Jason Isaacs is no stranger to playing villains. Not only is he well known for his role as Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter saga but he has voiced a number of iconic villains, especially a few from DC Comics including Lex Luthor and Ra's al Ghul. His most recent outing as a villain will be quite different, as he takes on a famous group of meddling kids as Dick Dastardly in WB's animated SCOOB! movie. Though Dick Dastardly has appeared in various iterations of Scooby-Doo titles in the past, Isaacs managed to make the character his own while also getting an opportunity to hype him up as more of a super villain that in the past.
"I'm an actor. I'd be horrified if I was doing the same thing I'd done before," Isaacs said, referencing his extensive his lending his voice to villains. "I mean, I hope that nobody notices overlaps in other things. I mean, there are only a certain number of voices I can do. I'm not sure I have an infinite capacity for reinvention."
In the case of making Dick Dastardly his own, Isaacs had a similar experience to that of Will Forte who voices Shaggy. The voices and characters are well-known from th past but reinventing them for a new audience is important. "Really it comes, it grows out of the script, and it grows out of Dick Dastardly, who's an incredible character," Isaacs explained. "He's a fantastically narcissistic, egomaniacal, supervillain, genius in this iteration. He's bigger and stronger than Dick Dastardly's of the past, you know. He provides some real threat, some real peril, but he's also, I think got a real heart in this because a movie is not a 10 minute episode of a cartoon. So, you have to have a real emotional threat all the way through. And for all of its fantastical and you know we go to space, and hell, and all these places."
As with all good villains, Dastardly does not come without his purpose and attachments which motivate him. "There's also a core truth about friends, and not losing sight of what it is that we love about each other and families falling apart and needing to find each other again," Isaacs said.
Of course, Isaacs did look to previous version of the character as a means to pay homage to Dastardly's of the past. "I looked to the other people who played Dick Dastardly before, and I listened to the voices, but I also remembered that it's origin was a British movie, 'It's a Mad, Mad, World,' and Terry Thomas, who was the mustachioed villain in it," Isaacs said. "And so not wanting to do a very poor impression or be a diluted version of the brilliant American voices who've done it before, we thought we'd go English, since that's what it was based on."
In the booth is where the character truly came to life, essentially building what sounds like a roster of different voices which would be entertaining to listen to in itself. "We did a bunch of different things in the booth, and tried them all out, they all worked to a different extent, but it just felt like he was such a ham," Isaacs said. "He's his own best and only audience, even though he's created all these creatures they don't laugh at him or find him funny, nobody applauds, no one is impressed by him, even slightly, so he has to provide his own standing ovation all of the time. So there was something that felt deliciously foolish about making him English."
SCOOB! is available on demand on Friday, May 15.