ENTERTAINMENT

Jason Isaacs: Star Of Cars 2, Case Histories, Harry Potter...But There Is No Plan

22/07/2011 15:29 BST | Updated 21/09/2011 10:12 BST

If ever an actor has a purple patch, Jason Isaacs is experiencing his - the Liverpool-born actor is quite simply everywhere.

When he's not chewing up the scenery as Lucius Malfoy in the eighth and final instalment of Harry Potter, he's removing his shirt to become the thinking woman's hot, cross bun in BBC crime drama Case Histories. So is there a plan to all this?

"Not at all, I stumble from job to job. I'm just a working actor. Something comes along and I grab it, do the best I can because I love it. I can't believe I get paid to do this job," he explains with authentic-sounding humility, but with a Malfoy-esque gleam in his eye.

Despite his growing choice of parts, Isaacs - who, in the flesh is as vulpine as his fans would hope - jumped at the chance to voice one of the roles in Cars 2, even if it meant what could be seen as an insultingly small amount of screen time because of his admiration for the brains behind the project.

"John Lasseter is quite possibly the greatest living storyteller, certainly in animation. My children are addicted to Pixar, and he thinks it's important to make you laugh and cry - he's also partly the inventor of all this great technology used in animation these days, but that's only in the service of great story-telling.

"So I didn't care what it was, what the lines were, I trust John Lasseter and I wanted to be part of it. So I turned up to do this minute part, only minutes on screen - but even for that, there are all these storyboards, John walking me through - they couldn't contain themselves, they're like big babies dreaming up a whole new world.

They made me record it hundreds of times until they felt it was truthful. That attention to detail is why they're the best in the world."

Next for Isaacs is a move to Los Angeles, and the NBC drama Awake.

"The first hour is brilliant. It didn't quite occur to me that we'd have to find another 20 hours, so I hope we can maintain the quality."

As for his purple patch, the actor is almost apologetic: "The British public are, I'm sure, unbelievably sick of me because I was promoting Case Histories, then Harry Potter, now Cars 2. I promise you I'll be disappearing for a while to do some actual work, because even I'm sick of myself."

Even if he is promising to take himself off somewhere reclusive, one thing he can't escape is the "Say hello to Jason Isaacs" phenomenon that has followed him since radio critic and old school chum Mark Kermode started mentioning it on Radio 5 film review show. Isaacs is bemused by the way this has followed him to the strangest of places:

"I was in a canyon in Los Angeles by myself, and a voice came up from a neighbouring canon - someone hollering 'Hello Jason Isaacs'. I don't quite know what it is, it doesn't belong to me, but it puts a wry smile on my face."

Cars 2 is in cinemas from today 22 July.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 is already in cinemas.