Why Churchill was so intimidating to play

From BBC - March 3, 2018

Gary Oldman considered turning down the role of Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour - because he's been played so well by so many other actors.

The British actor is expected to lift the best actor Oscar on Sunday in LA, but said the war-time prime minister was an intimidating character to play.

He said he was drawn to the film as it showed Churchill "was not a curmudgeon" but was "energetic and funny".

"We think of him as an old man... who was born in a bad mood," said Oldman.

Speaking at a Hollywood event to celebrate the British nominees of the 90th Academy Awards, he told the BBC on Friday it was "a privilege and an honour" to play Churchill - despite the hours in hair and make up, including having his head shaved every morning.

It all felt worthwhile because Churchill was "such great company and I loved getting into work and being him", he explained.

'It was a revelation'

Oldman joins the likes of Robert Hardy, Albert Finney and Brian Cox who have previously played Churchill.

He said: "It was not an immediate yes. Because he's been played so successfully... you wonder what you can add to the gallery."

So what was it that did make him sign on the dotted line?

"It was the story and it was a very microscopic look at a defining moment in our history and also obviously his premiership," Oldman said at the event, also attended by musician Jonny Greenwood and costume designer Jacqueline Durran.

"But it was the discovery I made was going to the footage, when I was just looking at him and listening to him. It was the dynamism, the energy of the man.

'Vulnerability and sweetness'


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