Jason Isaacs has no love for spoilers. He thinks we should let a movie keep its secrets, for weeks, months, years, even a decade.
When Screen Rant attempted to discuss the big reveals in the final act of A Cure For Wellness, the acclaimed English actor best known for playing the villainous Lucius Malfoy made it clear – firmly but politely – he would have none of it. “If you tell someone the punch line of a joke,” Isaacs explained, “They’re not going to enjoy the joke very much.” No promises of spoiler warnings and delayed postings could convince him to divulge the twisted turns of Gore Verbinski’s surreal psychological thriller. After all, this isn’t a film based on a well-known book series like Harry Potter, or a reimagining of an iconic fairy tale like Peter Pan. This is an original and odd story that’s being sold to audiences with trailers that evoke mood and mystique, never tipping its hand to the story’s darker depths.
In A Cure For Wellness, Dane DeHaan stars as a single-minded executive, dedicated to bringing his boss back home from a remote wellness retreat at the foot of the Swiss Alps. There, very wealthy retirees forget their work woes, and give themselves over to the sauna treatments and care of Dr. Heinreich Volmer (Isaacs). But despite the pleasant smiles of patients and nurses, there’s something sinister slithering beneath the surface of this idyllic spa.
While Isaacs resolutely refused to give up A Cure For Wellness‘ secrets, he was happy to reveal what drew him to this peculiar project and the resounding importance of its message. From there, we delved into Isaacs’ own politics, and why he has a love-hate relationship with Twitter.
And if we talk spoilers we’ll run all that stuff week after.
JASON ISAACS: Well I’m not going to talk spoilers.
You’re not going to talk to me about the climax?
JASON ISAACS: No, you can’t talk about that.
But then how will people know the answers to the questions about the climax?
JASON ISAACS: They will never get answers to the end of the film because it’s the end. It may be that it’s in cinemas for a week but then it will also be available to be watched forever in various different places and you never want to talk about the end of the film until ten years’ time.
Can I just ask you how they achieved what happens here?
JASON ISAACS: No. You can’t ask anything about the end of the film. It’ll be ruined. Hopefully the reason people will watch this is because you’ll be teasing their interest in watching the film. If you tell someone the punchline of the joke, they’re not going to enjoy the joke very much.
I suppose that’s true. OK, so is it particularly about this role that excited you?
JASON ISAACS: First of all, it’s Gore Verbinski, who’s worked in so many different genres to great success. He’s just incredibly good at his job. He’s an incredibly talented storyteller. Then there’s the part I found intriguing, it’s a very twisted, disturbing, creepy film. I wasn’t quite sure when I was reading it, before I was thinking about playing it, whether Dane’s character was losing his mind or whether he was imagining all this stuff or was this was a real spa and he’s paranoid or was there something sinister going on. I liked the fact that as I was reading it I was looking forward to the next page. Then there’s the fun of getting up and chewing up the scenery.
Speaking of that, what was the most challenging sequence for you?
JASON ISAACS: Well, there are layers of secrets in this, that I know you want me to talk about but I’m not going to – but there ARE layers of secrets in this. Acting is an easy job. You just have to be this person, other person, in a specific situation. But THIS guy’s got a bunch of stuff that’s happened to him that he brings to the table and I had to try and imagine all that and feel that’s part of my history and just let the scenes play themselves. I don’t have any frames of reference for who this man is and what’s happened to him. So, it’s challenging in that sense.
It’s kind of freeing, I’d imagine?
JASON ISAACS: Yeah, it’s fun. Quite often you’re playing scenes where you’re trying to be normal mumblecore acting and you [think], “Oh this is like the time my mum got sick”, or whatever the hell it is, but I have nothing in this film. This is way out of my experience. But what we do have now, this is a guy who’s a very charismatic leader, who’s giving simple solutions to people who think life is too complicated. Switch on the news, you’ll see charismatic leaders giving simple solutions to life’s complications. I’m not sure they’re to be trusted either.
Yeah, speaking to that. You’ve been pretty outspoken on Twitter about politics, I’m curious, a lot of people are reconsidering…how do you feel your role as an actor may have changed in light of the political circumstances right now?
JASON ISAACS: I don’t. Social media I have a love/hate relationship with. I wish I didn’t do any. Really, I wish there was no publicity ever for anything with actors because I like audiences to experience stories without any expectations at all. That’s the best way to experience a story. But the reality is, that’s not what happens. Once I got into realizing there’s however many reading the nonsense that I dribble out at 3 o’clock in the morning, at least I’m just an actor and not a reality TV star dribbling out at 3 o’clock in the morning, with the world’s biggest army at my disposal. So if I can persuade anybody to think in a different way, open their minds about something, point them to articles that somehow might shift their certainties, then I’ll do it. Then sometimes I’m just angry and upset and I want other people to read something. It’s probably not going to change anything anywhere but at least I have this tiny avenue to communicate. What’s odd is when people get back and they go, “You’re an actor. You shouldn’t have a view on politics.” Everybody can have a view on politics. Everybody can have a view on what the most powerful man in the world says or does. And if a man who’s a reality TV star thinks he can have the world’s ear, then surely I can.