Gary Leonard Oldman (born 21 March 1958) is an English actor, writer, director, producer, voice-over artist and occasional musician who has garnered critical acclaim for his chameleonic performances in diverse roles. He is noted for his avoidance of the Hollywood celebrity scene, often being referred to as an "actor's actor".
Oldman came to prominence for his portrayal of ill-fated rocker Sid Vicious in 1986's Sid & Nancy, and has since retained a career as both a lead and supporting actor of more than fifty motion pictures. His most popular starring role was as Count Dracula in the 1992 blockbuster adaptation of Dracula, and he has since starred in several other popular films including True Romance, Léon: The Professional, The Fifth Element, Air Force One, The Contender, three films in the Harry Potter film series (Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire, and Order of the Phoenix) and both films in Christopher Nolan's ongoing Batman film series (Batman Begins and The Dark Knight). Along with Sid Vicious, he has portrayed a number of other real-life historical figures on screen, such as Joe Orton in Prick Up Your Ears, Lee Harvey Oswald in JFK, Ludwig van Beethoven in Immortal Beloved and Pontius Pilate in Jesus. His portrayal of Sid Vicious was listed as one of Premiere Magazine's "100 Greatest Performances of All Time". Oldman was also popular in '90s Hollywood for his portrayals of villainous and morally corrupt characters, playing the primary villain of several popular motion pictures. As a result of his varied roles, he is generally regarded as one of film's most diverse actors.
In 1997, Oldman directed, produced, and wrote the award-winning Nil by Mouth, a movie partially based on his own childhood. Oldman has received various awards and honours throughout his career but has at various times expressed his lack of regard for the Oscar and the presenting Academy. Perhaps as a result, he has never been nominated for such an award despite a critically acclaimed career spanning three decades.
After graduating from drama school in 1979, Oldman spent almost eight years in theater, winning various awards. During this time he appeared in several minor television films such as Remembrance (1982) and Morgan's Boy (1984). In 1986 he won his first starring role as the Sex Pistols' ill-fated bassist Sid Vicious in the 1986 motion picture Sid & Nancy. The role launched Oldman's career and paved the way for work in Hollywood. Oldman's performance was highly regarded by many, perhaps most notably ex-Sex Pistols vocalist John Lydon, who despite questioning the authenticity of some parts of the film, said of Oldman in his biography: "The chap who played Sid, Gary Oldman, I thought was quite good", and later called him a "bloody good actor". Oldman reportedly lost considerable weight for the role and was briefly hospitalised. His portrayal was ranked #62 on Premiere Magazine's "100 Greatest Performances of All Time." Oldman starred in another real-life portrayal the following year, portraying playwright Joe Orton in the 1987 film Prick Up Your Ears. He played a violent football hooligan in The Firm (1988), and starred opposite Christopher Lloyd in Track 29 the same year. Oldman's first foray into American cinema came later in 1988, when he played a troubled young Boston lawyer opposite real-life friend Kevin Bacon in Criminal Law. It marked the first time Oldman had performed on screen successfully using an American accent. In late 1988, he starred opposite long-time hero Alan Bates in We Think The World of You, and alongside Dennis Hopper and Frances McDormand in Chattahoochee (1989).
In 1991, Oldman starred in what was at that point the most significant role of his career as alleged Presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald in Oliver Stone's JFK. The following year, however, Oldman would reach new heights of fame. In arguably the most famous performance of his career, he starred as Count Dracula in Francis Ford Coppola's romance-horror blockbuster Bram Stoker's Dracula. By far the most commercially successful film adaptation of Bram Stoker's 1897 novel, it was a major box office success worldwide, and spawned various merchandise and video games. Oldman's performance is regarded by many as a staple of the horror genre, and was recognised by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films as the best male performance of 1992, who awarded Oldman the prestigious Best Actor award. Some claimed that Winona Ryder and Oldman did not get along on set. Director Francis Ford Coppola said: "The issue was not only that they did not get along... they got along and then one day they didn't – absolutely didn't get along. None of us were privy to what had happened." False rumours of an affair between the two also circulated in the media in 1992. Despite alleged personal issues during production of the film, Ryder has since been complimentary of Oldman's acting talents. The film established Oldman as a popular portrayer of villains in American cinema; he later played a violent pimp in True Romance (1993), a corrupt DEA officer in Léon (1994), a sadistic prison warden in Murder in the First (1995) and a futuristic megacorp tyrant in The Fifth Element (1997). Oldman also displayed a skill for world accents; along with the Transylvanian Count Dracula, Oldman played German-born Viennese composer Ludwig van Beethoven in Immortal Beloved, and Russian terrorist Ivan Korshunov in 1997 blockbuster Air Force One. He also appeared as a grinning demon in the 1993 promo video to the Guns N' Roses single "Since I Don't Have You".
Oldman appeared opposite Jeff Bridges as zealous Republican congressman Sheldon Runyon in The Contender (2000), in which he was also credited as a producer. He received a Screen Actors Guild award nomination for his performance. Oldman was reportedly unhappy with the editing process of the film, which he felt made the finished product look dinstinctly pro-Democratic. Oldman stated on the Charlie Rose show that he felt his character was the true patriot of the film and that it was no co-incidence that the allegedly pro-Democratic film was released shortly before a Presidential election. Oldman stated in the same interview that he had had "more than my wrist slapped" for expressing his sentiments in previous interviews. Film critic Roger Ebert rebutted some of the media reports on Oldman's objections, writing that Oldman's manager Douglas Urbanski had denied that the politically withdrawn Oldman had used such strong terms, and citing original interviewer Tom Roston as saying that material from his article had been taken out of context and exaggerated by subsequent media repetitions..
In 2001 Oldman starred opposite Anthony Hopkins in Hannibal, as Mason Verger, the only surviving victim of Hannibal Lecter. Oldman reportedly spent six hours per day in the make-up room to achieve the hideously disfigured appearance of the character. It marked the second time Oldman had appeared opposite friend Anthony Hopkins, who was part of the supporting cast of Bram Stoker's Dracula. Oldman received an Emmy Award nomination for two guest appearances in Friends in 2001, appearing in the two-part episode "The One with Monica and Chandler's Wedding" as Richard Crosby, a pedantic actor who insists that "real" actors spit on one another when they enunciate, leading to the famous spitting scene between Joey (Matt LeBlanc) and himself. Oldman agreed to appear in the series after meeting LeBlanc on the set of Lost in Space in 1998. Oldman later landed a major role in the Harry Potter film series, playing Potter's godfather Sirius Black. Oldman and star Daniel Radcliffe reportedly became very close during the filming of the series. In 2005, Oldman starred as James Gordon in Christopher Nolan's commercially and critically acclaimed Batman Begins, a role he reprised in the sequel The Dark Knight (2008). Oldman will reportedly be appearing in the 2009 version of A Christmas Carol. He is also confirmed for the starring role in David Goyer's Holocaust-themed supernatural thriller Unborn, slated for a 2009 release.
Oldman and producing partner Douglas Urbanski formed the SE8 GROUP to produce Nil By Mouth. The company also produced The Contender, which also starred Oldman. He was also credited as a producer. Oldman has finished his latest screenplay, Chang & Eng, co-written with Darin Strauss, based on the author's book of the same name; SE8 Group will produce. In September 2006 Nokia, Nseries Studio released the Oldman directed short Donut with music by Tor Hyams. The film was shot with an N93 in order to promote the phone. Oldman also directed the music video for "Red Rover", a song from Jewish Rap Group Chutzpah's 2nd CD "Hip Hop Fantasy", shot entirely on the N93.
Oldman's famous "spitting scene" with Matt LeBlanc during his appearance on Friends, where Oldman's character insists that "real" actors spit on one another when they enunciate. The ensuing spitting confrontation between the two, has become one of the more popular cameos of the series, and saw Oldman receive an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series. Oldman's character also has to dispel Joey's belief that despite his formidable acting abilities, he has never won an Academy Award. This was perhaps a subtle knock on the much-questioned fact, among Oldman fans, that he has never been nominated for such an award, despite a number of critically acclaimed roles.
Younger stars cite Oldman's influence such as Daniel Radcliffe, Shia LaBeouf, Christian Bale and in particular, Ryan Gosling, who cites Oldman as his all time favourite actor. Oldman has also received much acclaim from critics over the years for his diversity of roles and mastery of world accents. Revered film critic Roger Ebert has long been a fan of Oldman's work, hailing him as "one of the great actors, able to play high, low, crass, noble", while Janet Maslin called him a "phenomenal" actor who "since Sid and Nancy has taken on a string of new accents and dramatic identities with stunning ease. Oldman's acting style has, however, occasionally been referred to as being excessive and over-the-top by some critics. This may perhaps be in part due to a long run of being cast as eccentric and outlandish villains, something of which he eventually grew tired.
In contrast to his often dark-themed on-screen roles, Oldman's down-to-earth real-life nature is often cited in articles, and he was recently named as one of Empire magazine's "100 Sexiest Stars in Film History. Motion pictures starring Oldman as leading actor or supporting co-star have grossed over $2.1 billion at the United States box office, and over $5.2 billion worldwide.
Oldman has been married three times:
He has three sons: Alfie (b. 1988) from his marriage to Manville, Gulliver Flynn (b. Aug 20, 1997) and Charlie John (b. Feb 1999) from his marriage to Fiorentino. His sister, Laila Morse, is also an actress, best known as Mo Harris in the BBC's long-running series EastEnders.
|Meantime||Coxy the Skinhead||TV|
|1985||Honest, Decent & True||Derek Bates||TV|
|1986||Sid and Nancy||Sid Vicious|
|1987||Prick Up Your Ears||Joe Orton|
|Criminal Law||Ben Chase|
|We Think the World of You||Johnny|
|The Firm||Bex Bissell||TV|
|1990||Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead||Rosencrantz|
|Henry & June||Pop (as Maurice Escargot)|
|State of Grace||Jackie Flannery|
|1991||JFK||Lee Harvey Oswald|
|Heading Home||Ian Tyson||TV|
|1992||Bram Stoker's Dracula||Dracula|
|1993||True Romance||Drexl Spivey|
|Romeo Is Bleeding||Jack Grimaldi|
|1994||Léon||Stansfield||(known as "The Professional" in the US)|
|Immortal Beloved||Ludwig van Beethoven|
|1995||The Scarlet Letter||Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale|
|Murder in the First||Milton Glenn|
|1997||Air Force One||Egor Korshunov|
|The Fifth Element||Jean-Baptiste Emmanuel Zorg|
|1998||Quest for Camelot||Baron Ruber (voice and vocal)|
|Lost in Space||Dr. Zachary Smith|
|2000||The Contender||Rep. Sheldon Runyon|
|2001||Friends||Richard Crosby||TV (2 episodes)|
|2002||Hannibal||Mason R. Verger|
|Nobody's Baby||Buford Hill|
|The Hire: Beat The Devil||Devil|
|Interstate 60||O.W. Grant|
|Greg The Bunny||Himself||TV (1 episode)|
|Medal of Honor: Allied Assault Spearhead||Sgt. Jack Barnes (voice)||Video game|
|True Crime: Streets of LA||Rasputin "Rocky" Kuznetskov, Agent Masterson (voice)||Video game|
|Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban||Sirius Black|
|2005||Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire||Sirius Black|
|Batman Begins||Sgt. James Gordon|
|2006||The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning||Ignitus (voice)||Video Game|
|Bosque de Sombras||Paul||(International English Title: BackWoods)|
|2007||Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix||Sirius Black|
|2008||The Dark Knight||Lt. James Gordon|
|Call of Duty: World at War||Unknown (voice)||Video Game|
|The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon||Ignitus (voice)||Video Game|
|2009||A Christmas Carol||Tiny Tim/Bob Cratchit/Jacob Marley|
|Planet 51||Voice Only||Video Game|