Since his current film The Book of Eli with Denzel Washington opens today in US theaters, Gary Oldman (Sirius Black in the Harry Potter films) did a phone interview with nj.com. In The Book of Eli, Oldman portrays a tyrannical gangster named Carnegie who wants a rare text protected by a drifter (Denzel Washington) in order to affirm his reign over a “dusty hell town”.
In the interview, Oldman mentions what it was like to work with the two directors of the film Albert and Allen Hughes who are brothers. This led to a comment about his “observational humor” and a mention of Daniel Radcliffe who portrays “Harry Potter”:
Q. Observational humor?
A. Yes, it’s situational. I’m not always politically correct. I say some things that are outrageous but people laugh in spite of themselves.
Q. I’d imagine you could say things on this film that you wouldn’t necessarily say on the set of “Harry Potter.”
A. I’m pretty open all around. I say things that Dan Radcliffe enjoys and then he says to me, “Only you would say that.”
Here is what he was quoted to have said about the film and working opposite Denzel Washington:
Q. In the movie, Carnegie is looking for this book. He seems to want it so he can control people. At the same time, is he also looking to fill a certain void?
A. Eli has this admirable thing. He has this faith and it’s wonderful and it’s immovable and it’s so certain. If you speak to people who have faith, they just know it’s so, and you can’t sway them from it. They’re not there to convince you. When you meet people like that, it’s extraordinary and I think he recognizes that. It’s an enviable quality that he recognizes in Eli. It’s something that Carnegie may have had and lost, and who the hell knows what they’re drinking in that water.
Q. That well looked a little sketchy.
Q. There have been stories about post-apocalyptic worlds and there have been stories about religion being used to control people. What makes this one intriguing?
A. When I read it, I felt like it was a western. You’ve got the loner and you’ve got Carnegie, who is the alpha dog. He’s like the mayor of this small town. A guy comes in and they have this confrontation and he leaves and I get a posse and I chase him. I’ve always wanted to be in a western.
Naturally, he was asked about his work as “Commissioner Gordon” in the recent Batman films. Oldman believes there will be another one made in the next few years.
Q. It was so interesting to see you in the Commissioner Gordon role rather than one of the villains. What kind of a conversation did you initially have with Christopher Nolan?
A. He wanted me for a bad guy. I think someone suggested it. It may have been my manager: “What about Commissioner Gordon?” To Chris’ credit, he had the imagination. He went away and he thought about it and he cast me. Commissioner Gordon is the closest to who I really am.
Q. It’s certainly a contrast with movies like “Sid & Nancy” and “Prick Up Your Ears.”
A. Really, one is at the mercy of the ups and downs of the industry. It’s just the way it’s happened for me. It was great to play “Potter” and “Batman” and get away from those characters who eat up scenery.
Q. I liked seeing you and David Thewlis together in “Harry Potter.” He’s another actor you don’t expect to be a good guy.
A. He’s an old friend of mine. You had all the old thespians together — Alan Rickman and Tim Spall and David Thewlis, and we’ve all known one another. Yes, I said “thespian.”
Lololol. Love that line from an “old thespian”! As Radcliffe would say, only Oldman would say that!
Click here to read the complete interview.
The Book of Eli opens today in US theaters.
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