Oscar Isaac

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2 mins read

Óscar Isaac Hernández Estrada was born March 9, 1979 and is a Guatemalan-American actor–he is bilingual in English and Spanish.

He was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala to a Guatemalan mother, María Eugenia Estrada Nicolle and a Cuban father, Óscar Gonzalo Hernández-Cano, a pulmonologist. He has two siblings, an older sister, climate scientist Nicole Hernandez Hammer, and a younger brother, journalist Mike Hernandez. Isaac’s family settled in the U.S. when he was five months old, and he was raised in Miami, Florida.

Isaac’s entry into professional acting began at the Area Stage Company, Miami Beach, when Artistic Director John Rodaz cast him in a play. He also acted in Miami-based City Theatre’s Summer Shorts short play festival in 2000–2001. While in Miami, he played lead guitar and sang vocals for ska-punk band The Blinking Underdogs. Other band members included Nick Speck (bass), Bill Sommer (drums), Alan Mills (trombone), Keith Cooper (saxophone), and Matt LaPlant (guitar). The band enjoyed some success, opening for Green Day and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones.

Isaac put music aside after being accepted into the acting program of New York’s prestigious Juilliard School in 2001. While a student there, he worked on one of his first films, All About the Benjamins (2002). He was part of the Drama Division’s Group 34 (2001–2005).

Isaac made his acting debut in the 1996 crime drama Illtown. He appeared as Romeo in the Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park performances of Romeo and Juliet and as Proteus in Two Gentlemen of Verona. He had a small role in Guerrilla, Part Two of the Che Guevara biographical film Che (2008). Isaac played King John in the 2010 film Robin Hood. He portrayed a security guard in the Madonna-directed film W.E. and starred in the crime drama Drive, both of which were released in September 2011. He had a role as a musician in 10 Years. He performed his own song “Never Had” in the film. “Never Had” and “You Ain’t Goin Nowhere” were included in the movie’s soundtrack.

He has played lead film roles in the tragicomedy Inside Llewyn Davis (2013), the crime drama A Most Violent Year (2014), and the science fiction thriller Ex Machina (2014). In 2006, he portrayed Saint Joseph, husband of Mary, in The Nativity Story. He also portrayed José Ramos-Horta, former president of East Timor and co-recipient of the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize, in the Australian film Balibo. In 2015, Isaac portrayed Nathan Hamlet Bateman in the science fiction film Ex Machina and starred in the 6-episode HBO miniseries Show Me a Hero, receiving universal critical acclaim performing as politician Nick Wasicsko.

He has appeared in the Star Wars sequel trilogy as X-wing pilot Poe Dameron, he reprised the role in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, released in December 2017 and in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019), the final film in the Star Wars sequel trilogy. In X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) he was the titular mutant supervillain Apocalypse. In the same year, he played the lead role in the historical drama The Promise, with co-star Christian Bale, in a story about the Armenian Genocide. Also in 2017, Isaac appeared in the black comedy Suburbicon.

Isaac co-starred with Natalie Portman in the film adaptation of the novel Annihilation, playing her character’s husband.

In late-January 2019, Isaac was cast as Duke Leto Atreides in Denis Villeneuve’s film Dune. In 2019, Isaac was cast in the Paul Schrader film The Card Counter and starred in the action-adventure film Triple Frontier directed by J. C. Chandor as Pope, an ex- CAG operative.

Isaac is set to play the titular character of the 2022 Disney+ series Moon Knight.