|Article||Big thanks To vicky to have sent me the article, then I transcripted it.
you can see the french translation of the article here
Gary Oldman:Is that barney?
P:yes it is
G:this is Gary Oldman calling.
P:Hi,thanks for calling.How are you?
G:Not bad thanks.
P:So which part of LA are you in?
Go:I'm in the studio city area.
P:Do you own a house there?
G:No I rent.I did own something but now I rent.
P:Do you find that suits your temperament better,not bering tied down to one place?
G:Yeah,it's a little easier till I find somewhere.I think I could be here for a long time.I'm quite happy being in rental.
P:So you've lived in LA now for,what,15 years?
G:Oh,no,no I was in New York.I've lived in LA for six years.Iwas on and off in New york for about 10 years.
P:Why New York?Close enough away to also step out of it?
G:Probably that.I went through New York for the first time in a stopover in 1967.
P:The year I was born.
P:Mind you, you would have only been nine years old at the time.
G:Yeah.The thing I remember most about it was they had those kind of lounge chairs in the waiting area with individual miniature Tv's on the arms.I remember that image and I remember walking through the siding glass doors to the cab and it was excitement on the other side of the glass.I didn't know what it was but it was something special.
P:What took you to New york at that young age?
G:We were coming through from Jamaica.
P:You'd been on holiday in Jamaica?
G:Yeah,my dad used to work there.I live there for six months so we were coming home.
P:New york is a city that feels so familiar from countless scenes in films and on TV.
G:Yeah, my image of it was from movies,long before I ever got there.But it doesn't disappoint .My whole career in american film wasn't engineered it was by accident,really,i just ended up making a movie in new york.
P:What that your first time?
G:That wasn't my first,it was my second.I worked on State Of Grace.That took me to New York.It was just a magical time.Wonderful and painful at the same time.So I ended up moving there.I have a son who's now 15...
P:is that Alfie?
G:Yes I'd commute between New York and London.I'd go to see him every third weekend.I've made some decent money making movies but I've never bought,you know,expensive sports cars or anything.The kind of change I had in those days.I'd spend on airfares,i've flown Concorde many times because that shaved a few hours off the trip.
P:And off your pocket too,no doubt!!
G:And off my pocket,it was less expensive in those days.
P:So you were commuting to London?
G:I was living in New York and travelling back and fort about every three weeks which sounds very tiring but it becomes routine.
P:Concorde would have taken some of the pain out of it.
G:I'm proud to say I was on the fatest trans-atlandtic crossing ever.We had a tailwind and the captain proudly announced we'd made the trip in two hours and 53 minutes.
P:Christ!on a normal flight,it takes five or six hours!
G:Yeah!three-hours-fifteen is normal on Concorde.
P:But now you call LA home.
G:I wouldn't say it's my favourite town
P:what you don't like about it?
G:I resent driving everywhere.
P:That's the beauty of London or New York.You just jump on the subway or the underground to get around.
G:or a c
ab or you can walk.
P:What's sort of car do you drive in LA?
G:It's an X5 it's a small SUV BMW,courtesy of BMW because I did a commercial for them.
P:So they gave you a car in lieu of paymen?or was it just the icing on the cake?
G:Yes they pay you and then you get a car.
P:What was the commercial?
G:it was one of those BMW short films.
P:who directed it?
G:Tony Scott.It was with James Brown too.so I got the chance to work with Tony again and James Brown!!
P:Does he sing in the commercial?
G:no!i'm the devil and he comes back to me and wants to renew his contract and it all comes down to a car race.
P:There's a race in all of those films,isn't there?
G:Well you have to get the cars somehow.I'm a slightly Keith Richards/Mick Jagger/Rock'n roll kind of devil.And he comes back and says he wants to renew his contract because he didn't calculate for the aging.So it was six days work and at home too.It's not everyday you get to work with james brown.
P:What are some of you other career highlights?
G:Well state of grace was a special time.I like my work on it.I think Jfk would have to be high on the list because of the movie and working with Oliver Stone and some of those actors.It was a very special project for many reasons.Then Coppola in my opinion is arguably the greatest american director.I would have to put him at the top, even if you are measuring him against people who have gone before.He holds his own as a master filmmaker.
P:It must have been a lot of fun playing Dracula
G:That was a good period there.It was an amazing opportunity to work with him.And his daughter's just made a wonderful movie.I think it has to be my favourite film of the year and perhaps even a favourite of many years.
P:That's high praise
G:It's a major piece of filmaking
P:What do you like about Lost In Translation?
G:It's just got an atmosphere.It's quality,it's personal,it's beautifully framed,it's masterfully shot.You're comfortable sitting there with it because you know Sofia had a point of view and knew exactly what film she wanted to make.It's touching and funny and it's a movie you can watch again and again.It's indescribable,there's something she's captured that really touches you.
P:Did you ever feel intimidated working with Francis Ford Coppola?
G:I think the only apprehension you ave when you work with someone with that body of work and that reputation is you just don't want to disappoint them.I'm there to play the role for him,i'm not making the movie,i'm the only part of it,you think'well,all the other stuff is in place and the only person who can fuck up is me'.You hope your contribution will be weighed and measured and come up to expectations because the director cast you for many reasons.But you want to make them happy.Apart from that,no,i was excited, i wasn't nervous.
P:That apprehension would be quite different from the anxiety of stepping onto a stage to do a play.
G:I'm lucky in that I've never been a nervous performer.I spent 10 years working on stage and there were people who were vomiting before they went on.And I thought"my god if I did that every night I would have to give up"People get completely beside themselves and I'm quite blessed I never had that,i actually feel quite at home.
P:Do you miss your theatre days?
G:Yeah,that was a magic time.I worked with some great young director,i miss it sometimes I get very romantic and nostalgic about it.Sometimes I flirt with the idea of doing it again.
P:When was the last time you did a theatre piece?
G:Well professionally,would have been about 16 years ago.It's been a while but I still have a connection.
P:Any thoughts of writing or directing a play yourself?
G:Yeah I've thought about directing a play even writing one.
P:What stops you?
G:Well money.You've got to pay the bills.Another highlight for me was nil by m
outh,i've written a couple of things since and tried to get them made but I wanted to make them in a certain way but was not very compatible with the money people.I wanted to do something without stars and it's very hard to get money without the marquee names.
P:Yet you managed achieve that with your film nil by mouth which was made critically acclaimed
G:But that was '95,'96 the business has changed.A huge seismic shift in the industry has occured.I don't think you could get nil by mouth made today the way I made it with relatively unknown people,complete creative control...i had 45 days to shoot.
P:Didn't Luc Besson produce it?
G:Yes he did.
P:That was before the fifth element,wasn't it?
G:Well in a sense I then had to sing for my supper.
P:Thanks god you did! I love your performance in that movie.
G:I always knew that call was coming.
P:And you's already done the professionnal
G:Yeah,i'd already worked with him.God Bless him,though.I tried to get money for nil by mouth and I couldn't get a penny for it.People would read it and turn it down.They'd say'gary's crazy" it's a career suicide why does he want to direct?this movie is just"fuck fuck fuck ,cunt cunt cunt" who want to go to see this?.And Luc stepped it and said"i'll do it" it was then received well.We won the british BAFTA for best film then best screenplay and best actress at Cannes and best director at Edinburgh.And it started to really get some legs,just this tiny little movie i made with six friends that i was going to put on the shelf and dust off once in a while to show a couple of mates.
P:Have you seen "Once were warriors" which seems like it's New Zealand equivalent?
G:Yeah I've seen it it was very powerful I was in the middle of production on nil by mouth when it opened in theatres in England so I remember it very vividly there's a visceral,frenetic to both of them.
P:And neither of them pull punches do they,though in some ways you wish they did
G:The guy in "Once were warriors" makes Ray in my movie looks positively fucking charming
P:Yeah.Jake the Muss,Temuera morrison,the actor who played him,hasn't done a lot since.
G:The roles aren't always there.People say to me"why don't you do another prick up your ears?why aren't you making those movies?and my response is:"because they're not writing them'prick up your ears was written by Alan Bennett,Rosencrantz and guildenstein was written,by Tom Stoppard.They're great writers.Roles like that don't come along everyday.Look at him marvelous Cate Blanchett was in "Elizabeth" completely robbed at the academy awards.I think everybody agrees with that.I don't mean this in a snobbish way but she has given very good performances in some not very good movies;She wants to work in the movie industry but roles like Elizabeth don't come along everyday.
P:I guess you count yourself lucky if you get offered a good role every two or three years
G:i really only caught the end of what I would call that golden period:the 60'70's and 80's I caught the end of it with Sid and nancy and Prick up your ears,when they were making films like that.
P:You've been in several quality films since then though giving number of very memorable performances.
G:Some of the work I'm proud of hasn't been seen.I did a film a couple of years ago called Nobody's Baby it was a comic film and of course I did it specially for that,changing the direction of the career a bit.But it went straight to Dvd,i'm sad not enough people saw it.
P:What about more recently?you've had a quiet patch lately.Is that by choice or a lack of good projects?
G:Not to go into too much detail,but I had what you might call a domestic accident.And um now I've got two sons and one is six and one is four and a half.I'm a single dad and I have custody of the boys.After my divorce, they became my project, so I took tow years off,which financially became a bit of a struggle.But I too
k time off to be with them,i did a few things.I did that commercial that kept the wolf from the door and kept things ticking over.And then Harry potter film came along.
P:that's right, you're in the third Harry potter film.
G:It comes out in June,i believe,so that was the first thing I did that was a big commitment for maybe two and a half years.
P:How did it feel getting back into it?
G:I was a bit rusty but it was a lot of fun,it's directed by Alphonso Cuaron I play a character called Sirius Black.what's interesting about it is that for most of the movie until I appear you think I'm a bad guy and I actually turn out to be a good guy.
P:You also got to work with another of my favourite british actor,Michael Gambon
G:Oh Michael! he plays Dumbledore and replaced the late Richard Harris[drops voice to a whisper] but I think Michael's better he's stranger,quirkier and well to be very blunt about it he just has more presence because he's not dying as Richard was..so there's an energy to him that is very alive.
P:It's interesting you mention Richard Harrus because I can see similarities between the two of you.You're also a talented british actor with a reputaion for being a bit of a hell-raiser.Do you see these similarities?
G:Yes now I look back and laugh and I have some stories I can tell from some of the movies I've worked on,because I stopped drinking,you see[laughs]that was seven years ago,i had the smarts to wake up one day and do'i'm not going to do this anymore"
P:Did you find it difficult to quit?
G:[slowly] yeahhh I think the hard thing is doing the work looking at why you want to do it in the first place,getting absolutely honest,that's the hard bit.But I'm very lucky and blessed that the obsession of it for want a better work lifted for me.Now I never ever think about it it seems like someone else.
P:Are you encountering less problems in your life because of it?
G:Absolutely,first of all,you face every day with a clear head and problems that were on a scale of one to 10;a nine,sober are a three the drama goes,it just evaporates.
P:Now that you are a single father you must feel even better about sobriety
G:Yeah it's a lot of responsibility these two guys never saw me drunk and I'm very grateful for that and am I an alcoholic?i don't know but I'm certainly not going to have a drink to find out!(laughs)
P:What about other substances?
G:No,no I was never really interested in any of that I'm not even good with antibiotics.They upset my system,i've always been a bit delicate so pills and all that never interested me I think you single out your poison.
P:And for you it was alcohol while for other people it's drugs
G:Or food,or sex or whatever.I always felt somewhat safe with alcohol because I drank a glass of wine,i knew exaclty how I would feel.If I took a pill I couldn't control that.You take something hallucinogenic and get a bad trip and you say"'okay I want this stop but you cant that always scares me I'm a bit of a wimp when it comes to all of that.but yeah I loved a drink..
P:Have you been following Russell Crowe's career at all?
G:well,as much as anyone would
P:Is he an actor who interests you?
G:yeah I think he's a remarkable actor I love big actors.that's why I cast Ray Winstone in my film.he's a sort of actor who fills the frame like George.c Scott and marlon brando.they're men and they have a presence I think Russell has that no question,i look at people like Russel and go"good fucking luck to you,mate"
P:He's a bit of a hell-raiser in his own right
G:I think it's the tall poppy syndrome;They put you up there and then they want you a punch in the fucking balls,he has the talent but he's a bloke and they get shocked just because he's wearing a tuxedo and at a function doesn't mean he's not a bloke when he has a few and gets a bit raunchy people are so surprised and you go"why would you be?he can ups
et a few people that's all right
P:What's about your old mate Tim Roth?
G:I don't really see Tim.People think we know each other or that we are close but I only run him once in a while we both live here but we don't see each other but I keep abreast of what's going on what people are doing
P:your careers in Britain followed quite similar paths didn't they?
G:in a way I sort of pushed the boat out for a lot of those people in LA for Tim and Ralph Fiennes I opened the door there.
P:What about your art collection?you probably haven't been able to collect much over the last couple of years
G:Well you start selling it rather than buying it[laughs]as I get older I realise it's all just stuff it comes and goes and I've been lucky enough to have enjoyed it.I've been through ups and downs in my career and I've started to realise it's not that important I owned a house a lovely house and I don't any more.But i'ts just bricks and mortar I'll own again or maybe I won't
P:It's refreshing to hear a star of your stature talking about money in that way
G:I'm a dad first and an actor second now.We all want to live comfortably and like money but there's only so much you can spend.
P:What' movie were you paid the most for?
G:Lost in Space,Airforce one and lost in space helped me realise Nil by mouth because I put in a considerable amount of my own money,lost in space paid for the post-production on nil by mouth.And if I've been indulgent anywhere it was there I sort of bought myself a big piece of moving art.(laughs)
P:Do you have a copy of your own movie on DVD at home?
G:[still laughing]no I don't!
P:Really?.so you couldn't play it at home?
G:No I couldn't put it on!i don't have posters or a photograph on the wall, I should probably be keeping this stuff for the kids.
P:They'll appreciate it one day
G:I could put it all away for the kids and just say"look this was what the old man was up to"
P:No picture of you shaking hands with Francis Ford Coppola on set?
G:No nothing like that,actually I do have a wonderful photograph of francis which is signed it's in a folder somewhere in a box in the garage.It's a special photo I mean I keep things but I don't put them out.I've picked up a few prizes over the years for acting and directing and they are all in the cupboard I don't know why I don't put them out.God forbid I should ever display my achievements!i've still got that thing in me,as a kid,of I don't show off
P:That's quite an English characteristic
G:A south London characteristic definitely it's obviously connected with some kind of survival instinct,i mean I'm lucky to have done what I've done and do and I'm proud of it.There's a some good work there and some not not so good work.That's really just a career I had a big hopes when I first started out.I wanted to be a good classical actor and I pursued that for a while and it was fun.But I never really wanted to make a big noise in the theatre I started to get into the movies instead.
P:you've never really gone out of your way to court Hollywood though have you?
G:well no I haven't I've burned a few bridges and hurt myself a bit I suppose.But I've never coveted that kind of stuff,it's a big ship to turn around.You can't do it on a dime,you must really want an oscar you must really want that stuff.I had a publicist for two weeks once,id ben working for 20 years and the spotlight was brievly on me with the contender,it was a political piece and a good movie that I produced,there was a moment where there was talk of me being nominated for best supporting actor.So my arm was betn against my better judgement and i said"okay i'll get a publicist" but i soon thought"i can't do this" i'ts not me i'm not enjoying this so "i may have sabotaged my chances"
P:It's incredible you've never even been nominated for an oscar!
G:I've had some good parts but I've never chased it.
And you do have to be hungry for it,there are exceptions to the rule but more often than not,it's something you have to engineed and work.You're not just good in a film and you get a nomination and that's just not me hey maybe I could have won an oscar or been nominated or have a lot more money now;I don't know but you have to be true to who you are..