I'm a big fan of sci-fi anyway. So, I'm probably blinded to any possibilities of [The Orville] not doing well. Because this is exactly the kind of show that I'd watch, even if I wasn't in it.— Mark Jackson[1]
Mark Jackson is an English writer and actor who plays the Kaylon Science Officer Isaac in The Orville.


Mark Jackson is an English actor who has performed in British Television such as That Peter Kay Thing and The Royal Today. He has also performed in short projects Peppermint as well as the The Kissing Booth.

He describes himself as a "huge fan" of science fiction growing up, having read it since he was a child,[2] and always wanted to perform in Star Trek: The Next Generation.[3]

After Season 2, Jackson worked on a film about the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder on the military.[4]

The OrvilleEdit

I must admit I worked my arse off for the audition.— Mark Jackson[5]
Jackson received word of a television audition for a "robot" from his agent[6] knowing only that the show was a Seth MacFarlane science-fiction project.[7] Unlike other roles on The Orville that were filled in America, Fox held auditions for Isaac in America, Canada, England, and Australia.[3]

He was cast in The Orville on December 8, 2016 after a "fairly straightforward audition process"[8] in the casting director's apartment in the Streatham district of London, England[9] where he read Isaac's lines on camera.[8] Creator Seth MacFarlane greatly enjoyed Jackson's taped performance,[10] and Fox twice tried to bring him to Los Angeles, California for screen tests, but both attempts fell through for unknown reason.[11]

Regardless, Jackson was hired anyway six weeks later on the basis of the single audition tape, receiving the good news while stepping onto a plane for a vacation in Barcelona, Spain.[3] "I got offered the part after six weeks of suspense," he recalled in an interview, and quipped, "There was much sangria that night."[12]

He moved to Los Angeles on January 1, 2017,[13] shortly after receiving the part,[2] and co-star Scott Grimes helped him move into his new apartment.[11]

I was leaving behind my fiancee, I was leaving behind all my friends and family – so it was a mixed bag. But I was going to Hollywood, so that’s obviously a great thing, to work on a crazy new show which I guess you will all have seen now which is great. It was a strange experience but a great one in the end.[13]

Joining The Orville and "becoming" Isaac Edit

Mark Jackson Isaac

Howard Berger and crew fit Jackson into his suit.

Jackson began preparing for his new role as Isaac and MacFarlane began talking to him over the phone, preparing the English actor for the role, practicing the iconic Isaac voice,[7] and bonding over Star Trek[3] and science fiction authors like Isaac Asimov and Iain M. Banks.[14]

When I first met Seth actually, he said "So Mark, what’s your background, then? Work-wise?" And at first, I was shocked he didn’t know – I’d just presumed he’d looked at my CV. But I don’t think Americans do in the same way that Brits do.
I said "Well, you know, I’ve done a lot of theater," and he said "Oh good! I’d hoped so."[15]
The pair made sure that Isaac's movement was deliberate and minimal, that each movement had an exact purpose.[7] Howard Berger met with him to explain how an intricate Kaylon costume would work, especially how to move the limbs.[10]

Jackson was especially awestruck by the impressive set of the USS Orville: "The first moment I walked onto the bridge of the Orville, it was truly magical. That was the case for all of us I think, but for me, I felt like a 10 year old on Christmas morning. It was just so real."[7]

As a United Kingdom citizen, the producers had to write lengthy, extensive petitions to the State Department for Jackson's entry into the United States. Jackson later recollected the first time he met the director of the pilot episode, Jon Favreau, who said, "You're Mark? You would not believe the letter I had to write for you, so don't be shit." When filming of Old Wounds concluded, Favreau approached Jackson anew to tell him, "You weren't shit."[11]

Cassar Coleman Grimes Jerald Sage Palicki Jackson Lee Braga Clark

With the cast and producers at the Fox Los Angeles Screenings Party in 2017.

Season 1 Edit

During the first table read of the show Jackson felt overwhelmed once he realized that he was one of the only actors not to know MacFarlane personally.[11]

At the start of filming, MacFarlane sent the scripts of the first few episodes to Jackson to review. He found the semi-tragic endings to some episodes to be emotionally tolling. "I remember texting Seth after reading one particular episode to tell him so," he later recalled. "I think I was crying in a cafe. It was somewhat embarrassing."[7]

He calls the experience of playing Isaac "immensely liberating" because he can set his ego aside while portraying a character behind a mask."[16] He later commented:

What I like about the show is that ... an episode will start with the crew embarking on a fairly boring and routine mission. They’ll be dropping off some cargo, etc. Of course, it tends to get interesting after that, but what it points out is that once we’ve populated the galaxy, ... most space travel will be perfunctory. Much like everyday journeys around a city, a large proportion of journeys around habitable space will be as practical as going to the dentist, visiting the in-laws or dropping off a cheque at the bank.[17]
After the success of Season 1, Jackson reflected on the state of his character: "It’s wonderful to see how Isaac’s been received from the first season. I thought he would go down well because he’s so weird. People love weird, and I’m no exception."[18]

Season 2 Edit

Sun - Main Stage - NYCC 2019 - SYFY WIRE

Sun - Main Stage - NYCC 2019 - SYFY WIRE

Mark Jackson demonstrates teaching other actors how to behave as Kaylon.

As the cast reunited for the second season, Jackson was pleased to see the eight main cast members interact swimmingly with each other again.[4] "Isaac’s become more fluid this season," he commented days before the premiere of Season 2. "And that’s down to my growing confidence as a puppeteer, but also Isaac’s character developing into something more than just an AI. Season one felt like I was getting a conversation going with the costume, season two feels more like a double act."[19]

After filming, Jackson returned to London to await the status of Season 3.[20]


Palicki MacFarlane Jerald Lee Sage Jackson Grimes

The main cast attends the Television Critics Association party in 2017.

  • His favorite episodes are A Happy Refrain and Primal Urges.[21]
  • His favorite character is Lieutenant Dann and his favorite prop is Bortus' egg.[22]
  • Until the premiere of Season 2's A Happy Refrain, Jackson was the only member of the main cast to not have his likeness portrayed in the series. In all previous episodes, he wore a full body Kaylon suit.
  • When asked how he 'gets in character' as Isaac, Jackson replied: "Learn the lines, get in the suit, and try to remember how I did it last time."[17]
  • Jackson got engaged[17] and married[23] between the first and second seasons of The Orville.

Interviews Edit

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. [[1]]
  2. 2.0 2.1 "THE ORVILLE Exclusive Seth MacFarlane & Cast Interviews - #SDCC 2017". JoBlo TV Show Trailers. July 23, 2017.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Collinson, Gary. "Exclusive Interview: Mark Jackson on The Orville, working with Seth MacFarlane and Jon Favreau, and more". Oct. 31, 2017.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Mark Jackson – The Orville". StarryMag. Dec. 30, 2018.
  5. [[2]]
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Schultz, Cody. "The Orville Interview: Mark Jackson reveals exciting new details about Fox’s sci-fi dramedy, his character & more". Hidden Remote. Sept. 11, 2017.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Description of the audition from "Episode123 - LIVE from the Paley Fest Blue Carpet feat. The Orville & Mom casts". On the Mic with Tim Drake. March 27, 2018. Location citation from "THE ORVILLE Exclusive Seth MacFarlane & Cast Interviews - #SDCC 2017". JoBlo TV Show Trailers. July 23, 2017.
  9. Crookes, Adam. "Interview: Mark Jackson from FOX’s ‘The Orville’ talks about playing an artificial lifeform machine | CROOKES MAGAZINE". Medium. Sept. 22, 2017.
  10. 10.0 10.1 "The Orville Fan Podcast w/ Mark Jackson (09)". Planetary Union Network. Nov. 12, 2017.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 "Mark Jackson Interview | AfterBuzz TV's Spotlight On". AfterBuzz TV. Sept. 13, 2017.
  12. Broadbent, Steven. "Interview with THE ORVILLE star MARK JACKSON". Telly Binge. Dec. 20, 2017.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Austin, Nicola. "Interview: Mark Jackson on The Orville Season 2". We Have a Hulk. Jan. 10, 2019.
  14. Bernstein, Abbie. "THE ORVILLE: Actors Mark Jackson and J. Lee chat chartering space with Seth MacFarlane – Exclusive Interview". AssignmentX. Jan. 2, 2019.
  15. Morine, Nicholas. "‘The Orville’s’ Mark Jackson Calls Role As Isaac A ‘Dream Come True,’ Seth MacFarlane A ‘Joy To Work With’ - Part 4". Inquisitr. Dec. 30, 2018.
  16. "Episode123 - LIVE from the Paley Fest Blue Carpet feat. The Orville & Mom casts". On the Mic with Tim Drake. March 27, 2018.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Barron, David. "INTERVIEW: MARK JACKSON, CO-STAR OF THE ORVILLE". Cultured Vulture. Dec. 3, 2018.
  18. Dilip, Mangala. "'The Orville' star Mark Jackson wishes to check-off Star Wars next; Is Jon Favreau listening?". Meaww. Dec. 5, 2018.
  19. Alvarez, Armand. "Interview With Mark Jackson | Forging My Own Way". The Hedonist. Dec. 28, 2018.
  20. Snowden, Scott. "The Orville, cast interview – Mark Jackson (Isaac)". MYMBuzz. Jan. 7, 2019.
  21. Sun - Main Stage | NYCC 2019 | SYFY WIRE. SyFy Wire. Oct. 6, 2019.
  22. /u/markjacksonacts. "I’m Mark Jackson and I play AI badass Isaac on The Orville. Ask me questions!". Reddit. Feb. 4, 2019.
  23. "#91 Mark Jackson “The Orville”". The ManCave Chronicles. Dec. 24, 2018.
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