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“I didn’t know what was going on”: Dark Knight Star Gary Oldman Felt “Bone-crushing stage fright” Before His Oscar-Nominated Role in 2011 Film

“I didn’t know what was going on”: Dark Knight Star Gary Oldman Felt “Bone-crushing stage fright” Before His Oscar-Nominated Role in 2011 Film

Gary Oldman, the British thespian extraordinaire, is a name synonymous with acting prowess and versatility. With a career spanning over four decades, he has consistently delivered outstanding performances that have earned him critical acclaim and an Academy Award.

Darkest Hour starring Gary Oldman
Darkest Hour starring Gary Oldman

Gary Oldman has been hailed as one of the greatest actors of his generation, and rightly so. His ability to transform himself into a wide array of characters is a testament to his immense talent. Whether he’s portraying a villainous drug lord, a legendary British Prime Minister, or a charismatic spy, Oldman’s dedication to his craft is always evident. And an actor of his caliber and stature even had “stage fright” in his career. Let’s delve into it.

Also Read: The Dark Knight Actor Gary Oldman Couldn’t be in $868M Star Wars Movie as George Lucas Allegedly Wanted Him to “Work illegally overseas”

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Gary Oldman’s Standout Performances in One Movie Where He Felt Stage Fright

One of the standout moments in Gary Oldman‘s career came with his role in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, a film that not only earned him critical acclaim but also a much-deserved Oscar nomination.

Directed by Tomas Alfredson and based on John le Carré’s espionage novel of the same name, the film is a slow-burning, intricate thriller set in the Cold War era. Oldman’s portrayal of George Smiley, a retired British intelligence officer called back to uncover a mole within the agency, is nothing short of mesmerizing.

Gary Oldman in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Gary Oldman in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

However, before filming, the actor had felt “Bone-crushing stage fright.” During The Hollywood Reporter‘s Actor Roundtable, the actor was asked about his Oscar-nominated role in the movie. Oldman reflected on the moment and said:

I had bone-crushing stage fright. It was really debilitating. I think also it was trying to slay the dragon for many people. I’ve since spoken with other actors, and I realized I was not alone. It was like an AA meeting or something.”

In Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Oldman’s performance is characterized by its subtlety and nuance. It’s a performance that relies on restraint and quiet intensity, and Oldman delivers it with masterful precision.

Also Read: “I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy”: Harry Potter Star Gary Oldman Claimed He Sweated Vodka – 6 Hollywood Legends Who Fought Alcohol Addiction Like Champions

Gary Oldman Thought He Couldn’t Do The Role

What makes Oldman’s performance in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy exceptional is his ability to convey so much with so little. Oldman’s performance in this film earned him critical acclaim and a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor.

Meanwhile, the actor once had serious concerns about playing the role of George Smiley. In an interview with Playboy, he said:

On the other side of that coin, the most stressful role, the most painful to do, was Smiley in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. There’s no mask. It’s very exposed. You have to play boring in an interesting way. Not that Smiley is a boring character, but he’s plain. Everything is dialed way down.”

Talking about why had a breakdown, he asserted:

I understand why Alec Guinness had a kind of nervous breakdown leading up to the shooting of the original Tinker Tailor and wanted out. I had a breakdown too, briefly.”

Gary Oldman as George Smiley

Once I signed on, I thought, ‘F**k me! I can’t do this. I can’t pull this off. Everybody’s going to see what a fake I am,” the actor added.

Despite all the self-doubt, Oldman nailed the role and went on to portray an Oscar-nominated performance.

Watch Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy on Starz and Apple TV.

Also Read: “What have I let myself in for?”: Gary Oldman Regretted Playing This Politician Which Earned Him An Academy Award

Source: THR Actors Roundtable, Playboy  

Written by Prantik Prabal Roy

Prantik Prabal Roy is a writer at Fandomwire. With an experience of over 4 years in content writing industry and a Master's degree in English literature, he continues to write about your favorite Hollywood celebs and keeps a close watch on their every move to provide intriguing perspectives for the readers. He likes reading, watching movies and traveling. When not working, you will find him obsessing over Leonardo DiCaprio and reading some books on space and sports.