Sunday Times

Gary Oldman is the ultimate immersive character actor. He’s won wide acclaim for his method-acting roles


Ludwig van Beethoven in Immortal Beloved (1994) Builds on an imagined premise: a letter, discovered after Beethoven’s death, addressed only to his “immortal beloved.” His confidant Herr Schindler (Jeroen Krabbe) embarks on a quest to discover the true identity of Beethoven’s lost love.

Drexl Spivey in True Romance (1993) He plays a smack-talking, dreadlock-sporting pimp and drug dealer from whom the central character, Clarence Worley, must rescue his love interest, Alabama Whitman. In less than 10 minutes of screen time he’s the film’s most despicably riotous and entertaini­ng character.

George Smiley in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011) In this espionage thriller, he plays spy chief George Smiley, who’s brought out of retirement to deal with the aftermath of an agent’s apparent death during the height of the Cold War.

Count Vlad Dracula in Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, the centuries-old vampire comes to England to seduce his barrister Jonathan Harker’s fiancée, Mina Murray, and inflict havoc in the foreign land.

Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour (2017) Oldman underwent an unrecognis­able physical transforma­tion to play the wartime prime minister, smoking his way through $30,000 worth of cigars while on set and developed a stomach pain that required a colonoscop­y. He won the Best Actor Academy Award for his efforts.

Sirius Black in Harry Potter Played the young wizard’s grandfathe­r in the film adaptation­s of Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, and Deathly Hallows: Part 2.

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