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In June 2011, scenes from the Batman film The Dark Knight Rises were being filmed at Wollaton Hall in Nottingham.
I went along to the hotel where some of the cast were staying, and was thrilled to meet Gary Oldman there. Gary signed a photograph for me and then I had this photograph taken with him.
Leonard Gary Oldman was born in New Cross, London in 1958. His father Len, an ex-sailor who worked as a welder, left the family in 1965 and died of alcoholism in 1984. Just like his father, Gary later turned alcoholic and had to attend rehabilitation for therapy. He has two much
much older sisters, who helped to look after him after their father died. One of his sisters, Maureen, is the Eastenders actress Laila Morse.
Having left school at fifteen with virtually no qualifications (although he had taught himself to play the piano), he took a job in a sports shop. After seeing Malcolm MacDowell in two films (If.... and The Raging Moon) he knew he wanted to act, and joined the Greenwich Young People's Theatre. Hetook
He took on various jobs to make ends meet - hospital porter, shoe salesman and abbatoir worker - before applying to RADA. He was rejected by them but later won a scholarship to Bruford College of Speech and Drama in Kent, graduating in 1979 with a BA in Theatre Arts.
Oldman in an early stage role
Oldman then spent about eight years doing theatre, gaining a lot of stage experience in rep at York, Colchester and Glasgow before a six month run of the play Summit Conference (1982) at the Lyric Theatre in London's West End.
After winning a 'Best Newcomer
Gary Oldman & Tilly Vosburgh in Meantime
Gary Oldman & Alfred Molina in
Prick Up Your Ears
A young Gary Oldman
Gary Oldman as Sid Vicious in Sid and Nancy
Newcomer' award for his performance in the hit 80's play, The Pope's Wedding, Oldman gained his first film role in Remembrance (1982). This was quickly followed by several
several TV roles including Mike Leigh's improvised drama Meantime (1983) and the series Morgan's Boy (1984). However, it was his roles as Sex Pistol member Sid Vicious in the film Sid and Nancy (1986), andgay
and gay writer Joe Orton in Prick Up Your Ears (1987) which brought Oldman huge public recognition, and paved the way for a whole host of starring roles in the 1990s.
Gary Oldman as Sid Vicious
Gary Oldman as 'Bex' Bissell in The Firm
Lesley Manville & Gary Oldman in The Firm
Around this time, Oldman's work was for both TV and film, andhe
and he has appeared in three Screen Two productions for the BBC. He played the minor role of Derek Bates in Honest
Honest, Decent and True (1985), but the lead role of 'Bex' Bissell, an estate agent who changes into a football
football hooligan on match days, in The Firm (1988). In this violent TV movie, Gary Oldman appears with his then-wife Lesley Manville. twoyears
Oldman in Honest, Decent and True
Two years later, He starred with Joely Richardson in Heading Home (1991), an elegant production which evokes the atmosphere of England in the 1950s.
Oldman & Joely Richardson in Heading Home
During the 1990s, Oldman concentrated on the big screen. He showed his versatility and tremendous skills as an actor with a range of very different characters from film to film. He alsobuilt
As Lee Harvey Oswald in JFK
also built a great reputation for playing villains!! In State of Grace (1990), Oldman plays Irishman Jackie Flannery, a violent young gangster with a tender streak. It is widely regarded
Sean Penn & Gary Oldman in State of Grace
regarded as one of Oldman's all-time best film performances, indeed he himself has been quoted as saying that it was his own favourite performance.
Gary Oldman as Rosencrantz in
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
As Drexl Spivey in True Romance
Gary Oldman as Jack Grimaldi
in Romeo is Bleeding
As Beethoven in Immortal Beloved
Gary Oldman as Stansfield in Leon
More leading roles, each very different, continued to come his way such as Rosencrantz in Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead (1990); Lee Harvey Oswald in JFK (1991); bent cop Joe Grimaldi in Romeo is Bleeding (1993); violent pimpp
pimp Drexl Spivey in True Romance (1993) and the deaf composer Ludwig van Beethoven in Immortal Beloved (1994), a superb film in which Oldman gave an outstanding performance.
As Ivan Korshunov in Air Force One
As Rev. Dimmesdale in The Scarlet Letter
As Albert Milo in Basquiat
After yet another fantastic performance as Milton Glenn, a sadistic
sadistic prison warder at Alcatraz, in Murder in the First (1995), Gary Oldman played a completely different role, a Quaker pastor, in 17th Century Massachusetts Bay colony romance The Scarlet Letter (1995) co-starring Demi Moore. In the Oscar-nominated Air Force One (1997), Oldman plays a terrorist, Ivan Korshunov, leader of a gang of Russians who take over the plane carrying the US President.
In the same year, Oldman, playing the inter-stellar arms dealer Zorg, co-starred with Bruce Willis in the weird sci-fi fantasy The Fifth Element (1997), much of which was filmed at the Albert R Broccoli 007 Stage at Pinewood Studios in England.
Another outstanding role of the 1990s was as Count Dracula in Francis Ford Coppola's box-office success Dracula (1992). Oldman, whose character appears in several different guises, won a 'Best Actor' award from The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films. For a while, he dated his co-star Winona
Gary Oldman as Zorg in The Fifth Element
Gary Oldman & Winona Ryder in Dracula
Winona Ryder at a time when his marriage to Uma Thurman was in trouble.
(left, above, right)
Gary Oldman as Dracula
Ridley Scott's Hannibal (2001), sequel to Silence of the Lambs, saw Gary Oldman play a character which took six hours to create in make-up each day! This time he is the loathsome
A rare TV role came Oldman's way in the CBS mini-series Jesus(
Jesus (1999), when he played Pontius Pilate. This lavishly produced
produced epic, was filmed on location in Morocco & Malta.
loathsome child molester Mason Verger, a man obsessed with taking revenge on Hannibal Lecter (played by Anthony
Gary Oldman as Pontius Pilate in Jesus
Anthony Hopkins). Oldman is quite unrecognisable, as the villain whom Hannibal had convinced to hang himself and cut off most of his own face with a knife! Verger eventually dies when he is pushed into a pit of vicious pigs that he had bred to killhann
Oldman as Mason Verger in Hannibal
kill Hannibal Lecter. Horrific stuff!!
With Jack Johnson in Lost in Space
Oldman as Sheldon Runyon in The Contender
Gary Oldman as Sirius Black
Oldman enhanced his reputation for versatility still further after landing another significant role, as Sirius Black in the third of the Harry Potter films Harry Potter andthe
and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004). He reprised
Gary Oldman as Sirius Black
reprised the role in the later films Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Phoenix (2007) and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011). Of his role in the Harry Potter films Gary Oldman said, "I've done so much R-rated work, it's nice to have a job you can show your kids!"
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
In 2005, Gary Oldman played a 'good guy' for a change - as Lieutenant Jim Gordon in Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins. Oldman reprised the role again in The Dark Knight (2008), the multi-award winning sequel which starred Heath Ledger as The Jo
As Sgt Jim Gordon in Batman Begins
The Joker. The third film in the series The Dark Knight Rises, is due for release in 2012.
As Lt. Jim Gordon in The Dark Knight
Gary Oldman & Kate Beckinsale in Tiptoes
Gary Oldman as O. W. Grant in Interstate 60
Other recent Oldman films include three that haven't exactly taken the world by storm - The Unborn (2009), Rain Fall (2009) and Red Riding Hood (2011) - although this is no fault of Gary Oldman
Oldman who gives good performances in each of them. The Book
Book of Eli (2010), with Gary Oldman playing the villainous town leader Carnegie, has been received much better, and has been nominated for a number of awards.
The latest adaptation of John le Carre's novel Tinker, Tailor,
Gary Oldman & Jennifer Beals
in The Book of Eli
Tailor, Soldier, Spy (2011), does look set to become a cinema spy-classic. Oldman plays George
George Smiley, a character famously portrayed by Sir Alec Guinness
Guinness in the 1979 BBC TV serialisation of the novel. Smiley is an espionage expert who is forced out of retirement to find a Soviet mole that lurks within MI6.
GaryOldman & Odette Annable in
Gary Oldman as George Smiley in
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Jamie Foreman & Ray Winstone in
Gary Oldman's Nil By Mouth
In 1985, Oldman established the production company 'SE8 Group'. Its first major success came twelve years later with the prize winning Nil By Mouth (1997). Oldman wrote, directed and produced the film, which is loosely based upon his own lifegro
growing up in London. It features his sister Laila Morse as Janet, and stars Ray Winstone as Ray, an abusive drunk, with Cathy Burke as his long-suffering wife Valerie. 'SE8 Group' was also involved in the comedy Nobody's Baby (2001) in which Oldman stars as Buford Dill, a petty criminal with a permanently itchy bottom! Another example of how
Gary Oldman as Buford Dill
how chameleon-like Gary Oldman is, as each of his characters is completely different to any from his previous films.
Gary Oldman has provided the voice for several films - Sir Ruber in Quest for Camelot (1998); various characters in A Christmas
in Nobody's Baby
Gary Oldman recording a voice-over
Gary Oldman has been married four times. The first was to actress Lesley Manville in 1987, ending in a divorce in199e son
Christmas Carol (2009) and General Grawl in Planet 51 (2009). He has also voiced a number of video gamesgames
In 1990. They had one son Alfred Oldman (b. 1988). In the same year, he married actress
Gary Oldman & Uma Thurman
Gary Oldman & Lesley Manville
in The Firm
actress Uma Thurman but they then divorced in 1992. Oldman's third marriage was to the photographer Donya Fiorentino in 1997, but
but that too ended in divorce four years later. They had two sons, Gulliver Oldman (b. 1997) and Charlie Oldman (b. 1999). He married his present wife, English jazz singer Alexandra Edenborough, in 2008. Alcoholism has been a problem
Gary Oldman with his third wife
Gary Oldman & Alexandra Edenborough
problem for Oldman in the past, and has been the main cause of his marriage break-ups. He was arrested for drunk driving in 1991, and checked himself into anex
a rehab program in 1995. Oldman actually met his ex-wife, Donya Fiorentino, at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.
Considering how many fine films that Gary Oldman, it is amazing that he has won so few awards. Apart from an Evening Standard British Film Award as 'Most Promising Newcomer' in Sid and Nancy in 1987; an ALFS award as 'Actor of the Year' in Prick Up Your Ears, also in 1987 and a Saturn Award for 'Best Actor' in Dracula in 1992, Oldman has not got beyond
Gary Oldman receives Heath Ledger's
SAG Award in 2009
beyond the 'Nomination' stage. He did, though, receive a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award on behalf of the late Heath Ledger in 2009, after being asked to do so by the Ledger family.
Gary Oldman has signed this publicity photo to me
Gary Oldman as Sirius Black in
Gary Oldman & Daniel Radcliffe in
Gary Oldman & Daniel Radcliffe in