New Gary Oldman Interview
May 10, 2004
In the new issue of The Book La, there is good interview with actor Gary Oldman(Sirius Black). A TLC reader sent us the interview, which you can read below. Regarding the cast of POA, Gary Oldman says:
“…And these actors and actresses I was in the theatre with, years ago, that also made it. A dear friend of mine, David Thewliss [sic], who’s playing Professor Lupin, an old friend of mine, Timothy Spall, who plays Peter Pettigrew, and Alan Rickman who I’ve known for twenty years, we’re all in a scene together. Fantastic. Waving our wands around, doing a lot shouting. A lot of shouting acting.”
Q: So where have you been?
A: I’ve got two young boys, so they became my project, and I didn’t really want to travel. I wanted to get them up and in school, just be there, be very present. When I was younger, it was great living out of a suitcase, but I’ve tried to do less and less of that for the last
couple of years. Before Harry Potter, which is the first big thing I’ve
done in a long time, I’ve been basically been at home, and have worked on two things that were L.A. based, or close to home…. And that’s me, I’ve been really low-key.”
Q: You must have had to be in England for a while for Harry Potter.
A: I was there for three months, for a part that is really 15 to 20
minutes on screen.
Q: Aren’t you the title character?
A: Yes, I am the title character, but in the book, as in film, one awaits the arrival of Sirius Black… There’s a big buildup. It was anywhere between 12 and 15 days of shooting, spread out. Harry Potter is a 4 to 6 hour shooting day, but that is spread out over 12, because the children have to be tutored and fed and rested, and the animals of course – Scabbers the rat gets a break every 15 minutes. Just the trauma of being on the set, and being manhandled, means he can only work for 15 minutes at a time, and then he has to have a rest for half an hour. It was a whole new world to me.
Q: Does that make it hard or easier to act?
A: It makes it a little harder to keep a focus, a continuity, or a level
of emotion and energy. But when you take on a movie that involves
children and animals and special effects, it’s a process that you jut
have to surrender to. It’s time consuming, and it ‘s slow, and it can
be bone-crushingly boring, until those moments when you’re actually in the moment doing it. But the three main kids, Rupert (Grint), Emma (Watson) and Daniel (Radcliffe), are focused and professional and unspoiled, not remotely precocious or pretentious. They are just down to earth, really nice kids. And I adore Dan, who plays Harry. He is the coolest coolest kid.
Q: And are your kids excited about you being in this film?
A: Oh, they’re thrilled. I’m a hero at school.
Q: Is that part of what attracted you to the role?
A: There are several things. Just practically, I have not worked for a
while, and you’ve got to make money. I have to pay the bills. Then of course, the director, Alfonso Cuaron (Y tu Mama Tambien, Great
Expectations), makes it doubly intriguing, because he’s a real
filmmaker. There’s a difference. There are people who make movies, and there are filmmakers. And although, yes, it’s Harry Potter and you’re either going to like Harry Potter or you’re not going to like it,
Alfonso comes to it with his own style and vision, which makes it very exciting. It doesn’t look like the other two. It has a whole different energy and heart and vision behind it. It’s got great feel to it. It’s much darker. The book is darker. The kids are growing up. And these actors and actresses I was in the theatre with, years ago, that also made it. A dear friend of mine, David Thewliss [sic], who’s playing Professor Lupin, an old friend of mine, Timothy Spall, who plays Peter Pettigrew, and Alan Rickman who I’ve known for twenty years, we’re all in a scene together. Fantastic. Waving our wands around, doing a lot shouting. A lot of shouting acting.
Q: Does that take less getting into character?
A: All that has to be there. All that groundwork has to be done, but in the application of it, it takes a certain style, for want of a better
word. John Gielgud once said, “style is knowing what play you’re in.”
There’s a challenge in something like Harry. There’s no time for
subtext. It’s what I call “lickety split.” Tits and teeth, and there
you are! Up front, and get through it. It’s not naturalism, it’s not
Mike Leigh, it’s almost Vaudeville. Might something that you feel is
too big elsewhere, in the world of Harry Potter, it works, or hopefully
it does. All my parts are big. I’m not the subtlest actor. Once in
awhile I get the chance to do a little bit of subtlety, but, yes, this
is out there, in your face.