my hat. That is what I would like.

Dish Diva : Patriot99 says: Maybe you can help me. I have always wondered what they use for blood in movies. Can you tell me?
Jason Isaacs : Yeah, it is a special mixture. There are secret recipes. The standard stuff is never dark enough. In England it is called Kensington Gore. Don't ask me why.

Dish Diva : TVFan says: Famous actress or actor you would like to work with?
Jason Isaacs : We all have fantasies about Deniro and Pacino. I had my expectations dashed before and been amazed by people who are sensational. There are people who I love but are scene stealers. I wouldn't mind working with Mel again. I asked him to do Macbeth with me but he has that huge family and he can't really ship them off to England.

Dish Diva : Pinktoes says: What are your next upcoming projects?
Jason Isaacs : I just wrapped "Sweet November" with Keanu Reeves in which I play a drag queen advertising copywriter and it was a fantastic antidote. I did a play about the situation with the police in Belfast. I was in San Francisco and had a scream playing a screamer. I had to learn to pull my pantyhose on with false nails and how to use a corset and how to eat lunch without smudging lipstick and how to run in high heels. I have a new respect for the dressier sisters amongst us.

Dish Diva : Sham says: Do you have a favorite scene in "The Patriot"?
Jason Isaacs : Yeah I do, the scene where I go to Tom and tell him I can do what need to be done but he had to do something in return. The best acting is when you are saying one thing but mean something different. He was humiliated by Mel's character. I also adore the fighting and slow motion stuff because we are all big kids.

Dish Diva : Melrulez says: Who was the prankster on the set?
Jason Isaacs : There wasn't one. No matter how funny you tried to be you were always upstaged by the horses going to the bathroom. Mel has the reputation but, we are all pranksters. I pulled out my camera and went to pull out my musket. It is a lie that a tense set makes a good movie. Roland and Dean realized that the feeling of creativity was great.

Dish Diva
: Sounds like a great experience. Jason, thanks so much for joining us this evening. We'll see you next time!

Jason Isaacs : I thank everybody for coming in to meet me. I find the whole notion of people wanting to meet me wonderful and I think it is good to be self-conscious. I hope you enjoy the film. Goodnight.

Dish Diva : Thanks for joining us tonight!
Dish Diva : That was Jason Isaacs who stars in the new Mel Gibson film, "The Patriot."

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Available at
Extended Cut DVD
Extended Cut DVD
Superbit DVD
The Patriot 4-Pack DVD

Special Edition DVD
Special Edition:
Spanish DVD | Spanish VHS

Special Edition DVD
Soundtrack (CD)
Composed by John Williams

Audio Book (Cassette)
Official Companion

Movie Posters:
Advance | Final