Gary Oldman: What I’ve Learned
What other people think of me is none of my business.
Acting is living truthfully under imaginary circumstances. An acting teacher told me that.
You choose your friends by their character and your socks by their color.
“Fuck ‘em.” Shortest prayer in the world.
A lazy man works twice as hard. My mother told that to me, and now I say it to my kids. If you’re writing an essay, keep it in the lines and in the margins so you don’t have to do it over.
I wanted to play Dracula because I wanted to say: “I’ve crossed oceans of time to find you.” It was worth playing the role just to say that line.
We all look for that other half, that partner. I mean, wouldn’t it be great to say that line to someone and mean it?
There’s 99 percent crap across pretty much everything. And then there’s that one plateau where I want to be.
You ever go into a house, see a light switch, and it’s slightly crooked? Drives me crazy. Crazy.
There are bass players who know when not to play. I don’t know if that can be taught.
Bernie Taupin! My hero growing up! His lyrics are cinematic.
You can make a performance better in the editing, but you can sure tear passion to tatters with the scissors.
What would you do if you were a painter, and you gave your painting over to someone, and then you saw it in an exhibition and they’d cut seven inches off the top of it? And the corner was painted red. We thought it would be better red. But that wouldn’t happen.
I enjoy playing characters where the silence is loud.
The phone call is often the best part of it. Your agent says, “They want you to play Hamlet at the Old Vic.” And you go, “Holy shit! Hamlet at the Old Vic! Wow! God! Fantastic!” Then you hang up and it’s “Fuck, I’m playing Hamlet.”
The lights go down. What do you got?
When you meet someone, you can get something out of him like when you first look at a painting.
I’m almost incapable of lying. I’d be a terrible spy.
New York is London on steroids.
Downtown L. A. looks like they started to build Chicago and then gave up … and let it become a sprawling suburb.
I never moved here. I came here to make a film. I’ve lived in America now for nearly twenty years.
You’re tired? Have a baby, then come back and tell me how tired tired is.
There’s no handbook for parenting. So you walk a very fine line as a parent because you are civilizing these raw things. They will tip the coffee over and finger-paint on the table. At some point, you have to say, “We’re gonna have to clean that up because you don’t paint with coffee on a table.”
You don’t step straight up to the front of the ATM line. You don’t cut in front of people at the ticket desk. You take your turn. You can learn great life lessons from board games.
My kids are my greatest achievement.
They’re proud of what I’ve done, but wonderfully underwhelmed.
I don’t bring the work home. That’s because I do the work up front. I prepare. Once you find the character and take it around the block a few times, the engine will always be warm. You just need to rev it up. You’re not turning the key cold. You can finish a day, leave it at work, go home, and help the kids with their homework.
I never thought I’d see the end of celluloid in my lifetime, but it seems to be one amazing deal away.
By the way, the Harry Potter series is literature, in spite of what some people might say. The way J.K. Rowling worked that world out is quite something.
A few years ago, my mother asked what I’d like for my birthday. I had enough socks, slippers, and ties. So I said: “I don’t know, get me a ukulele.” It kind of fell from the sky into my head. And she got it for me. I started playing it and now my kids are into it. So we’ve gone ukulear in the house.
I don’t pursue things. They come to me. They come through the letter box. People get an idea in their heads. “What about Gary Oldman?”
A director expects you to come in, open your suitcase, and say, “Okay, here’s my stuff, guv’nah.”
There’s only one authentic version of Gary, and I’ve got to really know who that is.
What a fantastic interview. I love this line: ‘Acting is living truthfully under imaginary circumstances. An acting teacher told me that.’ Right now reading about people feeling content and peaceful in their place in life is extremely helpful for reliving my anxiety. The funniest things do the tricks. Certain songs are very helpful, wise words, and others personal experiences.