Mother of God! The Line of Duty Sports Relief sketch may have been packed with gags courtesy of a hapless lawyer played by Lee Mack, but it left us interested in one thing and one thing only: could Jason Isaacs someday star in the main series?
After all, doesn’t Isaacs – who played rogue policeman DC Taylor in the AC-12 skit – seem suited to a role in the BBC ‘s corrupt copper drama? Don’t his stints playing morally ambiguous characters in the past, from Lucius Malfoy in Harry Potter series and Dr ‘Hap’ Percy in Netflix’s The OA, show he could perfectly portray a troubled officer on the edge?
Well, great news if you think so too, fellas. Speaking to RadioTimes.com, Isaacs said he’d certainly be up for a part in an upcoming series – even if he hasn’t yet caught up on all past episodes.
“I haven’t watched Line of Duty recently because it’s so great and sometimes I find it really odd watching things that are so fantastic because I’d like to be in them,” he said. “And I know a lot of Line of Duty people. I know Jed [Mercurio, writer], Lennie [James, who played DCI Tony Gates in series one]. And I know Stephen Graham very well.”
So, is a role a possibility? “Oh, you’ll have to ask Jed! He’s a lovely man and he’s up to him,” Isaacs said with a smile. “All I can do is take the call.”
However, the actor said there could be one big problem with joining the show: everyone would suspect him of being a bent copper.
“Sometimes I get offered jobs that are magnificent on the page, but I think I’d be rubbish because I bring certain baggage with me,” he explains. “Even when I was in The West Wing as one of the most benign, lovely romantic war photographers who witnessed a terrible bombing, half of the audience thought I’d planted the bomb!
“So, sometimes when I’m offered parts that turn out secretly that have a big twist and I turn out to be the bad guy, I turn them down. I think ‘I’d love to play them, but I think the audience are expecting that of me.’ I’d rather use those expectations to make the story more interesting.”
In other words, sounds like he’s looking for a script which blurs which side of the thin blue line his character lies. And doesn’t that sound like your classic Line of Duty is-he-good-or-actually-bad cop? Make it happen, Jed!
Fortunately, in Isaacs’ latest role, all questions whether he’s a villain or not has been taken out the equation. The actor is returning to Harry Potter universe, but rather than reprising his part as the silver-headed Lucius Malfoy, Isaacs is narrating a story in the audiobook of JK Rowling’s The Tales of Beedle the Bard.
As fans of the original Potter stories will know, Beedle the Bard is a collection of in-Potterverse bedtime stories, the favourite fairy tales of all wizarding houses for centuries. Although JK Rowling first published the book for muggles in 2007, the fables are apparating into an audiobook to support J.K. Rowling’s international children’s charity Lumos. And the best bit: it’s available to all Audible members for free this year.
In the new production, five magical talents – including Isaacs, Warwick Davis (Professor Filius Flitwick), Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood) and Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley) – will narrate one story each, with Jude Law (who plays Dumbledore in the Fantastic Beasts films) reading out the Hogwarts headmaster’s notes on each story.
“This isn’t a radio play. None of us are playing our characters. Lucius Malfoy isn’t reading the story, Jason is reading the story. It’s about trying to light the kindling in somebody’s imagination,” explains Isaacs.
“One of the tricks that I think all the other actors have all seemed to have managed is to get out of the way of the writing. JK Rowling is the master of storytelling.”
Jason Isaacs recording at Audible studios
So, what’s the story Isaacs is reading? The Warlock’s Hairy Heart, a mysterious tale of what can happen if you mess with the dark arts.
“It’s completely surprising without being gimmicky,” says Isaacs, not wanting to give away any spoilers. “After all, the joy of a good story is that you don’t know where it’s going.”
“It was an incredible gift to read one of her stories. At a time like this where the world is feeling so precarious and fragile, so many people are taking such great comfort and solace in listening to stories and audiobooks and being taken out of themselves,” he adds.
“And there’s simply nobody best at doing that than JK Rowling.”