In the new Coen Brothers film Inside Llewyn Davis Golden Globe nominee Oscar Isaac works opposite an all-star cast. From Justin Timberlake to Carey Mulligan and John Goodman there’s no shortage of star power on the marquee.
There was one co-star, however, he wasn’t looking forward to working with. In fact, he described working with a red Mackerel cat named Ulysses as “daunting.”
“I’m not afraid of cats,” he says, “but a cat put me in the hospital once. It bit me. Ninety percent of cat bites are highly infectious. The next morning I woke up with a red line going up my arm. It had gotten into my lymphatic system. I had to go to the hospital and I was there for two days. That was six years ago.
“Then you cut to the Coens and they’re like, ‘We’ve got five cats and we’re going to attach them to you and you’re going to run as fast as you can.’ It was daunting.”
In his first leading role the thirty-three year old actor, who previously had smaller parts in Sucker Punch, Drive and W.E., plays a broody folk singer in 1961 Greenwich Village. To pull off the role he had to perform many songs live on film, an experience he describes as “so incredibly joyful I have no way of communicating it.”
“I knew I could play Llewyn. I knew what was required, which was playing these amazing, beautiful old folk songs that have been passed down. So the songs are great. I’m working with [executive music producer] T-Bone [Burnett} and he’s going to tell me if I am sounding false and is building my confidence throughout and Joel and Ethan [Coen] are filming it so in a way you’d have to try really hard to f**k that up.”
Inside Llewyn Davis is garnering attention for the young actor. Recently he was on the Today show when his name was announced as a Best Actor Golden Globe nominee.
“After the segment was over I went downstairs,” he says. “Then my name came out and I was immediately escorted up the steps to get back on, in front of the cameras to get reaction before I even had a moment to possibly formulate what I would say about it. It’s such a huge thing. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I was even cast in this movie.”