The old-school actor’s primary function was to play characters. To a good actor’s credit, he/she tried to do as many diverse characters as possible, who looked and sounded as different as possible. A good actor always strives to maximise the impact of his/her character, never letting their real identity slip.
Gary Oldman is the epitome of the old school actor. He has shape-shifted his way into multiple roles to such an extent that he doesn’t even remember his original accent, and had to hire a dialect coach for that.
Here are 15 characters played by Gary Oldman which looked and sounded so distinct, that it’s hard to imagine they were all played by the same man.
1. Sirius Black in the Harry Potter series
One of the more star-ier roles in his career, Oldman played the godfather to Harry Potter (played by Daniel Radcliffe). He stars majorly in the Prisoner of Azkaban and Order of the Phoenix.
2. Commissioner Jim Gordon in The Dark Knight trilogy
His most well-known role till date, Oldman played the ‘good cop’ of Gotham as he collectively aided Batman in taking down criminal syndicates and maniacal super-villians. It’s funny how British director Chris Nolan hired Britain’s acting royalty including Bale, Caine, Oldman, Ledger and Hardy to play American characters.
3. Sid Vicious in Sid and Nancy
Playing the punk-rocker bassist from the famous British band Sex Pistols, this was one of Oldman’s breakout roles. As he spray-painted his surroundings, displayed erratic behaviour, fell in and out of love with Nancy, Oldman was absolutely convincing with those dark sunglasses. He won unanimous praise for his portrayal.
4. Lee Harvey Oswald in JFK
As the main suspect in the JFK assassination, Oldman looked frighteningly similar to his real life counterpart. The film directed by Oliver Stone tried to uncover one of the many conspiracy theories, which floated around the Kennedy assassination. And it suggested that Oswald was a scapegoat.
5. Count Dracula in Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Starring in Francis Ford Coppola’s adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Oldman played the character of Count Dracula looking hideous. The film won that year’s Oscar for Best Costume and Best Makeup.
6. Drexl Spivey in True Romance
Oldman played the role of a drug dealer/pimp called Drexl, and managed to look of a different race. Beaded hair, the silver teeth and the facial scars made him look far from his normal British self.
7. Norman Stansfield in Leon: The Professional
Arguably his most iconic role was that of this corrupt DEA agent in the Luc Besson film. He rambled about Mozart, Beethoven and waltzed into apartments and shot anyone in his way. It also featured the famous ‘EVERRRYONNEEEE’ scene.
8. Jean-Baptiste Emmanuel Zorg in The Fifth Element
In this sci-fi movie starring Bruce Willis, Oldman played the eccentric bad guy with an even more peculiar hairdo. The haircut was a much swankier version of ‘the fade’ which has been in vogue only recently.
9. Egor Kurshonov in Air Force One
Playing the role of a Soviet terrorist, who takes the President of the United States (played by Harrison Ford) hostage, Oldman got the look and the accent near perfect. He seemed so authentic as a Russian, that you almost forgot about his British roots while watching the movie.
10. Rep. Sheldon Runyon in The Contender
Playing a middle-aged American politician, Oldman won half the battle when he shaved his hair from the front of his head and imbued his part with a faultless American accent. He convinced everyone about his conniving character, which he played to perfection.
11. Buford Hill in Nobody’s Baby
Only like Oldman can, he played this retarded cowboy only a few months apart from his performance as the politician in The Contender. His giant moustache and hat add to the look, only making him look funnier as he tries to take care of an infant he finds.
12. Mason Verger in Hannibal
A thankless role for the character’s face is half-eaten, Oldman added eeriness to the part like only he can. Playing Hannibal’s adversary, Oldman has barely a couple of scenes in Ridley Scott’s movie, but he matched up to Hopkins’s energy and made it memorable for us.
13. Elvis Presley (Guns, Girls and Gambling)
This neo-noir features the veteran British actor impersonating American icon Elvis Presley, in a show which judges the best lookalikes. Oldman is fluent as he goes about his role of the musician’s swagger.
14. George Smiley (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)
Starring as the super-spy from John Le Carre’s, Oldman uses all his years of acting experience to play the devious MI:6 agent. Oldman’s character is given the unenviable task to find a mole at the very top of the intelligence agency.
15. Winston Churchill (Darkest Hour)
Having played almost everything in his life, including a rockstar, a terrorist, a pimp, a wizard, a senator, Oldman will play the former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in the upcoming film Darkest Hour. Is there anything he can’t look like?
Hail, the many-faced God!