Oscar Isaac is still mourning the loss of his mother, Eugenia, who died in February.
The 38-year-old actor is playing Hamlet in a production of the Shakespeare play at the Public Theater in New York City this summer, and in an interview with The New York Times
, talks about the significance of his current role. Isaac says he would read Hamlet
aloud to his dying mother at the hospital, who was a big Shakespeare fan.
"I didn’t know how to process any of this, but this I knew how to do," Isaac says about acting out bits of the play for his mother as her health deteriorated.
Isaac is candid when talking about the devastating loss of his mother.
"I know it happens to everybody, but it'd never happened to me," he muses. "I know people's mothers have died, but this was mine."
"It's for my mom that I'm doing it," he adds about his commitment to the role. "It's to honor her life, but also her death, which was so awful."
Isaac also honored Eugenia's life by naming his newborn son, Eugene
, after her. The notoriously private actor welcomed his first child with girlfriend Elvira Lind in April, but had previously never revealed his name. The actor says that Eugene takes after his late grandmother, noting that he has Eugenia's lips and her hands.
Later, Isaac reflects on Hamlet's famous "to be or not to be soliloquy," and how it's taken on a deeply personal meaning for him. He says that the speech instantly reminds him of his own loss, and "the feeling that grief can just make you want to stop."
However, he notes that his performances are also for his newborn son.
"You have a child, and you must -- you must for their sake -- you must say yes to life," he says.