The Coen brothers' 2013 drama Inside Llewyn Davis might have been thoroughly snubbed at the Oscars last year, but the strength of the film has been reflected in the rising success of its lead, Oscar Isaac. Since Inside Llewyn Davis was released, Isaac has been cast in a key role in Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens, handed the title role in X-Men: Apocalypse, and is playing the lead and co-lead in two major films: A Most Violent Year (now playing in the U.S.) and Ex Machina (coming to the States in April).
X-Men: Apocalypse is the furthest away of these titles, with its release currently set for summer 2016, but the character that Isaac will be playing was already introduced in X-Men: Days of Future Past's post-credits scene. An extremely powerful mutant who also happens to be thousands of years old, Apocalypse will present a considerable threat to Professor Charles Xavier and his sophomoric band of mutants.
If there's one thing that the X-Men series can definitely be praised for, it's the movies' often creative take on taking comic book characters and adapting their appearances, such as the addition of tactfully placed scales to Mystique's blue-skinned appearance that made it possible for her to appear nude without earning an R rating. Apocalypse's mutation also makes him stand out in a crowd, since he has grey skin and blue lips and only grows stranger looking with age. Speaking in an interview with Yahoo, Isaac revealed that Apocalypse's look in the movie will take more than just a clever make-up and costume team.
"It’ll be a mix [of practical and digital]. I haven’t had a script so I haven’t had a chance to look through the script and see what the exact requirements are, but I think it’ll be a mixture of physical, aided with some robotic technology."
Although Isaac himself is still mostly unaware of what will happen in X-Men: Apocalypse, the fact that Apocalypse's costume will require some CGI is interesting in itself. It could be as simple as computer trickery being used to increase Isaac's stature, or it could be used to create the kind of armor that it wouldn't be possible for the actor to wear in person. The mention of "robotic technology," incidentally, is almost certainly a tongue-in-cheek reference to Ex Machina rather than a veiled hint that Apocalypse will be a cyborg - though nothing is impossible.
X-Men: Apocalypse will begin filming in a few months, and Isaac also made it clear that pre-production is already underway with teams working on the practicalities of his costume and make-up.
"I'm heading to do a head cast [for ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’], which they do often. You spend 3-4 hours with them putting plaster all over your head and they get a sense of what your face is like and what shape your head is, so they can start figuring out the costume and the make up and all that stuff, which is pretty fun."
The extent of Apocalypse's CGI embellishment will probably become clear once the first set photos find their way online this summer. Bryan Singer is returning to direct, and the script was written by Simon Kinberg, Dan Harris and Michael Dougherty.
X-Men: Apocalypse will be released on May 27, 2016.