Gary Oldman: “There are things that are not in my wheelhouse. You have to know your limitations”

Being nominated for acting awards is nothing new for Gary Oldman, but his starring role in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy has netted him even more nominations, with Oldman already being awarded the San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor.

And though Oldman is likely to see his name broadcasted again in all types of media this summer when he appears in The Dark Knight Rises, Oldman tells NPR that he’ll miss playing the subdued George Smiley and the advantages offered by roles in quieter films.

Because he is someone who gets very deep into his character, Oldman explains that playing George Smiley was good for him, explaining that the “anti-James Bond” never loses his calm.  He says, “I was leading a quiet life, an anonymous life outside of the set.  He’s one of the few characters that I missed when the movie ended. I miss George. I liked being in his company.” 

So while Oldman obviously enjoyed the chance to play such a different role, he admits that there are some roles he can’t see himself playing.  “There are things that are not in my wheelhouse. You have to know your limitations.  Put it this way: A film I did 10 years ago with Joan Allen and Jeff Bridges [called] The Contender — I play the congressman. I’m happy in the skin of [the congressman], but I don’t know if I could play the president. That needs, I feel, something else. I wouldn’t want to wear those shoes.”  

There are other advantages of embodying a role, of course. Despite playing major roles in two of the most popular recent film franchises — Sirius Black in the Harry Potter series and Commissioner Gordon in the Batman movies — Oldman’s appear to disappear into role means that he doesn’t often get recognized in real life.  He explains, “I can move around with a certain degree of anonymity. That’s the good thing about being a character actor. I do live a very normal life.”


  1. Michael Calvert via Facebook

    January 20, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    One of the best of our generation. He is an actor i would love to meet.

  2. Daily Actor via Facebook

    January 20, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    He is awesome in everything he does. Love the guy

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