We’ve all come to associate Jason Isaacs with playing the bad guy, mostly from taking on the role of Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter series, but also for his villainous roles in A Cure for Wellness, The OA, The Patriot and Peter Pan – plus in animated films, he’s voiced Batman villain Ra's al Ghul and Superman’s nemesis Lex Luthor.
But it turns out that in the past, Isaacs didn’t want to become synonymous with playing the baddie, and in fact went for an entirely different role in his audition for Harry Potter.
In an interview promoting his latest film The Death of Stalin, Isaacs told Digital Spy: "I didn't audition for Lucius, I auditioned for Gilderoy Lockhart. I was mightily pissed off when they asked me would I mind reading for a different part.
"I was about to go play Captain Hook [in 2003's Peter Pan] and didn't want to do two children's villains. I went back in and read then went home.
"I said to my agent, 'When they call, tell them no, thank you very much, I am about to go play Captain Hook'. He said, 'Just think about it over the weekend'. I said, 'No, I don't want to think about it – it's fun and lovely and flattering but I am not playing two children's villains!'"
As was the case with the late, great Richard Harris (whose 11-year-old granddaughter convinced him to take the role of Dumbledore), Isaacs' family stepped in to convince him. Isaacs explains: "Over the weekend, everybody I knew called me – nieces, nephews, godchildren and then the parents.
"They all tried to persuade me to take the job – not because they cared about me but because they wanted to visit the set! So I took the job and thank god I did!"
We spoke to the actor this week about his role in the comedy of the year, The Death of Stalin. You can read our In Conversation with… Jason Isaacs here.