The Later Show

with Cynthia Garrett

June 2000

Transcript by 'Luciana Malfoy'                                                            Video courtesy of Melissa

Cynthia Garrett- Good evening, hello everyone and welcome to Later. Now Iím really excited about my guest tonight because Iíve just finished seeing his new film and itís incredible. You might know him from movies like Armageddon and The End of the Affair, but this new film ďThe PatriotĒ is sure to make him a household name. In the film he plays Mel Gibsonís nemesis, an incredibly wicked evil man named Colonel William Tavington, you canít help but hate him and if you donít believe me, take a look and decide for yourself.

*shows clip from The Patriot and the audience claps*

Cynthia Garrett- Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome a man that I promise you will definitely want Mel Gibson to kill before itís all over, the extremely talented Jason Isaacs.

*audience claps and cheers as Jason Isaacs walks onstage dressed in jeans and a gray t-shirt*

*exchange some words that the audience canít hear and hug and kiss on the cheek before sitting down*

Jason Isaacs- Oh, weíre so butch, arenít we? Itís frightening.

Cynthia Garrett- God, you were so mean and bad and terrible.

Jason Isaacs- *smiling* Oh come on, if you were English youíd think I was a hero.

Cynthia Garrett- *laughing* I donít know, I think even the English would probably have a hard time with it.

Jason Isaacs- Apparently they are. Iím not looking forward to going home. Iím going to stay here as long as I can.

Cynthia Garrett- Actually youÖbefore we actually speak a little bit about the film and the fact that the British press is kinda being very vocal about some opinions.

Jason Isaacs- *scratching the back of his head* Yeah. Yeah, I got this brick of newspaper cuttings in my hotel room the other day, and uh, itís good fun really as long as theyíreÖweíve got all this extra press coverage that isnít on the reviews page, I think itís good people are talking about the movie.

Cynthia Garrett- What exactly are the British saying? *starts laughing*

Jason Isaacs- They think Iím some kind of traitor, that Iíve portrayed the British in a bad light, ya know, like we have a glorious history of empire and colonization, like we havenít been kicked out of every country in the world for behaving despicably, and um, the fact is the British donít come out of the movie too badly, I do. My boss doesnít want me to do what I do, and my soldiers donít want to carry out my orders. Itís just that Iím an evil son-of-a-bitch, and you gotta have a good villain in a movie.

Cynthia Garrett- Yes and honey you are a fabulous villain.

Jason Isaacs- Aww, thanks very much. These journalists writing these reports have obviously never tried to write a movie cause I think theyíd like me to take a vote on everything that I do and have a look at the Geneva convention rulebook before I kill anyone. And umm, it doesnít make for a very exciting movie.

Cynthia Garrett- No, it doesnít. You actually had, I think the filmmakers have been very honest about having to take some creative license to make an exciting movie. Correct?

Jason Isaacs- I hope so. I mean I think itís a fantastic film, most important thing is itís a great yarn. If anybody watches it and is upset enough to want to go and get a book from the library and read about the American Revolution, thatís one more book than most people who see movies read. And most of the stuff is quite closely based on real things.

Cynthia Garrett- Yeah, what do you think is the most moving thing about the movie?

Jason Isaacs- Oh, you know youíre asking the wrong person. Iím pathetic, I cried all the way through it. *starts fidgeting around*

Cynthia Garrett- So did I *laughing*

Jason Isaacs- Itís true. I cried when I read it, I cried in the bath. I remember crying when *begins to mumble and cover his mouth saying he canít reveal the scene* that bit, and uh, I went to see it with a bunch of journalists, hard-nosed journalists, the other day for the first time and I was sobbing and my girlfriend leaned over and she went ĎDarling youíve got to stop crying, the lights are coming on, youíre the bad guyí, so um, I think itís all very moving.

Cynthia Garrett- *laughing* Is there any, you know you really are, youíre the quintessential bad guy in the film. Do you think that all of us in some way have a secret little attraction to be that evil?

Jason Isaacs- Oh yeah. Oh, weíd all love to be sadists and bullies *smiling*. I was always bullied, Iíve never been the bully, Iím a terrible coward. Iím scared of people, Iím scared of horses, *laughing* Iím scared of spiders, so ya know, the chance to have this army and every time I twitch an eyebrow to have a whole village of people quiver. To have one of the biggest, butchest superstars in the world be terrified when I ride into his house, itís very cheap therapy for me.

Cynthia Garrett- *laughing* itís kind of okay. You know as a matter of fact there were, I was reading these things called revolutionary war re-enactors?

Jason Isaacs- Re-enactors, God love Ďem.

Cynthia Garrett- First of all, what are they?

Jason Isaacs- These people, whose hobby it is, God love Ďem, to re-enact wars and who would rather be living in the eighteenth century if they had their choice. Pardon me slurring, I went to a premiere until six oíclock this morning *rubs eyes*

Cynthia Garrett- Ohhh, *laughing*

Jason Isaacs- And they came from all over the country and they, weíre talking about doctors and lawyers and accountants and all kinds of professionally men and women who gave up their jobs for three months. I donít know what their clients thought. And they pitched tent and they stayed through the whole movie, it turned out to be five months in the end and they became the armies that we needed. And I had a bunch of people who were my Green Dragoons, who were the finest mounted cavalry in the world, and they would only call me ďsirĒ and ďColonelĒ, they wouldnít call me Jason, I begged them to, til the end of the shoot. And uhh, they were walking talking living encyclopedia of the eighteenth century. Theyíre fantastic.

Cynthia Garrett- Did you learn a couple of extra things that you didnít know prior to it?

Jason Isaacs- Yeah, well I knew nothing. I mean, they donít teach it in English schools *laughs* Why would they?

Cynthia Garrett- I guess they actually wouldnít, would they? *laughs*

Jason Isaacs- I thought we won. Ya know I got the whole thing wrong.

*audience and Garrett laugh*

Jason Isaacs- So yeah, they taught me everything that I ended up knowing.

Cynthia Garrett- Mmm, and for everyone who actually hasnít seen the movie, why donít you sort of set up your character a bit?

Jason Isaacs- Well, heís the hero as far as Iím concerned. Heís the big hero of the film, uh from the British point of view.

Cynthia Garrett- Yes

Jason Isaacs- But from most people who buy the tickets point of view, Iím the guy who rides into Melís life. Mel is resisting joining in the war, heís put aside all of his weapons, he was involved in the French and Indian wars before the movie begins and heís got seven children, his wifeís dead and he really does not want to get involved in this revolution thatís brewing. But he canít avoid it when I ride up to his house and do something really, really mean. Iíd like to tell you what it is but Iíd probably never work again and from that point on itís pretty much, in a nutshell, Mel and the Americans versus me and the British.

Cynthia Garrett- Yes

Jason Isaacs- And we win, Iíll spoil the ending *smiling*

Cynthia Garrett- *laughing* Now thereís a lot of controversy about the use of the children in the movie. And just by way of background, without giving anything away, thereís one scene in which Mel calls his two youngest sons to participate in a battle with him.

Jason Isaacs- Yeah, he gives them guns and uh, they have to rescue another one of his children and they end up shooting a lot of British officers and soldiers. And umm, itís kind of weird that there is a controversy about it cause we were shooting in Carolina and these families came up to me, ya know three or four generations of families, with little kids holding guns *uses accent* ďYou wanna come huntiní with us?Ē I mean weíre talking about kids with rifles that were bigger than them. I remember this one family who asked, ďYou wanna come hunting with us?Ē and I said no, thanks very much, itís really not my cup of tea. You know I donít think I could kill a deer. And they said, ďOh weíre not talking deer, weíre talking dove huntingĒ and I said ďDoves?! Doves are like little birds of peace!Ē *audience laughs as he flaps his hands on the side of him like a bird*. I said I really donít think I could shoot a dove, he said ďOh you canít miss, we got thousands of Ďem, we breed themĒ and I said well thatís not what I meant. *Laughs* But um, so itís weird.

Cynthia Garrett- Oh you canít miss *laughing*

 Jason Isaacs- Cause kids today have guns all over the place, certainly where we were shooting but in the movie you see these kids who are forced into doing something that they donít really want to do and theyíre heavily traumatized by it. And you see Melís response to it also, itís not just an action sequence, thereís a whole aftermath and Mel is horrified as a father and what he might have dragged his children into and the point of the movie is to show what happens when war comes home. When war comes to your backyard, and umm, itís easy for us today. When we see wars theyíre always these high-tech wars, far away, these kind of video wars. But ya know, these video wars happening far away, they are happening in somebodyís yard. Ya know itís always somebodyís home thatís getting destroyed, somebodyís family. And uh, this is what happened the last time war came home for the Americans.

Cynthia Garrett- Yeah, I guess the critics have to have something to pick apart and criticize though.

Jason Isaacs- Yeah, you know theyíre entitled to their opinion and *shrugs* and itís all about subjectivity but Iíve watched it with an audience. Iíve just come right now, in fact, from hovering in back with a paying audience and I donít think theyíre thinking about that.

Cynthia Garrett- Oh, I just myself saw it and itís so incredibly moving.

Jason Isaacs- You didnít pay.

Cynthia Garrett- I did pay.

Jason Isaacs- *snorts with laughter and smacks his leg*

Cynthia Garrett- I did pay, I did. I paid eight dollars for myself and eight for the assistant, but uh, we support. You know you mentioned that you were afraid of animals, and you were thrown from a horse while shooting.

Jason Isaacs- Yeah, well. The thing about horse riding is I wasnít any good when I started, not that Iím any good now.

Cynthia Garrett- Oh you were pretty good, come on.

Jason Isaacs- You havenít seen the bits where I ride like Jerry Lewis, they just donít put them in the film obviously. You know, when I went to the audition, they said, ďCan you ride?Ē and I said ďKind of semi-Olympic standard, yeah.Ē And they went ďRight, heís lying. Letís send him to train to ride a horse.Ē And they sent Mel and Heath and I out, about a month early and we went riding every day and we learned to load and fire muskets and rifles and throw tomahawks, I mean it was pretty cool.

Cynthia Garrett- Sounds like boot camp.

Jason Isaacs- I tried to give the money back, they wouldnít take it. So when it came time to do the shooting I was ready to command an army and spin around and jump over things and it was all going great. And then the first day we shot a big battle, had to be the day when there were 1200 extras watching and 500 crew and 10 cameras and Iím meant to ride up. Charge up with my men into the fray and I donít know if anyone knows this, but they used to do this completely bizarre thing- they would march up opposite each other *here comes the hand gestures* and they would fire, die, fire, die, fire, die and then theyíd go well thatís 2 shots each, letís just fight and then theyíd just run in and stab each other, kinda weird. So Iím playing this guy who canít, I donít want to wait for that to finish. I just want to charge in there and start chopping people into pieces. So Iím charging up on my horse and as I get there, ya know itís quite difficult to coordinate a war. I donít know how they did it without walkie talkies in the old days, even we had trouble. And somebody gave the order for the British, my own side, to shoot just as I got there. So 500 of my own men just turn around with loaded muskets and BANG! So Iím going ĎCharge!í and my horse just went, ĎNo!í *places hands out in front of him* and just stopped. And I went flying over top and you can see it in slow motion in the dailies, they played it back. And go *hand gestures shows him somersaulting in the air and landing on the ground and bouncing down it* and then you see the stunt man running out going ĎAre you okay?í *hilarious slow motion impersonation of the stuntman* Yeah that was it. *audience laughing* You know, I never came off it, it had to be the day when there were thousands of people watching.

Cynthia Garrett- *laughing* Fabulously humiliating.

Jason Isaacs- It was, it was very good for my ego.

Cynthia Garrett- Alright. Well, if you want to hear a little bit more about Jason Isaacs and his ego and the movie, weíll be right back. Donít go away *bursts out laughing*

*commercial break*

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