Oscar Isaac and Al Pacino

I can’t get these two great actors out of my head. Especially after watching Isaac in A Most Violent Year, Two Faces of January, Inside Llewyn Davis, and Ex Machina. With Pacino, I revisited The Godfather, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, and The Insider. Physically, they could be father/son. There is a two inch difference in height. Their tenor voices are smooth. Same chins, brows, hair, long noses, and body frames.

It’s their talent, however, that has me boxing them together.

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Internally, their characters contemplate, sizzle with energy, and powerfully control their world.  Externally, their soft-spoken responses are calculated, laconic. They are both great at giving cool, deadpan deliveries and explosive reactions in one sitting. Their full-range sensibilities have me captivated every time they are on the screen.

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As he ages, I predict Oscar Isaac’s voice will change into a grittier, growling pitch you recognize Pacino having in Scent of a Woman. I do not claim that Oscar Isaac is a better actor than Al Pacino or that he will grow into an iconic status as Pacino. Maybe Isaac will as the new Hans Solo of sorts in the Star Wars reboot? In 2016, he will appear as the villain in X-Men:Apocalypse. He’s stepped into the blockbuster arena.

I confess, this saddens me. I suppose he’d be crazy not to do these roles, but you never saw Al Pacino or Robert DeNiro or Marlon Brando play a superhero.  It didn’t help Jack Nicholson’s career as the Joker or Dustin Hoffman as Mumbles in Dick Tracy. It hasn’t helped Christian Bale as Batman, Ewan McGregor’s career as Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi, or James McAvoy as Xavier. Money in their pocket? Sure. Able to score in a blockbuster? Yes.

They all could be contenders. Do they regret the time it takes afterwards, shaking off their costumes, and trying to be taken seriously again with varying results? Would Oscar Isaac be better off not going down this path? Sounds like the premise behind Birdman, doesn’t it?

Oscar Isaac has the talent to earn any “best acting” award out there. He’s to be taken seriously. I hate the thought of him in front of a green screen. Give him his Scarface. Let him shine in his own personal Scent of a Woman. I want to see him stretch as an actor, not buying into franchises that are redundant and predictable.

Yes, I am convinced he will be just fine in Star Wars 7,8,9, but I fear we’ll be saying goodbye to greatness.

That’s just my opinion. What’s yours?

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