Jason Isaacs: "There’s no adult I know who hasn’t been the victim of sexual abuse on the tube"



Jason Isaacs gave a rather rambling interview to the Independent.

On choosing to portray complex characters, including in The OA and Star Trek Discovery:

"As an actor, you don’t play good or bad. Donald Trump looks in the mirror every day, he doesn’t see a white supremacist, he doesn’t see a bully, he sees a righteous warrior.”

“There have been jobs along the way that I could have enriched myself with, and maybe would have been good for our family financially, but it would have been putting things out in the world that are pernicious and misogynistic and in every way doing damage to how we all behave, and how we all treat each other.”

“I do think it’s important that we don’t avoid showing people’s worst, most venal, sexist or xenophobic instincts through character, because those things exist everywhere, and to avoid depicting them through fiction is to deny us the chance to discuss them.”


On #MeToo:

"Most of the things that have led to the complaints of the #MeToo movement are things that have happened behind closed doors. It’s stuff that would never have been done in public, because it would never have been acceptable in public. So I don’t notice the difference [on set]. Of course, I’m not a woman, so I’m not able to say whether people treat me differently. I don’t know anybody who does condone that kind of behaviour, or those kind of comments, even at the most mild level, where it could be laughed off as a joke. That stuff stopped happening, as far as I’m aware, a long time ago. But maybe my antennae are not as finely tuned as women’s are.

“But there is a much more subtle conversation to be had, because I hear things said around my daughters. It’s shameful that I’m only more aware of it since having daughters, obviously, but the first thing people say to girls is, ‘Your hair looks great, I love those shoes, you look so fabulous, your skin looks great…’ And I never had any of those things said to me as a boy. If you have that said to you for your entire life, then suddenly you define yourself by the way you look. That’s not a part of the #MeToo movement, it’s just part of how the world deals with women, and so how women, I guess, will start to think of themselves. That’s, I’m sure, why there’s so many people reaching to be gender neutral – to be free from all that stuff.”

“It was shocking when this conversation started, to find out that there’s literally no adult I know who hasn’t been the victim of some kind of sexual abuse, or sexual assault, or at the lower end of the scale, people exposing themselves on the tube or something, and thinking, ‘Well OK, so my daughters are going to experience that soon… if they haven’t already and haven’t told me.’ But where it’s going I don’t know. It’s clearly going in the right direction at least, and the conversation is had all the time, which is an incredibly healthy thing. I wish we could get to the end game very quickly.”



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