Oscar Isaac to play lead villain in 'X-Men: Apocalypse'

Oscar Isaac will play the villain in 'X-Men: Apocalypse,' continuing his foray into blockbuster franchises

Oscar Isaac is set for another violent year — this time in 2016. The 35-year-old actor will play the titular world-ending villain in "X-Men: Apocalypse," Fox's upcoming installment of the blockbuster franchise based on the Marvel Comics books.

Set for release May 27, 2016, and to be directed by "X"-veteran Bryan Singer, the film will pit the X-Men against perhaps their most menacing foe yet in Apocalypse (Isaac), an ancient, gray-skinned mutant with near-limitless powers who was teased in a post-credits scene of "X-Men: Days of Future Past."

That film, along with the Matthew Vaughn-directed 2011 prequel "X-Men: First Class," helped reinvigorate the flagging "X-Men" franchise and brought in some new blood in the form of Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and James McAvoy. Isaac follows in their footsteps. He's an acclaimed actor from character-driven pieces -- he garnered big plaudits for his turn as a scruffy musician in "Inside Llewyn Davis" and has plenty of buzz going for his lead role as an embattled Latino businessman in the upcoming "A Most Violent Year" -- now dipping into the tentpole world.

In addition to "X-Men," Isaac has a part in J.J. Abrams' "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," creating a notable juxtaposition of intimate and sweeping. (Isaac has been a protean performer generally, playing various ethnicities in his movies -- Russian gangster and British monarch, for instance, in "Drive" and "Robin Hood.")

And though it's the rare actor who can toggle between superheroes and Sundance, Isaac says he's doing his best to avoid those distinctions.

"It comes down to 'are there themes in a project worth exploring regardless of size?'" he told The Times in an interview. "If something came along like that and it happens to be an indie movie or a six-picture deal, it wouldn't matter. The finished product is less interesting to me than how I'm going to spend the next five months of my life."

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