Oscar Isaac Stars in Brian Petsos' New Short Film, Lightningface

By now, the internet has offered plenty of images of actor Oscar Isaac as the omnipotent deity in the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse. But amid all the commotion surrounding the release and while the actor is filming Star Wars Episode VIII, the Miami native took time out of his busy schedule to shoot a short.

Lightningface is the third project Isaac has worked on with writer/director/producer/actor Brian Petsos. In 2012, the two friends starred in Revenge for Jolly, and most recently, in 2015, Petsos got behind the camera to direct Isaac in Ticky Tacky.

The trailer for the new short was released last week. It follows Basil (Isaac), who undergoes myriad changes — both physical and mental — during a week inside his apartment. “I don’t want to say too much about the story itself,” Petsos tells New Times via email. “But I’ll tell you that the piece is actually quite personal to me — I suppose more metaphorically than literally.”
In one minute and eight seconds, Isaac's character freaks out more than a dozen times. He trashes his apartment, he calls his girlfriend and breaks up with her, he orders a pizza, he calls his now-ex-girlfriend back, and he continues to trash his apartment. Slate has already turned the images into gifs that will live on forever.

“Basil goes on quite a journey in that apartment over the course of a week,” says Petsos, who wrote and directed Lightningface. “Sometimes you don’t need to [physically] travel anywhere to travel.”

The idea for the short began brewing in Petsos’ mind two years ago, he says, “but the journey from concept to a complete script to the screen always takes longer than your patience can abide.”

The director says Isaac was aware of the project from the beginning and despite the actor’s schedule, it was never a problem. “As we got closer to being legitimately ready to go, we were able to exploit one of his exceedingly rare off-weeks to get this sucker in the can.”
Why not find an actor with fewer (or no) projects on hand to play Basil? Why keep coming back to Isaac? “Besides his boundless talent and shining brilliance," Petsos says, "he and I have a total commonality when it comes to that which we find amusing.”  

In other words, they have the same dark sense of humor that makes working with each other more like two old friends playing. “We have a relationship that is more than just ‘doing the work’ together that allows actually doing the work to reach that transcendental level.”

Although he can’t say much about when or where audiences can see the full short film, Petsos promises it will “begin playing at festivals soon — so keep an eye out!” In the meantime, we'll just have to watch the trailer on loop. 

Starring Oscar Isaac. Written and directed by Brian Petsos. Premiering soon on the film festival circuit. Visit
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Carolina del Busto is a freelance writer for Miami New Times. She nurtured her love of words at Boston College before moving back home to Miami and has been covering arts and culture in the Magic City since 2013.