Oscar Isaac on Controversial Ayn Rand Shirt: 'I'm Not a Libertarian!' - Rolling Stone
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Oscar Isaac on Controversial Ayn Rand Shirt: ‘I’m Not a Libertarian!’

Actor explains that ‘Atlas Shrugged’ T-shirt, his Latino roots, ska-punk days in candid interview

Oscar IsaacOscar Isaac

Oscar Isaac talks politics, ska-punk and his upbringing in his candid 'Rolling Stone' cover story.

Karwai Tang/Getty

In-demand actor Oscar Isaac, who’s currently featured on the cover of Rolling Stone, may be reticent about his rising stardom (“I’m an actor, not a star,” he tells Rolling Stone) and his love life in interviews, but he’s forthcoming when revealing where he stands on politics, music and his upbringing.

During his Rolling Stone interview, he was in the midst of working on a bigger role in Episode VIII, the follow-up to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, where he starred in a small part as Poe Dameron. The X-Men actor is also starring alongside Christian Bale in The Promise, a film set against the Armenian genocide, and signed on to A Foreigner, a knotty thriller set in his mother’s native Guatemala.

While Isaac has been dubbed “the Internet’s boyfriend,” he also suffered major backlash when he was pictured wearing a T-shirt housing the cover of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. “I liked the design,” he told Rolling Stone. “I didn’t think wearing the shirt was saying I agreed with all her politics. I’m not a Libertarian!”

Turns out Isaac has long been a man of his convictions, including being straight-edge as a teen. He started getting into tussles as early as first grade, which could’ve led his evangelical Christian parents to place him in a stricter Christian school than he was attending while he was in junior high, but Hurricane Andrew decimated his house and leveled the school he was supposed to attend for high school. He instead ended up in public school, where he warmed to the local punk scene. “Bruce [Ferguson] showed up one day with a mohawk and was like, ‘Ska, man! Fucking ska!’ he said, explaining that he avoided drinking and drugs through high school. However, that changed once he enrolled in Julliard in 2001, where a friend was murdered. “I remember I said, ‘I fucking need a drink,’ and I had a drink,” he recalled. “I thought, ‘What am I afraid this is going to do?'” He also experimented with weed.

He’s also proud of his Latino heritiage and it’s one reason he’s not a Donald Trump fan. Though Isaac dropped the last name he was born with, Hernandez, which led to a wider variety of auditions, he’s not bashful about discussing his father’s Cuban and his mother’s Guatemalan heritage. So, the rise of Donald Trump is “definitely irritating. The problem is it’s less about the guy that’s saying it, and more that he’s being the mouthpiece for a large part of the population. Because that’s me, that’s my family. We’re immigrants. What could be positive about it is that Trump could help to rally a lot of disparate parts of Latin America together. Because Latino is not a race – it’s a culture. There’s Chinese Latinos, there’s very white Latinos, there’s very dark Latinos, there’s black Latinos. There’s all sorts of variants – it’s not one thing.”

Oscar Isaac is far from your average Hollywood leading man – and he aims to keep it that way. Watch here.

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