Gary Oldman is regarded as one of the finest actors of his generation, with a resume that spans television and theater as well as the cinema, and includes award-winning turns, independent productions, video games, and huge blockbusters. However, he is critical of some of his own work.

He played the pivotal role of Sirius Black in Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, then reported the role twice for the next two movies. Now, speaking to the Happy Sad Confused podcast, he says he doesn’t rate his work in those movies highly:

“I think my work is mediocre in it. 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.”

He also revealed what the hardest scenes were for him to shoot, out of all three movies – the lake scene in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Because it was a big emotional moment? The payoff for many threads of the plot? No, because he had to lay there for days:

“In one of the Harry Potters, there was like a frozen lake. And I’m sort of dead, and my soul is leaving my body, and I had to just lie there for a week, day in, day out, doing nothing.

Doing nothing, but then you’d have to get, you know, ‘Can someone – I’m getting a, I think my kidneys are really getting a bit cold.’ And then they’d put the little hot water bottle under you, and you’d lie there like that.

And then day three, you go, ‘My neck is killing me,’ and they’d put a little pillow underneath you. Yeah, the hardest thing I had to do was lie next to a frozen lake.”

He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour (2017), and was nominated for his portrayals of George Smiley in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011) and Herman J. Mankiewicz in Mank (2020).

He is known for being able to recite, from memory, vast swathes of Shakespeare. Director Luc Besson told how, on the set of The Fifth Element (1997), Oldman could recite any scene from all of Hamlet on cue.

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