Isaac discusses Poe's inspiration, inner song in 'Star Wars'

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Posted: Dec 10, 2015 9:43 PM
Isaac discusses Poe's inspiration, inner song in 'Star Wars'

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Spoiler alert: Oscar Isaac's X-wing pilot Poe Dameron does not break into song in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."

Isaac won awards the last time he sang onscreen, in the 2013 Coen Brothers' film "Inside Llewyn Davis," and he charmed the Twitterverse with his vocals last week when he sang a duet of "Baby, It's Cold Outside" with his "Star Wars" co-star Daisy Ridley. But Poe keeps his music on the inside.

"Poe? He's got inner song happening all the time," Isaac said in a recent interview.

Though Isaac didn't add music to Poe's repertoire, he did come up with a backstory for the character that's now part of "Star Wars" lore.

In the original 1977 film, the fictional planet Yavin was actually Guatemala's ancient Mayan city of Tikal. Isaac was born in Guatemala, so he decided that Poe must be from Yavin.

"Sure enough, LucasFilm heard that, and when it came time to do 'Shattered Empire,' the comic book, that was part of the story," Isaac said. "So other than being a part of this cultural phenomenon, what's even wilder is to be contributing to it."

The actor also worked with director J.J. Abrams to develop Poe's character in "The Force Awakens," but in keeping with the hyper-secrecy shrouding the film, Isaac won't offer any specifics.

"It's like having a gift that you're going to give to somebody and they're going to open it very soon," he said. "But that's why it's also been fun keeping it secret. Because when you buy a gift, you don't want to tell them what it is before they open it."

What Isaac will reveal, though, is that he prepared for the role by reading real-life accounts of WWII fighter pilots, who he describes as "the closest thing to superheroes that we have."

"They soar above all the rest of us at incredible speeds and they have to have so many things clear in their minds," he said. "There's so many things happening. So the fact that they can do this and survive and excel gives them a sense of invincibility, a sense of immortality. And some swagger."

Isaac may need some of that swagger himself when his roles in "Star Wars" and "X-Men: Apocalypse" make him a big-screen hero. He said he's "not looking forward" to the possibility of big fame, but he is enjoying seeing his image as an action figure.

"I think even more trippy is the Go-Gurt with my face on it. You can drink yogurt out of my head," he said. "I haven't done it yet. I'm not sure I'll be able to do it. It might be too meta for me."

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Follow AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen at www.twitter.com/APSandy .