Ja­son Isaacs

Herald Sun - Switched On - - ON THE COUCH - TIF­FANY DUNK NA­TIONAL TV EDI­TOR

He’s one of the most sought af­ter ac­tors in the world. So it’s no sur­prise that when Gideon Raff ( Home­land) and Tim Kring ( He­roes) wrote ac­tion-packed drama DIG they pic­tured Ja­son Isaacs in the lead role.

Did you know the cre­ators had made this part just for you?

I met them at a party. That’s the sick­en­ing way things hap­pen in Hol­ly­wood, sorry to any­one who’s an amaz­ing ac­tor and doesn’t live here. They came up to me at the cold cut ta­ble and said, “Oh, hello, we are writ­ing a show we think you’d be great in.” It’s the kind of bol­locks that hap­pens to you about 12,000 times a day. When you’re buy­ing a cof­fee at Star­bucks, the guy will say, “I’ve got a per­fect pi­lot for you.”

But in this case it’s amaz­ing writ­ers so that must make a dif­fer­ence?

I got a bit tongue tied and dropped the salami and then heard noth­ing back from them. As far as I knew they were say­ing it to ev­ery­one. Lo and be­hold, a year and a half later, my agent said, “There’s a script in and they want to meet you.” It’s maybe the first time in 30 years that any­one’s come through on a prom­ise in Hol­ly­wood for me.

Apart from that, what at­tracted you to DIG?

I thought the script was bril­liant and filled with stuff I thought was re­ally imag­i­na­tive. I said (to the cre­ators), “Where do you come up with this?” And they said, “The news­pa­pers, the Bi­ble.” All of the stuff I thought was fan­tas­ti­cal and out-there sto­ry­telling full of sin­is­ter in­ter­na­tional con­spir­acy groups and peo­ple try­ing to bring about the end of days they pointed out was ac­tu­ally real.

You shot a lot of the show in Jerusalem.

The mayor of Jerusalem ba­si­cally gave us the keys to the city. So we were able to shoot in place that not only the cam­eras, but the public had never seen be­fore. As an ac­tor, my job is to pre­tend that things are real. It’s a hell of a lot eas­ier when you’re ac­tu­ally in the real place.

Why did you shift lo­ca­tions half­way through film­ing?

Mis­siles started fly­ing over and bombs started go­ing off, which is not con­ducive to a steady film­ing day. We were lucky the Ro­mans in­vaded half the known world and built sim­i­lar­look­ing cities ev­ery­where. So we went to Croa­tia. Plus quite a lot of the story hap­pens in other coun­tries so we went to New Mex­ico to shoot in the desert.

Did you do your own stunts?

I did ev­ery sin­gle one ex­cept for the pi­lot, where my char­ac­ter jumps into a pool in a cave be­cause it wasn’t very deep and had rocks at the bot­tom. So when I got thou­sands of emails and tweets about my bum, that’s ac­tu­ally Rus­sian stunt but­tocks. Ev­ery­thing else is me, though.

You have two daugh­ters, have they ex­pressed an in­ter­est in act­ing?

If they did, I’d lock them in a base­ment for 20 years. That’s not go­ing to hap­pen on my watch, it’s not a busi­ness for young girls. It’s a very tough busi­ness gen­er­ally and much tougher for women. If I can get them be­hind the cam­era, then I’ll have done the job right.

DIG, SBS ONE, WED­NES­DAY, 9.30PM

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