Oscar Isaac hops in the cockpit for 'Star Wars'
Sorry, Han Solo, Wedge Antilles, Lando Calrissian and the rest of the Star Wars flyboy contingent.
Poe Dameron’s “the best pilot in the galaxy. End stop,” says Star Wars: The Force Awakens star Oscar Isaac. If he’s being honest, though, there’s a bit of bias since Isaac plays the Resistance soldier with the call sign Black Leader in the seventh Star Wars film.
There’s more to Poe than just being really good at dogfighting TIE Fighters in his X-wing Starfighter and making strafing runs on the First Order’s Starkiller Base. His parents were Rebel Alliance regulars who fought in the Battle of Endor — as revealed in the recent comic book Star Wars: Shattered Empire, set after the movie Return of the Jedi. And in Force Awakens, a grownup Poe is tortured by the First Order for the key he holds in finding out where Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) is.
Review: 'Star Wars' is back in full 'Force'
“Poe’s the kind of guy you want in the trenches with you,” Isaac says. “He’s straightforward, he’s honest, he’s incredibly loyal and he’s got some swagger to him.”
The Latin American actor, born in Guatemala, also shares some important similarities with Poe.
“We look a lot alike,” Isaac, 36, quips. “We’re about the same height, we both have enormous sex appeal. We both have a little bit of disdain for authority and we both like line dancing.”
And if folks can believe it after his folk-music turn in Inside Llewyn Davis, the actor adds, “Poe sings better than I can.”
Since Poe’s in the Resistance led by General Leia Organa, Isaac shared some scenes with Carrie Fisher — “She’s one of the most quick-witted people I’ve ever met” — and played with her French bulldog Gary during their downtime.
As in previous Star Wars films, it’s not just humans that pilot X-wings — Poe hits the skies with a variety of aliens, including the Abednedo airman Ello Asty (whose name is a tribute to one of director J.J. Abrams’ favorite groups, the Beastie Boys) and the Sullustan ace Nien Nunb.
J.J. Abrams: �History repeats itself� in new �Star Wars�
To play the more colorful species of the Resistance, actors wore a helmet/mask of the alien head and the face manipulation was done through remote technology, Isaac says. “It looks very scary and weird because it looked like it was alive.”
He uses words such as “bizarre,” “beautiful” and “humbling” to describe diving into the Star Wars universe, but says jumping into an X-wing cockpit never got old for Isaac. (Good thing, too, since Poe will be back for Star Wars: Episode VIII, out May 26, 2017.) “It’s a little snug but it’s comfortable,” he says of the life-size vehicle with a numbered sequence of buttons Isaac would have to perform for “launch.”
“It was quite specific,” he says. “The lights started and the engines would fire up. It was pretty spectacular.”