Jason Isaacs, fresh off his final turn in the “Harry Potter” films, walked into a ballroom full of swooning fans at San Diego’s 2011 Comic-Con aiming a video camera at the audience to preserve the moment. The crowd hooted appreciatively for their favorite villain, and it’s likely Isaacs, not a Fox midseason police procedural-with-a-twist, that brought them in. Whether or not Isaacs will be able to keep them watching with his new series “Awake” is debatable.
Though the crowd applauded enthusiastically once the screening of “Awake” was over, the screening suffered from poor sound and the distracting effect of a crying baby in the audience. But “Awake,” with its poignant theme of loss and repressed grief probably isn’t best served by being tossed up on a giant screen for an audience attending the Con for fun first looks and celebrity sightings. Luckily, Isaacs returned to the stage (along with executive producers Howard Gordon and Kyle Killen) for a fifteen minute Q&A afterwards.
Isaacs charmed the already adoring crowd, answering the question of which reality is the “real” one for his character by quipping, “Let’s ask God, what d’you think?” Though he talked seriously about his character’s dual life (“He’s slowly getting more and more drained and crazy and having to hide more of it all the time,”), he kept the mood light. In response to a fan question about the challenge of switching between his “Potter” character and his “Awake” character, deadpanned, “Frankly, I think this new series is brilliant, but it misses an elf.”
Isaacs only (minor) misstep came in the middle of the presentation. Complimenting the crowd for their smart questions, he said, “I’m used to really stupid questions from journalists,” before quickly adding, “Not that all journalists are really stupid, of course.” Killen, grinning, said, “Nice save.” Indeed.