Up-and-coming British actor Jason Isaacs let slip some details about "Sweet November," the offbeat romantic comedy shooting all over town. Studios try to shroud their unfinished movies in secrecy. Our mission, however challenging, is to lift that shroud. So we hung on every word as the genial Isaacs chatted about playing Charlize Theron's bosom buddy in the film. When Keanu Reeves falls for Theron, he wonders if Isaacs is a rival. "Then I put a dress on, and the answer is pretty clear."
In a quandary over whether to assume the look of "Hedy Lamarr 1940s glamorous, early period Cher or late Posh Spice," Isaacs did what anyone in his situation would: He trolled San Francisco's drag bars for inspiration. He considered inviting Keanu along but realized that it would be hard to be anonymous with the Matrix breaker at his side.
Isaacs' wardrobe is less complicated in "The Patriot," an epic about the American Revolution that opens in a few weeks. He's hardly ever out of uniform as a British colonel who relentlessly pursues Mel Gibson (in the title role, of course). Isaacs' character is based on a real redcoat who, legend has it, killed more men and slept with more women than anyone in the entire war. "He was ruthless," Isaacs confirms. So what made him want to play a dastardly dude? "If you are not American, then the best parts in American films are the bad guy."
©2000 San Francisco Chronicle