Jason Isaacs: "My wealthy groupies"

Liz Hoggard

Jason Isaacs who plays Lucius Malfoy in 'Harry Potter' has told 'The Independent' newspaper about his regular female groupies.



"They have followed me for decades, and turn up everywhere and anywhere I am," he says. "They're well-to-do women and have resources. I hosted a charity gala recently in South Central LA for homes for women who get out of prison – and they had bought a table. When I was on stage in the West End they flew from all over the world, including Australia, and booked tickets for every night. And they even send beautiful gifts for myself, [my wife] Emma and the girls. You'd think they were my aunties – except when they're having their photograph taken with me they have their hand on my arse."

[William, Kate and Harry visit Warner Bros. Studios]

Isaacs, who is starring in new series of BBC1's 'Case Histories' playing Edinburgh gumshoe, Jackson Brodie, reveals he never got to keep his 'Paris Hilton wig' - Malfoy's so-named, blond hairpiece when they finally wrapped the last 'Harry Potter' movie.

"I won't name the cast member, but he blew it for everyone by nicking all the gold coins from Gringotts Bank on the first film," says Isaacs. "After that there was a Fort Knox lockdown of all the props, although they did give me my wand… my wand in a cane… because it was my own idea."
 
Born in Liverpool in 1963, Isaacs was raised in a Jewish community. His father, a jewellery-maker, moved the family to London when Isaacs was 11, and those years coincided with the rise of the National Front.

"There were constantly people beating us up or smashing windows," he says. "If you were ever, say, on a Jewish holiday, identifiably Jewish, there was lots of violence around. But particularly when I was 16, in 1979, the National Front were really taking hold, there were leaflets at school, and Sieg Heiling and people goose-stepping down the road and coming after us."

The family moved south. School was Haberdashers' Aske's in Elstree, Hertfordshire, an independent boys' school where his contemporaries included David Baddiel and the film critic Mark Kermode.

After landing a place at London's Central School of Speech and Drama, he  played the gay Jewish office temp in Tony Kushner's 'Angels in America' at the National Theatre, and got to kiss Daniel Craig every night. "I've played a lot of gay parts, and it's a barrier for me to get over snogging men," he says. "But Daniel was so easy… he's such a sexy man."

[Daniel Radcliffe sobs as Richard Griffiths is laid to rest]

He was Golden Globe-nominated for his British ambassador in the political thriller, 'The State Within' and played a priest in Neil Jordan's 1999 adaptation of Graham Greene's 'The End of the Affair'.

But these have inevitably been dwarfed by his role of Lucius Malfoy in all seven of the Harry Potter movies. 

"I didn't get to do the publicity tours until I did the last one and I got to realise what I'd missed out on because everywhere you went in the world there was this mass hysteria," he says. "Mass hysteria for the minor characters like myself – I can't imagine what it would be like for Daniel [Radcliffe] or Emma [Watson] turning up somewhere… there'd be people spontaneously combusting."

A rather more obscure but thoroughly post-modern type of fame is the meme, 'Hello to Jason Isaacs', that has resulted from a regular shout-out by his school contemporary Mark Kermode, on Kermode and Simon Mayo's Radio Five Live 'Film Review'.

 "It's like a creature out there, some Dr Seuss creation running amok," says Isaacs. "I met Alan Parker once and said 'Hello', and he said 'As in "Hello to Jason Isaacs?"'. And I was on a hike in America and I was in a canyon and I heard someone yodelling from a neighbouring canyon, 'Hello to Jason Isaacs'."