Oscar Isaac is one of the most sought after actors in Hollywood right now.
Often compared to 1970s movie stars like Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, Isaac has become known in the past few years for churning out dark, brilliant performances in “Drive”, “Inside Llewyn Davis”, and 2014’s “A Most Violent Year”.
For Oscar Isaac, 2015 will be a year for the record books.
After an excellent performance in sci-fi indie “Ex Machina,” he will also star in HBO miniseries “Show Me a Hero”, and a little movie called “Star Wars“. Plus, with a role in an “X-Men” sequel on the horizon, it looks like Oscar Isaac is truly about to become a huge movie star.
See how Oscar Isaac went from class troublemaker to future blockbuster star.
Oscar Isaac Hernandez was born in 1979 in Guatemala. His family left and moved all around the United States before finally settling in Miami.
Isaac shortened his name as a young actor in Miami to avoid being cast as the 'Latino Gangster.' 'Being called Oscar Hernández in Miami is like being called John Smith; there are 15 pages of us in the phone book.' said Isaac in 2014.
As a kid, he frequently got into trouble. In the seventh grade, Isaac was expelled from private school for many reasons, one of them being that he broke into somebody's ranch who bordered his school, and pet the animals.
After a hurricane wiped out that private school, his family moved to Palm Beach, where he attended public school and started learning music. His specialty was guitar.
Isaac served as frontman for a ska band called the Blinking Underdogs. The band had moderate success, performing at Warped Tour and opening once for Green Day.
Isaac trained at Juilliard, one of the best acting programs in the world. During his time there from 2001 to 2005, he became close friends with future Oscar-nominated actress Jessica Chastain.
He got a lot of screen time playing Joseph in 2006's biblical re-telling 'The Nativity Story.' While on set, Isaac reportedly formed such a deep bond with a donkey named Gilda that he requested it be flown with them between countries.
One of his first standout roles was in 2011's 'Drive' alongside Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan. Isaac's performance in the film is brief, but memorable as an ex-convict.
After years of small but impressive roles, Isaac landed his big break as a struggling folk singer in 2013's 'Inside Llewyn Davis.'
To prepare for his audition, Isaac learned some guitar tricks from Erik Franzen, who played with Dave Van Ronk, the musician in which Llewyn Davis is based off of.
In 2014's 'A Most Violent Year,' he gave a quiet, subdued performance as a businessman who refuses to turn to crime. His brush with awards season continued after he won an award from New York Film Critics Online.
This spring, he made another scene-stealing performance when he transformed his look once again to become an eccentric billionaire scientist in the sci-fi thriller 'Ex Machina.' And that's just the beginning of his banner year.
Isaac does a lot of research and reading for his roles. In 'Ex Machina,' he modelled Nathan after controversial chess legend Bobby Fischer as well as director Stanley Kubrick.
'Bobby Fischer was someone I fell upon -- the idea that he's from the Bronx, self-taught, he's a chess genius, he had an Olympic trainer training him while he was preparing for his chess battles in, like, swimming, bodybuilding, gratuitous exercise...' Isaac explained to Esquire. 'And I also thought on the lighter end of the spectrum was (Stanley) Kubrick. He was also from the Bronx, also self-taught, also a chess genius, and also a photographic genius. He thought so many moves ahead. I listened to his speech patterns.'
Isaac will also appear in August's HBO miniseries 'Show Me a Hero' from 'The Wire' creator David Simon.
Isaac ended up being the perfect man for the project. 'I don't mind saying that I was floating without a green light until I got an actor that they could look at and say, 'This guy can drive it,'' 'Show Me a Hero' creator David Simon told Details. 'He was an immediate hit in the HBO offices. I can't do this project without an Oscar Isaac committing to it.'
Later this year, you'll be able to see him give a tour-de-force performance as a drifter with a moral compass in 'Mojave.' But that's not the only thing you will see him in.
In December, he will make his blockbuster debut as Poe Dameron in 'Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens.' For the role, he read up extensively on what it's like to be a pilot in war.
He attended his first ever Comic-Con this year with the rest of the 'Star Wars' crew. However, Isaac was one of few people there to kick-off two huge movies.
The other is the upcoming 'X-Men: Apocalypse.' In 2016, you'll be able to see him play the much feared X-Men villain Apocalypse.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.