Those of us that have grown up with the varying forms of the Harry Potter franchise – be it books or movies – probably have a love/hate relationship with Lucius Malfoy. In the books he’s an elitist, villainous, terrible father that we all hated, and in the movies he was exactly that except played by one of Britain’s most renowned actors. Jason Isaacs took some time out of his busy schedule to talk with fans at Dragon Con this year about his characterization of the Malfoy Patriarch.
Isaacs is largely responsible for the entire look and sound of Lucius, and in fact requested the character’s signature cloak. Lucius Malfoy was introduced to the movie franchise during it’s second film, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Isaacs spent a good deal of time with the head of the costume department, Oscar winner Lindy Hemming, figuring out just what the sleek Slytherin would look like. At the time, the elder Malfoy had a costume that resembled more of a Muggle suit (pinstripes and all) than wizard wear and Isaacs was quick to point out “But Lucius hates muggles, he’s not going to dress like a muggle!” He made a request for a long cape and followed that up by quickly grabbing a length of black velvet curtain nearby and draping it around himself. Needless to say, when Chris Columbus (director of Chamber) was asked for approval on the costume choices he was hesitant to give it the thumbs up.
Further debate with Hemming followed when Isaacs requested long blonde hair. Hemming was quick to point out that, “Dumbledore has long hair” to which Isaacs replied “Yeah, he’s a wizard, I’m a wizard! Dumbledore doesn’t have a monopoly on long hair!” Once again, the director Chris Columbus was hesitant with the costuming choices but ultimately approved of the completed look.
It should also be noted that Isaacs himself requested the signature snake-head cane that Lucius Malfoy is hardly ever seen without and made the clever suggestion that his wand be hidden in the cane body itself.
It’s very apparent that we would have seen a completely different Malfoy patriach if he had been played by any other actor, Isaacs also created the voice for the character (with approving input from Daniel Radcliffe) and improvised many of the interactions with Dobby the house elf that became so emblematic of the character and his opinions on “lesser beings.” Most of his improvisations are what make the character and were quickly written into the script after he tried them on set.
We give our most sincere thanks to Isaacs for his dedication to the role and for his contributions to the iconic franchise as a whole!