10+ Facts About Oscar Isaac Fans Didn't Know

Oscar Isaac is certainly on his way to an Oscar.

His impressive filmography includes x Machina, Inside Llewyn Davis, and the modern Star Wars films where he played fan-favorite, Dameron.

With an impressive resume like that, it's hard to believe that he had his big break so late in the game.

Curious to learn more? Keep reading for these 10+ facts fans didn't know.

1. Isaac is his middle name.

He was born as Óscar Isaac Hernández Estrada, but decided to shorten it as a way to get more roles.

"All [casting directors] would see me for was ‘the gangster’ or whatever, so I was like, ‘Well, let me see if this helps,’” Isaac told Esquire.

Ironically, this ended up backfiring.

Some people, including Men In Black director, Barry Sonnenfeld, thought that he was Jewish.

"She [the casting director] said, ‘Let’s bring in this Oscar Isaac’, and he was like, ‘No no no! I just want Cubans!’ I saw Barry Sonnenfeld a couple of years ago and I told him that story — ‘I don’t want a Jew, I want a Cuban!’”

2. He was born in Guatemala.

His family didn't stay there long, though, as they relocated to America when Oscar was two months old. Eventually, they moved to Miami, where he was raised.

Once the actor got into acting, he began by auditioning for a lot of Spanish roles.

"I was constantly auditioning for stuff like Spanish commercials. A couple movies," he told *GQ*.

"I remember my mom driving me around to all these auditions, and getting the phone call with my mom that I didn't get a commercial, a film commercial in Spanish. I was crushed."

3. He attended Juilliard.

He got accepted into the prestigious acting program in 2001.

His classmate was none other than actress Jessica Chastain, although she doesn't remember him from back then. They later worked together in A Most Violent Year.

4. He was a bad boy growing up.

His rebel behavior eventually got him expelled from private school!

"I sprayed a fire extinguisher in the gym and defaced a mural," he told Details. "Wrote curse words on all the stairs up to the library, like [expletives] all the way to the top step."

"Yeah, it was just stupid, stupid,” Isaac admitted.

Another time, he and his friend broke into a guy's ranch.

"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."

5. He convinced the *Star Wars: The Force Awakens* director not to kill his character off.

He told Esquire:

“I said that I wasn’t sure because I had already done that role in other movies where you kind of set it up for the main people and then you die spectacularly."

6. He comes from a very religious family.

The actor didn't always agree with his devoted evangelical Christian parents.

“The social-conservative culture wasn’t lining up with what I was understanding Jesus was saying,” the actor told Rolling Stone.

7. Before acting, he was a musician.

His genre of choice? Punk rock.

"In high school, I really fell in love with music in a big way. I had bands with different groups of friends," he told Vice.

These bands included Petrified Frogs, Closet Heterosexuals, and The Worms.

He gave it up when he got accepted into Juilliard.

"When I got accepted to Juilliard in New York, I had to make the decision to put the band on the backburner and focus on acting. But even to this day, I play music all the time. I occasionally play live, too."

8. He's worked a lot of odd jobs.

He worked as a bag boy at a Publix for about a week, then at a golf course for about a month.

His longest odd job was working with dead people. No, really.

He used to work at the same hospital where his father worked as a pulmonologist.

He used to work at the same hospital where his father worked as a pulmonologist.

He told Vice that his job included “taking people to do X-rays, bringing the deceased down to the morgue.”

9. He got his uncle a role in *Star Wars*.

You can thank director J.J. Abrams for that, as he was so touched by Isaac's uncle, who's a superfan, bringing custom-made T-shirts for everyone.

Abrams ended up asking him if he wanted to be an extra.

10. He almost wasn't the lead in *Inside Llewyn Davis*.

The actor had some stiff competition for the role: Ryan Reynolds, Casey Affleck, and Michael Fassbender.

In the end, Oscar's musical background gave him a leg-up. He even earned a Golden Globe nomination.

11. He almost joined the Marines.

"The sax player in my band had grown up in a military family so we were like, 'Hey, let's work out and get all ripped and be badasses!'" he recalled to Esquire.

Since his dad was so against it, Isaac had the recruiters come and convince him.

"I did the exam, I took the oath, but then we had gotten the money together to record an album with The Worms. I decided I'd join the Reserves instead."

12. He's unlikely to return to *Star Wars*.

He told a Deadline panel that it wasn't what he wanted to do.

"What I set out to do was to make handmade movies, and to work with people that inspire me."

"[For] every actor of a certain generation, those are the films that made them who they are, so that’s certainly my case," he continued.

That's definitely not what Star Wars fans wanted to hear.

Until he changes his mind (fingers crossed), you can catch him playing Family Fued with his co-stars.