Gary Oldman Talks Churchill and “Darkest Hour” in New Interviews!

Harry Potter‘s Gary Oldman (Sirius Black) is receiving lots of attention for his latest film role! He plays Winston Churchill in the new World War II drama Darkest Hour, which focuses on Churchill’s wartime decisions at the beginning of his tenure.

In an interview with Yahoo Entertainment, Oldman and director Joe Wright discussed the process of turning Oldman into Winston Churchill – a process that took six months to perfect. The end result was a hybrid of Oldman’s and Churchill’s facial structures, essentially splitting his face into half prosthesis and half Oldman’s face. The process ultimately took four hours each day and was so well done, there was no need for visual effects. Wright often forgot there was even makeup on Oldman’s face with how well it was constructed.

The top half of his face is all Gary; the bottom half is where the prosthetics are. If the camera was lower, he’d look more like Churchill, and if it was higher, he’d look more like Gary. In general, I kept the camera a little bit lower, but the makeup was so good, I forgot it was there…. [I]t was just like working with an actor who looked like Churchill.

In another interview with BBC Radio 4 Front Row‘s Kristy Land, Oldman joked that his casting as Churchill was ridiculous. He had never thought about playing Churchill before and was surprised to have received the role having what he calls no resemblance to the character. On the detailed transformation required, he admitted to not completely hating it.

It’s oddly liberating. I liken it to wearing a Halloween costume: if you have ever worn a mask, you lose your inhibitions.

For his turn as Churchill, Oldman is nominated for quite a few awards, including his first Golden Globe nomination, for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama, a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role, a Critics’ Choice Award for Best Actor, and a London Critics’ Circle Award for Actor of the Year. There has also been an incredible amount of Oscar buzz generated around his role, which would be a first-time nomination for Oldman in his three-decade-long career. Oldman is also being honored at the Hollywood Film Awards with a career achievement award. Regardless of the awards, though, Oldman says he’s already proud of the work he’s done.

The other week we were at Long Beach where they have a Churchill exhibition, and this voice behind me went, ‘Hello, great grand-papa’. It was (Churchill’s great-grandson) Randolph. That’s my Oscar right there, you know.

Be sure to check out Darkest Hour in theaters everywhere as of December 22!