Oscar Isaac, Best Nephew Ever, Talks Star Wars, Being Expelled from School and Surviving Disaster

The 35-year-old actor will play Poe Dameron in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and also stars in X-Men: Apocalypse

By Corinne Heller Mar 18, 2015 9:34 PMTags

Oscar Isaac is the best nephew ever.

The actor stars in J.J. Abrams' upcoming anticipated film Star Wars: The Force Awakens, aka Episode VII and the first of a third trilogy, as new character, Poe Dameron. He is seen in a teaser trailer piloting an X-wing starfighter. When his uncle, a hardcore fan, heard he had been cast, he made T-shirts that said "Estar Guars: Episode VII."

"I gave them to everybody and told J.J. Abrams, who was like, 'Does he wanna be in the movie?'" Isaac, 35, told men's magazine Details in an April 2015 cover interview posted online on Wednesday. "He's an extra in a scene with me. How amazing is that?"


The actor, who also stars in Inside Llewlyn Davis and the upcoming movies Ex Machina and X-Men: Apocalypse, in which he plays the title villain, is classically trained: He attended Juilliard.

But before that, he was a rather naughty student. A naughty student who survived a terrible, deadly tragedy.

Isaac, who was born in his mother's native Guatemala aOscar Isaac Hernández, talked to Details about growing up in Miami. He recalls how he was expelled from a private school, partially because of an unusual reason.

"It was seventh grade, and I had just been invited not to come back to my private school," he told the magazine. "I'd petted some animals I wasn't supposed to pet. The school was built around this guy's ranch, and there was a big wall, and we never knew what was on the other side. Me and my friend jumped over and found all these exotic animals—guard emus and the craziest tiny little beavers. We just started petting them all. Why wouldn't you? But the guy complained."

He also did what he called "boys-will-be-boys kind of stuff, saying, "I sprayed a fire extinguisher in the gym and defaced a mural. Wrote curse words on all the stairs up to the library, like 's--t,' 'f--k,' 'ass,' all the way to the top step. Yeah, it was just stupid, stupid."

He said his parents took steps to have him, then 12 years old, transferred to "a Footloose school, where they didn't allow dancing or singing or music."

It never happened. Hurricane Andrew destroyed the school. The category 5 hurricane, which had wind speeds of up to 165 miles per hour, killed 23 people as it ripped through Florida and Louisiana in August 1992. Hundreds of thousands of residents were made homeless and the cost of the devastation was estimated to be about $25 million (which would be about $41 million today due to inflation).

"We were huddled inside with cushions over us," Isaac told Details. "The roof was torn off and the water was coming up. I was holding my dog. My room got completely swept away. And then, in the morning, my dad came and knocked through a wall and grabbed us and took us to the hospital where he was working."

He eventually attended another, public school in Palm Beach, and later became an acting student at New York City's Juilliard School, one of the most prestigious performing arts schools in the world. One of his schoolmates was Jessica Chastain, who was dating one of his friends.

"She was an upperclassman and I was an underclassman," he told Details. "And she was amazing. She would give me a hard time about...my petting animals that I shouldn't have been petting,"

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