Gary Oldman, the son of a welder and a homemaker, was born on March 21, 1958 in London, England. For most of his career he was best-known for playing over-the-top antagonists, though he has recently reached a new audience with heroic roles in the Harry Potter and Dark Knight franchises.
Oldman won a scholarship to Britain's Rose Bruford Drama College, in Sidcup, Kent, where he received a B.A. in theatre arts in 1979. He subsequently studied with the Greenwich Young People's Theatre and went on to appear in a number of plays throughout the early '80s, including "The Pope's Wedding," for which he received Time Out's Fringe Award for Best Newcomer of 1985-1986 and the British Theatre Association's Drama Magazine Award as Best Actor for 1985.
His film debut was Remembrance (1982), though his most-memorable early role came when he played Sex Pistol Sid Vicious in the biopic Sid and Nancy (1986) picking up the Evening Standard Film Award as Best Newcomer. He then received a Best Actor nomination from BAFTA for his portrayal of '60s playwright Joe Orton in Prick Up Your Ears (1987).
In the 1990s, Oldman brought to life a series of iconic real-world and fictional villains including Lee Harvey Oswald in JFK (1991), the title character in Dracula (1992), Drexl Spivey in True Romance (1993), Stansfield in Léon: The Professional (1994), Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg in The Fifth Element (1997) and Ivan Korshunov in Air Force One (1997). That decade also saw Oldman portraying Ludwig van Beethoven in biopic Immortal Beloved (1994).
Oldman scored the coveted role of Sirius Black in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), giving him a key part in one of the highest-grossing franchises ever. He reprised that role in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007). Oldman also took on the iconic role of Detective James Gordon in writer-director Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins (2005), a role he played again in The Dark Knight (2008) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012).
In 2011, Oldman portrayed master spy George Smiley in the adaptation of John le Carré's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011), and the role scored Oldman his first Academy Award nomination.
Aside from acting, Oldman tried his hand at writing and directing for Nil by Mouth (1997). The movie opened the Cannes Film Festival in 1997, and won Kathy Burke a Best Actress prize at the festival.
Oldman has three children - one with first wife Lesley Manville, and two with third wife Donya Fiorentino. He is currently married to Alexandra Edenborough.
Gary Oldman, the son of a welder and a homemaker, won a scholarship to Britain's Rose Bruford Drama College, where he received a B.A. in theatre arts in 1979. He subsequently studied with the Greenwich Young People's Theatre and went on to appear in a number of plays throughout the early '80s, including "The Pope's Wedding," for which he received Time Out's Fringe Award for Best Newcomer of 1985-1986 and the British Theatre Association's Drama Magazine Award as Best Actor for 1985. His film debut was Remembrance (1982). In 1986, he played Sex Pistol Sid Vicious in the biopic Sid and Nancy (1986), picking up the Evening Standard Film Award as Best Newcomer. In 1988, he received a Best Actor nomination from the British Academy of Film and TV Arts for his portrayal of '60s playwright Joe Orton. His ability to transform himself physically and his command of accents have allowed him to play a broad range of characters and a number of historical figures, including, in addition to those mentioned above, Lee Harvey Oswald (JFK (1991)) and Ludwig van Beethoven (Immortal Beloved (1994)).IMDb Mini Biography By: Denise P. Meyer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
|Alexandra Edenborough||(31 December 2008 - present)|
|Donya Fiorentino||(16 February 1997 - 13 April 2001) (divorced) 2 children|
|Uma Thurman||(1 October 1990 - 30 April 1992) (divorced)|
|Lesley Manville||(1987 - 1990) (divorced) 1 child|
Characters are usually borderline psychotics. Also known for playing a wide variety of roles that often requires a variety of different accents.
His ability to change his appearance and voice to make every character unique
Often plays reluctant Heroes who assist the main character
Often plays real-life individuals or iconic fictional characters
Considered a career in music.
Sons, with Donya Fiorentino: Gulliver Flynn Oldman, born 20 August 1997 and Charlie John, born 11 February 1999.
On 8 August 1991, he was arrested for drunk driving in L.A. and released on bail the next morning. His passenger in the car was pal, Kiefer Sutherland.
Has used a different speaking voice (i.e. accent) in practically every movie he's ever been in.
He and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) co-star Timothy Spall have both played the character of Rosencrantz; Spall in Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet (1996), Oldman in Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (1990).
He was awarded the 1985 London Critics Circle Theatre Award (Drama Theatre Award) for Best Actor for his performance in "The Pope's Wedding".
His film Nil by Mouth (1997) is loosely based upon his own life growing up in London.
Henry & June (1990) is the only film in which he's been credited as "Maurice Escargot".
Appears in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) with Ralph Fiennes. Both of them have played villains in the Hannibal Lecter series: Fiennes played Francis Dolarhyde in Red Dragon (2002), and Oldman played Mason Verger in Hannibal (2001).
Member of jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 1993.
Graduated from Rose Bruford Drama College 3 year acting course BA-Hons, London, England.
In two movies, his characters have had dynamic relationships with mob bosses named Falcone. In Romeo Is Bleeding (1993), he was working FOR Don Falcone, and in Batman Begins (2005), he was working to bring down Carmine Falcone. In both instances, his character was a cop.
Like Ian McKellen, he has taken on popular characters in screen adaptations of cult favorite fantasy novels and comic books. He appeared as James Gordon in Batman Begins (2005) and The Dark Knight (2008) and as Sirius Black in the middle three Harry Potter films: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007).
Although he has spent much of his career playing psychotic and sadistic characters, he has recently moved away from that on-screen image by playing more likeable, sympathetic characters like Sirius Black (in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)) and Jim Gordon (in Batman Begins (2005)).
Uncle of Gerry Bromfield and Tracy Bromfield.
Spokesperson for Nokia.
Performed a vocal duet with David Bowie for the song "You've Been Around" on the 1995 album "The Sacred Squall of Now" by longtime Bowie guitarist Reeves Gabrels. He is also featured on the song "Stamford Hill" on the same album.
Is very close to actor and co-star in the Harry Potter franchise Daniel Radcliffe.
Chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (#72). .
Harry Potter co-actor Jason Isaacs lists him as one of his favorite actors.
Lives in Los Angeles.
Directed a music video for Jewish Hip-Hop group Chutzpah shot entirely on Nokia Cell Phones. Actress Juliet Landau directed a 25 minute documentary - Take Flight: Gary Oldman Directs Chutzpah (2009) - about the making of the music video.
Actors Tom Hardy and 'Alexander Skarsgard' have named Oldman as their favorite actor.
In 2011, he named his five favorite films as Apocalypse Now (1979), The Conversation (1974), The Godfather: Part II (1974), Badlands (1973) and Ratcatcher (1999) and cites his director from Dracula (1992), Francis Ford Coppola, as his favorite filmmaker.
Is the second actor to be nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for playing a lead character in a John le Carré novel adaptation. This first was Richard Burton for "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold," which featured George Smiley.
Friends with Benedict Cumberbatch.
Was famously told by the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) to find a new career other than acting before training at Rose Bruford.
Before his nod for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011), he was considered one of the greatest actors never nominated for an Oscar.
Director Patrice Chéreau originally wanted him for the lead role in Intimacy, but he turned it down because of the sex scenes.
Is the third actor to be nominated for an Oscar for playing a role in a 'John Le Carré' novel adaptation. The others were Richard Burton for The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965) and Rachel Weisz who won the award for her performance in The Constant Gardener (2005).
I don't think Hollywood knows what to do with me. I would imagine that when it comes to romantic comedies, my name would be pretty low down on the list.
We're given a code to live our lives by. We don't always follow it but it's still there.
[on portraying famous people]: It's a double-edged sword because, in one sense, you have a lot of material to work with, but in a strange kind of way, that puts up a framework that you have to keep within. You can't play Beethoven with pink hair but, to an extent, because no-one has ever met him, who's going to tell me that's not Beethoven?
With Beethoven [Immortal Beloved (1994)] I said I wanted a role where I didn't have to do anything stupid with my hair. My agent said "Read it again!".
[on making Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)]: I've done so much R-rated work, it's nice to have a job you can show your kids.
I had this idea of myself as a shy, kind, sweet chap. I was working with Winona Ryder and she turned to me and said, "Fuck, man, you're really intense!" I was so shocked, I went, "What do you mean? I'm not intense, I'm sweet!" My passion and energy get mistaken for anger.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, it's not Dracula crying, it's Gary Oldman, but using the technique of the character. The emotion is mine, because I don't know what it's like to be undead and live 300 years.
Any actor who tells you that they have become the people they play, unless they're clearly diagnosed as a schizophrenic, is bullshitting you.
I used to be under the impression that in some kind of wanky, bullshit way, acting was like therapy: you get in and grapple with and exorcise all those demons inside of you. I don't believe that anymore. It's like a snow shaker. You shake the thing up, but it can't escape the glass. It can't get out. And it will settle until the next time you shake it up.
[on the shooting for his writing/directing debut Nil by Mouth (1997)]: I set aside three weeks for rehearsals. Those long scenes are like a play. But I wanted things loosely structured, more like jazz. Though there was very little improv on screen, sometimes we'd improvise, rev up, to get the energy before shooting. One rule that I broke was that you need to leave a little air between people's lines, that you can't overlap dialogue because you'll clip words on a cut. But you can overlap dialogue, even though editors don't like it. Otherwise, it's your turn to talk, my turn. Another thing: I used only one camera! I'd say to the cameraman, "I need it from this angle!" From my brief association with Isabella Rossellini, I got a new appreciation of Pier Paolo Pasolini and how he was religious about where the camera should go, whether it was too high, too low. I would ask questions on the set, quietly: "For this emotion, is the camera angle too wide, is the camera too low?" I wanted night to look like night! I bullied the cameraman a bit until he got into the swing. You could pick up the light metre and say, seeing how little light, "You've got to be fucking joking!"
Change is vital to any actor. If you keep playing lead after lead, you're really gonna dry up. Because all those vehicles wean you away from the truths of human behaviour.
There's an uncanny thing that chemically happens to you when you're in the chronic stages of alcoholic drinking. I have been able, on occasions, to have two bottles of vodka and still be up talking to people. That got very frightening. By nature I'm an isolationalist, so my boozing was at home, thank you. I was not a goer-outer. I mean, I didn't drink for the taste and I didn't want to be social. Someone once described alcoholics as egomaniacs with low self-esteem. Perfect definition.
To be able to do this job in the first place you've got to have a bit of an ego.
I applaud anything that can take a kid away from a PlayStation or a Gameboy. That is a miracle in itself.
[on True Romance (1993)] I organized Drexl's dreadlocks under my own steam. Then I went to the dentist who made the teeth. Then I thought about the weird eye. I'm only in the film for about 10 minutes - I wanted to make my mark.
[on True Romance (1993)] I hadn't read the script, and knew nothing about it. Tony (Scott) and I had tea at the Four Seasons and he said, 'Look, I can't really explain the plot. But Drexl's a pimp who's white but thinks he's black'. That was all I needed to hear. I said, 'Yes, I'll do it'.
 There are roles that you play. I've played roles that it happens easier than others, it doesn't feel like you're working, it's as easy as breathing. And there are other ones that you really have to work hard for. It's often because of the writing.
Being an actor is a good way to earn a living. And to meet fabulous people. It's great to live very comfortably. I've been lucky, I've had a lot of fun with great roles, but it is true that if I were extremely rich, I would stop and I would go to play football on a beach in the Caribbean with my children. (2004)
[SAG acceptance speech on behalf of Heath Ledger] Heath Ledger was an extraordinary young man with an extraordinary talent.
[on James Stewart] He's almost too tall to be a star in a strange kind of way. He's too skinny and he's got this really strange voice when he talked and you just think this shouldn't work. He's not Bogart, he's not Edward G. Robinson, he's not James Cagney and yet somehow it's magic.
[on filming Murder in the First (1995) when the 1994 Northridge earthquake hit] I was thrown against the wall and I was actually under the door frame, which is where you are supposed to be, but the door frame was the set, and there I am, holding on to props. I'm holding on to cardboard, and I can still smell the glue that's drying.
 If you see me in Air Force One, then you see Nil By Mouth, you get a pretty good idea of what I did with the cash. It does fit together, in a crazy way. There are two Garys that are operating. I'm out there looking for a good role, primarily. But I'm looking for a good price tag, so it would buy me freedom. But there's also the other Gary, who thinks he's wasting his time doing it. There are other things I should be doing. I shouldn't be struggling on a movie set trying to utter some unutterable piece of junk, when I could be playing Iago on the stage, or Hamlet. Nil By Mouth is representative of who I am as an artist and what I'm about. But when you play those great parts, and you say those great lines every night--you can't do Shakespeare eight shows a week for six months and not come out a better, more enriched person for it. You can't have understanding and poetry in your mouth and not have your life unfettered by it. I'm certainly going to get a lot more from it than saying, "Mr. President, get your hands up!"
 I loved America when I first came in '81. I moved to New York and I said, "I'm home. This is my town." I'm not one of those Brits that goes to the English pub and plays cricket under the Hollywood sign. I really immersed myself in the culture. And I work in the industry as an American. I have a fantastic ear, and I'm a great people watcher.
[1998, on quitting drinking] There was a day--well, not a day; there was never just a day. There were three-day, four-day, one-week benders. You'd come out of a five-day run of mind-stoking consumption. Mind-stroking. And I would come out the end of it, and "Just this one time...." There were no excuses anymore. That was it. I just read this book, Drinking, A Love Story. There's not a sentence or a page I can't read without going, Yeah. Very simply, you have to live life on life's terms. There is no buffer anymore. You feel the feelings. You experience the experience. Sometimes that can be thrilling and wonderful. It's like the focus pullers--you finally see the image very sharp: "Ah, there it is." I used to--life was sort of a blur of massive color. But I'm still working on all of that, yeah. Like I said, there were just no more excuses. "Hey, the sun's shining! Let's have a martini! Hey, it's raining; let's have a bottle of whiskey. I'm happy; let's celebrate. I'm sad; let's drink."
[1990, on his role in Criminal Law] I've got nothing in common with Ben Chase. That's why it seemed like a good idea to take the part. It was my first opportunity to ever play a leading man, in the true sense. And, yeah, it was fun. I'm not going to pretend - I can't pretend - it's a work of art.
[1990, on State of Grace] It's the best thing I've ever done. Ever. Ever. We could do 20 or 30 takes - do it until we got it right. I'm not saying you always need that for it all to gel and be brilliant, but it lets you forget about the finance and just fly. On something like Prick Up Your Ears you had to get it in one or two takes. Because those kind of movies - British movies - are made for very little money.
[2001, on if he was bothered by not getting an Oscar nomination for The Contender, which many thought he would] I cared, yes. An Oscar would have been nice - it would have got me closer to what I want to do, which is make more films. But I didn't care for very long. The nominations come and if you're not on the list you go, "Oh well," like I've done a lot of times before.
[2001, on his gift with accents] I can do a rough approximation of virtually any accent. I've always done them; as a kid I used to do the Beatles as a party piece. When I was with the Royal Court Theatre we used to piss around and people would say, "I bet you can't do Zimbabwe," so I did it. The accent on The Contender - Illinois - was the hardest I ever had to do, because there's no melody to catch on to. Most accents have a music to them, but Illinois is a very flat, unimaginative thing.
[1997, on quitting drinking] I did a lot of stupid things. When you're drunk, you think you can pull any bird in the room and they'll just love the idea of it. You also think you can say anything you like to anybody without them taking offense. Actually, you need the sauce to fill whatever hole that's there in yourself. And, believe it or not, I was always a bit shy and retiring really. Honest. But a lot of the time, I wasn't partying. I was drinking alone, which is worse, it's often solitary and desperate. I got to the point where I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I talked on the phone when it wasn't plugged in, and I was getting out of bed, crawling across the floor on my hands and knees, vomiting in the shower and blaming it on the shampoo. You name it, I've probably been there. And back again.
[1997, on the paparazzi] I once had dinner with Brad Pitt at the Ivy in London and when we came out of the restaurant we were surrounded by hoards of photographers waiting for him not me. We had to drive off like the clappers with them chasing. And they were chasing us right through the red lights. It was like the Grand Prix going through the center of London. I couldn't believe it.
[1997, on Nil by Mouth] To be very honest with you, these lucrative villains subsidize the more personal stuff. Air Force One's not a movie I'd particularly want to go and see myself, it's just not my cup of tea. But I'm lucky that I have this lucrative second career. I'm getting older, I'm nearly 40 and I've got responsibilities and a family. I've got to put food on the table and pay the mortgage like everybody else. If I want to take time away from the marketplace as an actor, and take two years out of my life to go off and do something like this that I feel very passionate about, I have to go and do a movie like Air Force One that buys me freedom, as cynical as that sounds.
 With Sid and Nancy, I'd never really liked the script. It put me off cause I think it was a rather inarticulate, monosyllabic, banal kind of generation of people. I liked that particular idea (director) Alex (Cox) had developed, to do a love story about Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen. But that was about all it had going for it. In terms of dialogue, it was quite terrible. And I think we did a good job of lifting some of that off the page and making it work. Acting is a passion, I'm obsessed. It drives my girlfriend mad cause I'm so self obsessed. I don't want any stone left unturned. I wanted to be Sid Vicious, I didn't want to play him. But there are two scenes I'm happy with a couple of scenes that maybe worked, I never enjoyed the film.
 I made the decision not to always play the token Englishman. I think the real juicy roles in my generation are going to go to the American actors.
[1990, on preparing for his role in State of Grace] The only research I did was drinking in Irish bars.
[1987, on losing 45 pounds to play Sid Vicious] I was obsessed with being really, really, really, skinny. I thought, this is the visual image I want to present, I want this before I do anything else.
[on his character George Smiley from _Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)_ (qv] George is a man of few words. He doesn't need the karate and the fast car and the gun. That's what makes George dangerous, is the fact that he does blend in and he disappears. He's the one to watch. He's the leopard camouflaged by the jungle, ready to pounce, so its nice to play someone like that. He operates from a very unseemly passive position.
Britain has always had spies and I think we've spied rather well. But we have a rather romantic view of it and [John le Carré] was the first to really show the reality. He told me that you would be given an assignment and go to Russia or to Czechoslovakia. You would be sent to watch someone. You would be in some miserable little room with a fake ID, and it would be very lonely and often very boring. He said that the terror of having your cover blown was exhausting: you were always waiting for the footsteps on the stairs. I guess that's why so many of them hit the bottle.
I didn't do drugs. It wasn't my thing. But the drink was terrible. Today when I look back, it's like I was another person. You could call it a coping mechanism, but that would be an excuse. I just drank too much.
[on Sid and Nancy (1986)] I was never really that interested in the punk movement. I was a blues guy: I liked Motown, James Brown. I read the script and thought it was a load of rubbish. But my agent said, "They're offering £35,000". I was getting £80 a week at the Royal Court at the time and I thought "I could do with a flat", it changed my life overnight.
[on receiving an Oscar nomination for 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy'] One of my career ambitions was fulfilled working with John [Hurt]. I loved his work long before I ever had the idea of being an actor, so I was nervous to meet him. I was like a fanboy, like that annoying character on 'Saturday Night Live'. I'm sitting there. 'Do you remember when you were in 'Midnight Express'? Remember that scene you were in?' And he doesn't disappoint.
[on why George Smiley is the role of a lifetime] Well, first of all, it's a role that's all subtext, it's all inside, it's all going on but you're not necessarily expressing it. It's an iconic part, it's just a wonderful leading role and it's the sort of role that one, in a career, dreams about. It's a role that will come along once or twice. If you look at any of those great parts, for instance, you take someone like Daniel Day Lewis -- who I think, any way you slice it, is a genius actor. But look at Daniel Plainview (Lewis's character in "There Will Be Blood"). How often do you get a Daniel Plainview? [Robert] De Niro has some incredible roles, but one does think of Travis Bickle in "Taxi Driver." It's hard to top them. So this kind of role -- and when I say this kind of role, I usually play extrovert characters -- this role is also very quiet, it's subdued, it requires a different kind of thing, it's a minimalist performance in that sense. It's a "please don't ask me to bounce off the walls anymore," you know what I mean? I've been waiting for it.
[on the two versions of 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy'] I got from the book that there's a little bit of a sadist in George Smiley and, if anything, (Alec) Guinness' was a little more huggable than mine.
|Lost in Space (1998)||$5,000,000|
|Jesus (1999) (TV)||$1,000,000|
|The Dark Knight (2008)||$3,000,000|
(August 2007) In Chicago, Illinois filming The Dark Knight (2008).
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