Gary Oldman, An Actor Who Has Really Done It All and Then Some

by on December 29, 2012

in Entertainment

Gary Oldman in 2012's Lawless movieA personality focus of Gary Oldman on There are times when a light goes off when watching a particular actor.  In most cases it might be someone who has clawed their way to the top and you recognize from one of those moments when they were a teen in a small part from some bygone day.

But when you look at Gary Oldman, one must sometimes dig deep to try to remember him from anything he’s done before.  And I say that with the utmost respect for the man, because as far as I can tell, there aren’t that many actors who have portrayed such a rich and colorful expanse of characters through the years as Gary Oldman has.

Gary Oldman in The Book of Eli movieTo me, Gary is the consummate career actor and he’s proven that he’s not afraid to tackle any genre.  Because of his diversity, he’s not an actor that you can typecast in your mind.  And as time goes on, when I see his name attached to a movie, I stop and consider that movie as something I’m going to watch because he always brings his “A” game.

Right now, if the name of Gary Oldman comes up, you probably think of Commissioner Gordon from The Dark Knight movies from Christopher Nolan.  Or maybe the master spy from Tinker Tailor, Soldier Spy.  But the man, through the years, has played characters in almost 60 different movies since 1982.  And unlike many actors ,who more or less create predictable (but likable) character portrayals, he can be something different every time, so you don’t know what to expect.

Gary Oldman, Christian Bale and Aaron Eckhart in The Dark Knight movie

The characters he’s played range across the board like borderline psychotics, spies, reluctant secondary heroes or iconic characterizations.  It’s quite amazing.  Despite what I’ve seen of him, he continues to surprise me.  He’s done so many roles and has changed his appearance in such ways that sometimes he’s not recognizable as himself.  And unlike many actors who don’t necessarily change as much between roles, Coleman’s various incarnations are always amazing to see.

What sparked this piece was when I was doing a piece on Bram Stoker and a film history of Dracula, I had forgotten that Gary had played the titular character in the 1992 movie from Francis Ford Coppola. (I actually enjoyed that rendition that stayed true to the source material) And then I started thinking about it.

Gary Oldman as DraculaDoing a quick review of his movie career, you can see he’s been in some incredible movie franchises like Harry Potter & Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight movie trilogy.    He’s played such iconic figures as Lee Harvey Oswald, Dracula, Dr. Smith, Bob Cratchit, Elvis & Shen!

Over the years, Gary Oldman’s has been in many movies.  Up to the point of this writing, he’s been in 59 movies, with 2 movies going into the can with Paranoia coming out in 2013 and the Robocop remake coming out in 2014.

Here’s a short list of some of his amazing roles:

Movie  Character Year
Remembrance  Daniel 1982
Henry & June  Pop (as Maurice Escargot) 1990
JFK  Lee Harvey Oswald 1991
Dracula  Dracula 1992
True Romance  Drexl Spivey 1993
Léon: The Professional  Stansfield 1994
Immortal Beloved  Ludwig van Beethoven 1994
The Scarlet Letter  Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale 1995
The Fifth Element  Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg 1997
Air Force One  Ivan Korshunov 1997
Lost in Space  Dr. Zachary Smith/Spider Smith 1998
Hannibal  Mason Verger 2001
Interstate 60: Episodes of the Road  O.W. Grant 2002
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban  Sirius Black 2004
Batman Begins  Jim Gordon 2005
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire  Sirius Black 2005
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix  Sirius Black 2007
The Dark Knight  Gordon 2008
A Christmas Carol  Bob Cratchit/Marley/Tiny Tim 2009
The Book of Eli  Carnegie 2010
Guns, Girls and Gambling  Elvis 2011
Red Riding Hood  Solomon 2011
Kung Fu Panda 2  Shen (voice) 2011
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2  Sirius Black 2011
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy  George Smiley 2011
Lawless  Floyd Banner 2012
The Dark Knight Rises  Commissioner Gordon 2012

On Amazon:  Gary Oldman movies

Gary Oldman and Daniel Radcliffe in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix franchise

Gary Oldman in the Fifth Element

Gary Oldman in Red Riding Hood movie

Any way, I love most all his roles.  His portrayals span deadpan to energetic, crazy to sane, good and evil.  I’ve particularly enjoyed the Red Riding Hood movie and the 1992 Dracula movie.  Both surprisingly entertaining.  I swear, it seems he does not attach himself to flubs.  But that’s just my opinion.

What’s your favorite Gary Oldman movie?

[His IMDb profile]


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Peter Cawdron December 30, 2012 at 5:02 pm

I love all his movies. Like you say, Oldman has so much depth and versatility to his acting. In Fifth Element, he took a cheese, corny character and made him certifiably insane in a creepy, believable manner. Absolute classic.

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