A Glimpse Inside The Mind Of Gary Oldman

A great interview with Gary Oldman where he describes the challenges of a bad script, his initial reaction to seeing Heath Ledger's Joker, and his impact on the legacy of Commissioner Gordon.

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By Mark Julian - 12/9/2011

Source: Buzzine

The interview was originally for Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy but Oldman began to give a retrospective on his most recent roles and his career in general. It's a great interview from the folks from over at Buzzine who are rapidly becoming one of my favorite sites. In particular, Izumi Hasegawa of Buzzine has conducted some really great interviews recently with the likes of Sam Worthington, Emma Stone, and of course Gary Oldman.

Gary Oldman speaks about the difference between acting out a good script and a bad script:

Gary Oldman:"A script is like your emotional map of the world, and often, with bad writing, you're being asked to make jumps and leaps. Lines don't flow. There's inconsistency in it and you're making it work. You're working very hard to make it work, and when you get something that flows, it's like working on (Arthur) Miller or (David) Mamet. You know that you're supported by it. You're not fighting it. It takes you."

On preparing for certain scenes and his first thoughts upon seeing Heath Ledger's performance while filming The Dark Knight:

GO: "When you go into work in the morning, and you know that you've got a big emotional scene and it could be physical or a fight that you have, or it could just be you, you get to work and think, "I've got to climb that mountain a bit today." You never know if it's going to be there. You're going to call on it and think, "Can I find the range? Can I find the tiers? Can I find what I need to make the scene work?" There are days that it comes easier than others, but what was nice about George [his character in Tinker] is that I knew when I got there that I wouldn't be doing any of that. I would just be sitting in a chair and I would listen. I love playing Drexel [his character in True Romance], but it was a four-day shoot or whatever. I've played so many of those. I remember doing The Dark Knight and looking at what Heath (Ledger) was doing. It was dazzling. You could tell very early on just how marvelous he was being, and I remember thinking, "Rather you than me." I was quite happy to be playing Jim Gordon. Maybe it's age. Maybe you just start to get a little older."

Describes returning to the role of Jim Gordon in The Dark Knight Rises and his schedule while filming on large projects:

GO: "It was lovely. I've been extremely lucky because I was not only in Harry Potter in a role that I reprised, but also Jim Gordon. To get one franchise is lucky. To get two is kind of greedy, isn't it? My fellow actors are like, "And he's in Batman. God, I hate him." I'll tell you what it's like. You don't see family. You're busy. You're on the road and you're doing what you're doing, watching all of those movies, and I'm busy making them. And then at Thanksgiving or Christmas, that's when most people all reconnect, and that's a little what it's like. It's kind of like that. You don't see people for a couple of years, three years, and then you go back on the set and there's Chris (Nolan) and there's Emma (Thomas) and there's Wally Pfister and there's Christian (Bale) and all the gang. Some new faces, but it feels like family, like all of a sudden you're getting back together. Both experiences have been good. If you weren't having a good time, then going back could be hell, I guess."

On what lasting impressions his portrayal of Jim Gordon have left on the character:

GO:" I have to go back to that Rolling Stone review. Peter Travers said that I'd made virtue look exciting, which you don't get many of. Once in a while, you get one of those. That's all he said, but it was enough. He's like [my character in Tinker] in that respect. It's moral certainty. George doesn't work... With Smiley, there's no narcissism. It's for queen and country. He's of that old school. Someone like Smiley and Prideaux [Mark Strong's character in Tinker] are peas in the same pod, really. Smiley is just giving him a little tickle when he says, "You knew all of that, but you went. Why did you go?" Jim Prideaux says, "It's called doing one's duty." I think, if there's any remote connection between Smiley and Gordon, it's that. It's nice to come in and be the moral colonel, in a way."

It's a truly great interview with Oldman, and I encourage you to click the link underneath the banner to read the full transcript. Not to continuously toot her horn but I think Ms. Hasegawa and Steve Weintraub of Collider are producing some of the best interviews on the net. And what do you think of Oldman's answers, pretty prolific eh? He's definitely one of the best actors to have never won an Oscar; hopefully Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy will rectify that problem.

Gary Leonard Oldman (born 21 March 1958) is an English actor, voice actor, filmmaker and musician.

A member of the 1980s Brit Pack, Oldman came to prominence via starring roles in British films Meantime (1983), Sid and Nancy (1986) and Prick Up Your Ears (1987), with his performance in the latter bringing him his first BAFTA Award nomination; in 1987, film critic Roger Ebert described him as "the best young British actor around". Oldman went on to star in many popular motion pictures of the 1990s to the present day, often as weirdos and villains. His acting credits include: The Firm (1989), State of Grace (1990), JFK (1991), Dracula (1992), True Romance (1993), Immortal Beloved (1994), Léon (1994), The Fifth Element (1997), The Contender (2000), the Harry Potter film series, Christopher Nolan's Batman film trilogy, and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011). In addition to his film career, Oldman has starred in United States television shows such as Knots Landing, Fallen Angels, Tracey Takes On... and Friends. He is also known for providing the voice of Viktor Reznov in the popular Call of Duty video game series and Lord Shen in Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011).

Oldman has been cited as an influence by a number of successful actors. Although he has won, and been nominated for, multiple awards during his career, he has been described as one of the greatest actors never nominated for an Academy Award. Aside from acting, he has served as a producer on several films, and directed, wrote and co-produced Nil by Mouth (1997), a film partially based on his own childhood, for which he was nominated for the 1997 Palme d'Or and won two BAFTA Awards. Oldman also attracted media attention for his marriage to actress Uma Thurman in the early 1990s. In 2011, he was voted an "Icon of Film" by Empire readers, in recognition of his contributions to cinema.

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loganoneil - 12/9/2011, 9:55 AM
...and this is why Mr. Oldman is one of my favorite actors!
Hardshaw - 12/9/2011, 10:08 AM
The supposed trailer hasn't emerged yet??? Anybody know when/time etc THEDARKKNIGHTRISES.COM is crazy!
Minghagz - 12/9/2011, 10:18 AM
Great actor for sure
valeriesghost - 12/9/2011, 10:19 AM
that guy is amazing

I'll watch just about anything he's in
maxleresistant - 12/9/2011, 10:20 AM
There was so many great actors troughout the cinema's, but Oldman is easily one of the greatest. He deserved to have more lead parts and less villains roles. Glad it's not the case anymore
QuietStorm - 12/9/2011, 10:36 AM
Is Mr. Oldman bad ass or what? Loved him in the Fifth Element!

MassExecutions - 12/9/2011, 10:41 AM
He's a freaking national treasure. End of story.
PsyGuy - 12/9/2011, 10:43 AM
A better interview with Gary Oldman from 3 days ago!

SpiderBat209 - 12/9/2011, 10:46 AM
He Rocked the Sh*T as the villain in The Professional! :D
AlexDeLarge87 - 12/9/2011, 11:06 AM
Gary is [frick]ing chameleon!:)
headlopper - 12/9/2011, 11:09 AM
Quality human being. Takes his work seriously.

He's right about the script and how debilitating it can be if it sucks(Lost in Space for an actor.

Didn't seem to have that problem with TDKR, thank the Maker.
ABLEE337 - 12/9/2011, 11:12 AM
He was awesome in State of Grace.
crazyray - 12/9/2011, 11:15 AM
@SpiderBat- I was gonna say the same thing!!!

True Romance and The Professional. Man, he even made Harry Potter tolerable. Oldman- one of the best actors EVER.
vtopa - 12/9/2011, 11:34 AM
This guy DOESN'T have an Oscar, but Jennifer Hudson does?
MassExecutions - 12/9/2011, 11:47 AM
Gary Oldman made Gordon pretty much the only character in the Batman films that I would care if they killed off.
Spidey91 - 12/9/2011, 11:50 AM
this guy is awesome.period.
patriautism - 12/9/2011, 12:18 PM
the first movie I saw him in was Sid and Nancy..I have been a fan ever since.

chucksome12391 - 12/9/2011, 12:33 PM
great actor wish he was a villain for the bat films. great gordon tho, couldnt have had a better actor for the job.
MassExecutions - 12/9/2011, 1:27 PM
@knossis - Yeah, that's true. So far he hasn't been placed in a dangers situation, so hadn't really thought about that.
TheDarkKnightWing - 12/9/2011, 1:30 PM
He was phenomenal in Dracula. Without a doubt, my favorite actor.
superbatspiderman - 12/9/2011, 1:47 PM
The only movie I didn't like with Oldman in it was Dracula it was just a terrible movie but Oldman wasn't bad in it. He is a great actor.
thetrojan - 12/9/2011, 3:08 PM
go to imdb and make a list of ALL the movies he has been in,and then endeavour to watch every one.
you will see some traits that are only his , he is a wonderful actor.
from skinhead to spy!
manofmidgard - 12/9/2011, 4:15 PM
gary oldman is one of the only things they did right in this growling-armored-ninja-brokeback-joker-"batman" franchise. gary oldman, michael caine, and morgan freeman. such a great supporting cast to be led by the ever-lame bale. what a turd of a movie series.

of ledger's horrible joker, oldman said, "rather you than me". indeed. he's a class act though, made it sound like a compliment. heh
eatmyhit - 12/9/2011, 5:11 PM
If you think Oldman is good you should check out his sister in eastenders!!
RunDTC - 12/10/2011, 6:15 AM
just saw Leon: The Professional for the first time the other day. and I thought Gary Oldman couldn't get any awesomer.

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