The Big Picture

  • Jason Isaacs praises the creators of The OA and expresses his love for the show, calling them “utter geniuses.”
  • Isaacs reveals that the creators had a five-season plan in mind for the show, despite its cancellation after the second season.
  • The cast and creatives are open to picking up the show anytime if given the opportunity to finish the story.

The OA is one of the most agonizing “what if?” series in recent memory. The mystery drama series that premiered on Netflix in December 2016, created by Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij, was utterly beloved by fans for its originality, storytelling, and the performances of its cast but was cancelled after its second season, much to their dismay. One of the show’s stars, Jason Isaacs, joined Collider’s Maggie Lovitt at MegaCon in Orlando this past weekend, and during the panel, a fan asked Isaacs a question about his time on the show, and how he felt about the writing of the character and not getting to see out the five season plan.

In the series, Isaacs plays the character Dr. Hunter Aloysius Percy, also known as Hap. Hap is a scientist conducting research on near-death experiences (NDEs) and the potential for accessing other dimensions or planes of existence. He becomes the main antagonist for Prairie Johnson (Marling), the OA or Original Angel of the title, and the other captives whom he has kidnapped for his experiments. Hap is obsessed with unlocking the mysteries of the afterlife and is willing to go to extreme lengths, including unethical and cruel experiments on his subjects, to achieve his goals. At MegaCon, he told the audience:

Well, thanks very much for mentioning [The OA]. It’s one of my favorite series I’ve ever done. The creators Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij, I think are utter geniuses and nothing they do is like anything else I’ve ever seen before. And how much creative freedom— so, I wasn’t cast in the show, initially. They started shooting with someone else. And after a week they realized that he did that thing— Sometimes actors get asked, can you horse ride? And they go? Yes. Can you speak Polish? Yes. Then you get there and he could do neither. He was a Hungarian poet who his agent said he spoke perfect English and was very comfortable on a film set. And neither of those things were true.

But they’re so creative, they cast it in the first place, and they phoned me and overnight I had to just turn up at my very first scene. I went almost straight from the airport to Grand Central Station to the first scene where I met the character. They’ve been living with this thing for years. They’ve written it on spec, meaning no one commissioned them, nor developed it, nor gave them notice, all from their brain fully formed. And I got there, and I said, I was just thinking one thing about this guy, and Zal interrupted, and he said, ‘Listen, you already know him better than we do. Follow your guts.’ Which is such a beautiful, a brave piece of direction.

Jason Isaacs Says the Cast and Creatives Could Pick Up ‘The OA’ Anytime

Jason Isaacs wearing glasses in a bar in The OA
Image via Netflix

Continuing to lament the loss of the show, Isaacs praised the creative duo even further, saying how much he adored it and revealing that, should the chance to see it out to a conclusion arise, he would be there in a heartbeat to finish the story.

“They built all the foundations, and then they let all of the actors flesh it out and that’s why I think there’s not been anything like it. I’ve never seen anything like that show. I really adored it and, by the way, although it was canceled after Season 2, they have all five seasons in their head. And if you saw Season 2, you know, where we left it, we can pick it up anytime, we’d be willing to if we get a chance.”

The OA is currently streaming on Netflix.

The OA TV Show Poster

The OA

In addition to her role as creator and executive producer of this mind-bending series, Brit Marling also plays the role of Prairie Johnson, a young woman who returns home after a 7-year disappearance. Her sudden return is not the only miraculous occurrence: everyone is shocked to learn that Prairie is no longer blind. While the FBI and her parents are anxious to discuss Prairie’s disappearance, she won’t talk about what happened during the time that she was missing. Zal Batmanglij, the co-creator and an executive producer of the series, is the director of every episode.

Release Date
December 16, 2016

Main Genre

Watch on Netflix

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