Jason Isaacs (Captain Gabriel Lorca) is a fan of William Shatner and the original series. Plus: Lorca-Burnham relationship.
The actor, who watched the original series as a child with his parents, is now sharing it with his own children. “For me it’s the original series, being crammed on the couch watching with my parents,” he said, when asked if he was a Trek fan before working on Discovery. “I’ve seen every episode many times. There’s an episode that gave me nightmares, and I recently showed it to my eleven- and fifteen-year-old. They won’t listen to any music that isn’t in the Top Ten and won’t watch anything they don’t recognize as having come out recently in the cinema. It’s very tough for me to get them to watch all the great things in the past because they have such resistance to it. But I put on an episode — Miri, the one where there are only teenagers left on the planet — and my eleven-year-old was absolutely gripped and couldn’t wait to watch more.”
Isaacs was filled with praise for William Shatner and Shatner’s acting. “He’s a genius! He elevates his dialogue and makes it epic and truthful,” said Isaacs. “He sells everything. People who think he’s hammy are people responding to other people doing funny impressions of him. If you watch the original he’s utterly brilliant. He was one of Canada’s top Shakespearean actors. He brings that level of commitment and epic high stakes to what could have been ridiculous dialogue. He and [Leonard] Nimoy together were a genius double. Anyone who thinks they’re hammy should try to do it themselves. I’m trying to do it now and, I’m telling you, it’s not easy.”
Now that Isaacs is on Star Trek: Discovery, what can he tell fans about Gabriel Lorca? “Absolutely fuck all,” he said. “It’s clear when you meet him he’s a man with conflicting agendas. I seem to take an interest in Burnham, which is surprising. I’m interested in helping her regain her…I don’t know if I can say that.”
His relationship with Burnham is not antagonistic, as one might expect from the events of the first two episodes. “No,” he said. “It’s odd because I bring a history of playing a couple high-profile antagonists to this, but I’ve also played a bunch of heroic characters. I generally don’t accept a job unless there’s something I think I can do with it that’s interesting. The more nuanced the writing the better I look as an actor, it’s pure vanity.”