‘Rosemary’s Baby’ (NBC) Interview: Jason Isaacs Discusses Sinking His Teeth Into His Devilish Role

NBC is wishing everyone a happy Mother’s Day with the first part of their two-night, four hour event series Rosemary’s Baby. Based on the classic novel by Ira Levin, Rosemary’s Baby moves the action from ’60s era New York City to modern day Paris where Rosemary (Zoe Saldana) and her husband Guy (Patrick J. Adams) meet an affluent Parisian couple, Roman (Jason Isaacs) and Margaux (Carole Bouquet), who change their lives forever. Recently, TV Equals joined in a conference call with Jason Isaacs to discuss his views on the miniseries, playing the dangerous Roman and more.

Rosemary’s Baby begins tonight, Sunday, May 11th at 9PM and concludes Thursday, May 15th beginning at 9PM on NBC.

Why This Is Not The Rosemary’s Baby You Remember

Those expecting a straight remake of the ’60s book and film from Roman Polanski will be in for a surprise when they tune into NBC’s Rosemary’s Baby. Where the previous two incarnations relied on paranoia to drive the devilish plot, the miniseries is far less subtle. Isaacs teased, “A substantial portion of the budget went on croissant and the rest went on blood.”

Isaacs promised this version of the story is straight horror. There will be no question whether this is all happening in Rosemary’s head because what is shown onscreen is far more explicit. “Stuff happens,” Isaacs said. “And stuff is really happening on screen and it’s more a case of get out, the calls are coming from within the house, so it’s a lot gorier and nastier and creepier and a more horrific, I think. It’s more flat out-and-out horror, certainly in the second night.”

Additionally, the move to Paris and to a modern time period brings out a stronger Rosemary while also placing the young couple at the center of the tale in an unfamiliar setting. “I think it was a brilliant move to move the thing to Paris because they don’t speak the language around them,” Issacs elaborated. “They don’t quite understand the culture around them. They don’t even understand the medicine around. There’s Margaux making these incredible herbal drinks for her. You know in France on the public health system you get homeopathy, you get naturopathy. You get a bunch of stuff. And so the ground is shaky beneath their feet from the start.”

On Playing Roman

Isaacs shared that he enjoyed playing a centuries old character who was so charming and deadly all at once. Playing an ancient character doing the Devil’s bidding is no easy task, but Isaacs relished the challenge. “I felt like Roman was a giant I got and I could see that within the confines of this story there was a way to play him believably,” he said.

When asked how Roman could draw Guy into such a horrifying scheme, Isaacs responded, “Roman’s done it before. Roman’s been around an awfully long time. He’s been around hundreds of guys. He recognizes the weakness, essential weakness in Guy’s soul. He sees where his ego is large enough to tap into it and to persuade him to make this awful sacrifice, and so I certainly think that Guy would think a long time that Roman is his mentor and then of course he becomes his captor. And for me it’s like he’s a mouse and I’m the cat. Or he’s a big game fish that I’m reeling in slowly. But once I have him I have him and it doesn’t really matter what he thinks and how much he rattles the bars, I have him. Forever.”

The Best Reason To Watch…

Even with all of the changes and the new location, everyone knows how Rosemary’s Baby goes. That is no reason not to tune in though, at least not according to Isaacs. “Rosemary’s Baby, it’s such a creepy tale. It’s so deeply nasty and it turned its vice slowly on you. And you just, you have a creeping sense of dread and horror. You just, you know, there’s no way out of it. You know what’s coming and you kind of get on this conveyor belt and you gradually tighten your knuckles until you look down and your nails are digging into your palms.”

Creeped out yet?

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