Netflix’s head-scratching sci-fi drama The OA returns this week for a long-awaited second season. Following its bizarre first season finale, The OA may have more questions to answer than any other series out this year… and that includes Game of Thrones.
What dimension’s OA zipped off to? What are the FBI really doing? What was all that with the Movements? Will we get to see more of OA’s delicious cooking skills this season? Fans will be HAP-py (sorry) to know that the first season’s smash-hit mind-boggling story and shocking finale promises to get even more outrageous in its follow up, as the plot centres around a mysterious house in San Francisco, teased in the Season 2 trailer.
Jason Isaacs returns after starring in the first series as malevolent captor Hap, now playing an alternate reality version of his big bad. Kinglsey Ben-Adir, best known for his lead role as Dr Marcus Summer in ITV’s Vera, joins the second season of The OA as new lead, Karim Washington, a San Francisco-based private detective.
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So who better to answer all of our biggest questions ahead of the new season than the guys who know everything?
“We could, but we’d be rubbish if we did that because the whole point of The OA is it’s a fantastic mystery,” says Jason Isaacs.
Well, in this reality at least, we’ve simply spent too long discussing the intricacies of The Movements on OA fan forums to let this opportunity go to waste.
We spoke to Jason Isaacs and Kingsley Ben-Adir about their verdicts on fan theories, they reveal the alternate-universe roles they almost played, tease the future of the show, and get real about the possibility of a Stranger Things x OA crossover…
Yahoo Movies UK: This is a show that lends itself to so many fan theories, and there are so many questions fans have from season one…
Jason Isaacs: But hilariously, they don’t really want the answers. That’s the thing. I used to do a lot of magic tricks, and people ask, ‘How did you do that?’ And if you tell them, they go from this look of wonderment to unbelievable disappointment: “Oh, you’ve got a plastic thumb have you?”
There are many theories. We’ve read them, we’ve talked about them, but we don’t want to confirm or deny any of them. But you can run them all by us.
What’s the craziest theory you’ve read so far?
JI: Some of the craziest theories are closest to the truth, so I’m not going to say.
Kingsley Ben-Adir: I wasn’t in season one, so no one stops me on the street and asks me. But I do know one theory, about the FBI.
Is it the one about how he FBI stashed the books under Prairie’s bed to discredit her story to the others? Why else would Riz Ahmed’s FBI agent have been skulking around that house?
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KB-A: That’s the only one I’ve heard because my pal told me that’s what he thought happened. And I was like, ‘I don’t know!’
JI: Yeah I’ve heard that theory as well. I think it’s definitely a theory that’s out there!
I think that’s my favourite one, I think that seems plausible.
KB-A: You should go with that one!
Ok, another fan theory on the FBI theme, is Rachel an undercover FBI agent? The show doesn’t show Hap putting her through the NDE tests and in Episode 6 we are told she doesn’t have her own movement…
JI: That one I have never heard!
KB-A: I haven’t heard that, is that your one?
No it’s Reddit’s…
JI: I’m just curious, what were people drinking when they came up with that one?
I feel like this is going to be your reaction to everything.
JI: Were they watching an alternative show in an alternative universe?
Well, there are a lot of them! Another theory: Are there Easter eggs hidden in Braille through the show?
JI: Oh that’s interesting. Look, there are Easter eggs and clues throughout, because unlike almost every television show – or, certainly every television show I’ve ever been on – they’ve got the whole thing planned. They know where they’re going; they know where these strands are going to overlap, what’s going to come back and what’s going to resonate. So yes, there are definitely clues and Easter eggs all the way through the show.
Looking ahead to the further seasons after this upcoming second season – are they something you want to be part of?
JI: There’s a third, fourth and fifth season in the writers’ heads. I would hope if there’s any room for Hap, that I’d be part of as much of it as they fancy.
KB-A: Legally, I’m bound. But who knows whether I’ll be in it?
JI: Frankly I’m a fan, I want to watch the third, fourth and fifth seasons. If I’m in them as well, that’s great. So far, I’ve loved what they’ve come up with and it’s been so refreshing and unusual compared to everything else I’ve ever read. And if I can be part of it, that’ll be cool because then I get to read the scripts early.
KB-A: Yeah, absolutely. It’s mad, though, to think that they could write you back as anything. And you’d have to do it. Jason, have you ever read something and thought, ‘Oh god, I’ve got to go back and do that?’
JI: Well I’ve certainly read things and thought, ‘Oh god, why did I sign up for this? I didn’t expect that to turn out that way!’
When has that happened to you before?
JI: I once took a job – I can’t say what it was – based on the script, and I got there and it had been completely rewritten, and any of the things I thought were interesting about it had gone. And some things that I thought were appalling were now all over the script. And I had no choice but to shoot it.
KB-A: I had a supporting role in The Commuter. Like, a solid supporting role. With, like, nine scenes. And I got to set and it turned into two lines!
JI: How about this: I had a lovely part in Crash, that [writer & director] Paul Haggis wrote for me. I flew over to LA, shot for a couple of days, had this beautiful scene – he phoned me from the edit room to say, ‘I love this scene, every time people come in to watch the film, I just show them your scene because it’s like the whole movie in miniature’. I thought, ‘That’s great!’ Then he said, ‘The thing is, it’s like the whole movie in miniature. So I’ve cut it.’ He said, ‘Do you still want a credit?’ I told him not to worry. Then, the night he won the Oscar, I was texting him saying, ‘Put my name back in it! Put my name back in it!’
KB-A: Damn! Oh that sucks.
Looking forward to Season 3 of The OA – when you’re dealing with alternate dimensions and dreams and consciousness, that means that as an actor, you could be playing a part in another season that is a different character. What would you personally like to explore next?
KB-A: It would be amazing to come back as a gangster. Like Tony Soprano or Cillian Murphy’s role in Peaky Blinders. That would be cool.
JI: Jump into the Peaky Blinders dimension!
KB-A: The younger me would want to come back as a gangster. But no, it depends on what they write!
JI: I literally have no idea but I feel safe in the fact that they already know what they’re going to come up with. So every time I ask, ‘Can I play a lot of tennis and eat Chinese food?’, they say, ‘Do that in your time off, we’re going to tell the story!’
So if you wanted to see Hap reimagined in the next season, it could be a Chinese food-eating tennis player, perhaps?
JI: I suggested that constantly. They’re not biting for some reason.
KB-A: Or, as an Arsenal football player. Living over here in the UK, playing.
JI: But wouldn’t you like to win something occasionally?
KB-A: Yeah, it’s coming!
JI: Funnily enough, when they were writing the second season, [co-creator] Zal asked me to come and sit in the writers room. And I thought, I’m so blown away by how unpredictable and fresh their writing is, that you don’t want my addled old hack brain coming in the room and bringing all these derivative ideas. So, I don’t even want to begin to imagine what I’d like to see in Season 3 because whatever they come up with will be better.
Kingsley, you join this season, if you could pick any actor to join next season, who would it be?
KB-A: That is such a good question and there are so many. It’s so hard to just pick one. Do they have to be alive?
JI: Well the scenes would be duller, frankly, if they were dead. Although it is The OA, so who knows?
KB-A: Probably either Jeffrey Wright, or Benicio Del Toro. Or Pete Postlethwaite. Or Ed Harris! I’d love to work with Ed Harris. He’s a hero of mine.
JI: I’ve worked with Ed Harris, he’s great. He’s mischievous as well. He’s naughty. On camera you can see these blazing, mischievous eyes.
Finally – this is a bit of a fan theory too – you can draw a lot of comparisons between The OA and Stranger Things… what do you think about the idea that they could exist in the same universe? Would you ever be up for an OA crossover with Stranger Things?
KB-A OA’s much better!
JI: The OA’s a much more sophisticated grown up drama, Stranger Things is brilliant for what it is in the genre that it lives in, but we live in a kind of genre-free, much more complex story. So I don’t know how those two worlds would ever meet.
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KB-A: Imagine they did though, Season Five. And then they just sort of came together…
JI: That would be not just jumping the shark, that would be trampolining over a whale.
The OA Part II launches globally on Netflix on 22 March.