With her first big movie role in “Don’t Make Me Go,” Atlantan Mia Isaac, 18, is on the move

Mia Isaac has known for some time that she wanted to act, but even she didn’t expect her first big movie role to be a lead role. in the new drama don’t make me go, the 18-year-old is front and center with veteran co-star John Cho.

After debuting at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, don’t make me go streams on Amazon Prime starting Friday. Cho is single dad Max who, after learning he has a terminal illness, decides he needs to get closer to his daughter Wally (Isaac). The two take a trip to New Orleans for their 20th college reunion, but Max has an ulterior motive: he intends to reunite Wally with his mother, who left them.

The actress sees Wally as different from an ordinary teenager. “She’s halfway between being a kid and being an adult,” says Isaac. “She’s mature for her age and intellectual and realizes a lot of things that other teenagers don’t, but because she’s a teenager, sometimes she makes mistakes.”

While the material may seem a little familiar, Isaac and Cho bring their characters to life and make the father-daughter dynamic real, including their dance in the direction of understanding each other. “In the beginning, they have a lot they need to share with each other,” says Isaac. “Regardless of her being an annoying teenager and he an embarrassing father, there’s still a lot of love. They are starting to learn to be emotionally open with each other. Wally finds out that his father is a human and has made mistakes too.”

Mia Isaac: “I think I put it on my Christmas list [one year] that I wish I had an agent.”

Isaac credits Cho (Searching, Star Trek in the Darkness) to make her more comfortable. The two quickly bonded. “When you spend so much time with someone in a car, you learn about them. John and I were stuck in the car for a long time and it brought us closer. He’s been in the industry for so long. He was very open with me and showed me a lot of love during filming, the kind of love a father shows his child. I’m so grateful for that.”

Director Hannah Marks (After all, Mark, Mary and a few other people) also took the young actress under her wing. “At the time, I didn’t realize how lucky I was to work with her. But now, looking back, she has shown me so much support and has sometimes protected me from the difficulties of making a film. I was so inexperienced and she, more than anyone, was the first person to believe I could play Wally.”

Isaac has lived in Atlanta virtually all of his life and has always wanted to tell stories, whether writing or reporting on the news, but eventually opted for acting. “I think I put it on my Christmas list [one year] I wish I had an agent,” she says and laughs.

Some of his first roles were in the TV movie Love Struck and the short films the cancellation club and The Quarantines. This is your first feature film.

“I couldn’t believe it was real when I booked it because at that moment, I felt like I would be lucky to get it. any paper,” says Isaac. “Getting the part of Wally felt like a dream come true.”

The audition process was stressful, however. It started the day after Christmas 2020, when Isaac was 16, and went on for several rounds before she hit the chemistry reading with Cho. For a young actress with limited credits, it was a remarkable, long-term achievement.

don’t make me go has a kind of twist ending, which has both fans and detractors. “I knew how it was going to end before I read the script and I thought I had prepared myself, but somehow it still took me by surprise and I was very emotional,” says the actress. “Some people are going to have differing opinions, but I loved it because I think it’s very representative of life and its unexpected twists. The biggest lesson is to go and hug the people you love.”

July is proving to be a fruitful month for Isaac. She also stars in the movie Hulu Its not good, about a woman (Zoey Deutch) who fakes a trip to Paris in hopes of gaining a social media following, and when a bombing occurs, she incorporates that into her lie as well.. Isaac plays a school shooting survivor who turned her trauma into activism in the July 29 release. She is also appearing in the Hulu series black cake, being filmed in California, London and Scotland.

However, like many other local artists now, she will continue to keep Atlanta as her home. “I grew up auditioning in Atlanta and at first it was difficult because I was one of the only people submitting tapes,” says Isaac. “Everyone was in LA, going in person, and it felt weird, not knowing if people were watching my tapes, if they had time. But now everyone is sending tapes because of Covid, and that has been normalized.”

She also likes that Atlanta and Georgia have become so active in film production. “Atlanta doesn’t sit in cliques and you can really make your dreams come true by doing something, whether it’s a short film or writing something. You can do what you love from anywhere.”

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Jim Farmer covers theater and film for ArtsATL. A graduate of the University of Georgia, he has been writing about the arts for over 30 years. Jim is the director of Out on Film, Atlanta’s LGBTQ film festival. He lives in Avondale Estates with his husband Craig and their dog Douglas.

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