Gary Oldman Clarifies His Self-Critical Comments Related to Sirius Black in ‘Harry Potter’

Gary Oldman Clarifies His Self-Critical Comments Related to Sirius Black in 'Harry Potter'
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Although Oscar-winner Gary Oldman has had numerous memorable roles in his life, most fans will know him as either Sirius Black from the Harry Potter film series or as James Gordon from Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Oldman made both these roles his own, but Sirius Black is especially noteworthy here, as Oldman remains the only actor who portrayed the character to date, so most Harry Potter fans actually have a tough time imagining anyone else in the role besides Oldman. Still, from some recent comments, it seems that Oldman himself wasn’t satisfied with the role, and that has sparked some controversy.

During a podcast talk in December 2023, Oldman said the following about his interpretation of the beloved character:

“I think my work is mediocre in. No, I do. Maybe if I had read the books like Alan [Rickman], if I had got ahead of the curve, if I had known what’s coming, I honestly think I would have played it differently. It’s like anything, if I sat and watched myself in something and said, ‘My god, I’m amazing,’ that would be a very sad day, because you want to make the next thing better.”

Of course, this sparked a lot of controversy, especially since the Harry Potter franchise has been a hot topic for a while now due to various reasons, and fans felt somewhat betrayed by Oldman’s reflections on the role because Sirius Black remains as one of the franchise’s most beloved characters.

Oldman is currently in Cannes, where he is promoting his new film, Paolo Sorrentino‘s Parthenope, in which Oldman plays the American writer John Cheever. But, while a lot of the questions were about that movie, Oldman was also asked to clarify his comments on the Harry Potter role, and here is what he said:

“What I meant by that is, as any artist or any actor or painter, you are always hypercritical of your own work. If you’re not, and you’re satisfied with what you’re doing, that would be death to me. If I watched a performance of myself and thought, ‘My God, I’m fantastic in this,’ that would be a sad day. There was such secrecy that was shrouded around the novels, they were under lock and key. And had I known from the very beginning, if I had read the five books and I had seen the arc of the character, I might have approached it differently. I may have looked at it differently and painted in a different color. So when I started ‘Harry Potter,’ all I had was the book, ‘The Prisoner of Azkaban,’ and that one representation of that man. One book in the library of Sirius Black. And that’s kind of what I meant by it. It’s not me looking at the movie and saying it’s a terrible film or I’m terrible, I just wish it had been under different circumstances. That’s what I meant, not to be rude to any of the people out there who like that film.

Source: Variety

As you can see, Oldman clarified what he meant, and this reaction was a form of apology to anyone who was offended by his earlier remarks, as well as a clarification that he had no ill intentions when he said what he did; it was all directed towards himself and his own interpretation. It actually seems that Oldman is somewhat told that he couldn’t do a better job with the role, despite the fact that everyone agrees that Oldman was amazing. To reiterate, Oldman has thanked the franchise for “saving his life” on an earlier occasion, so always keep that in mind when you read such comments and interpret them:

“At 42 years old, I woke up divorced and I had custody of [my] boys. That, in itself, was… that was hard because there was a shift in the industry where a lot of productions were being [filmed in] Hungary, Budapest, Prague, Australia, you know, all of these places. So, I turned down a lot of work. Thank God for ‘Harry Potter.’ Thank God for ‘Harry Potter.’ I tell you, the two — ‘Batman’ and ‘Harry Potter’ — really, they saved me, because it meant that I could do the least amount of work for the most amount of money and then be home with the kids.”

Source: Variety

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