Sid and Nancy. Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Sirius Black in the Harry Potter series. Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy.
These are but a handful of the most famous performances in Oscar-winner Gary Oldman’s brilliant career. After decades of quirky, acclaimed roles, Oldman finally received long-overdue recognition from the Academy with his role in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, but it was is iconic turn as Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour that brought him Best Actor in 2018. Accentuated by Kazuhiro Tsuji’s Oscar-winning prosthetics, Oldman’s Churchill emerged as the kind of role that marched unstoppably through awards season.
However, his latest turn as Herman J. Mankiewicz in David Fincher’s Mank is one for the ages.
From the screenplay by Fincher late father Jack, Oldman’s Mank is a complicated portrait of a complicated man. He’s a hopeless alcoholic, a bruised ego, a vessel of acerbic wit, and ultimately a man of surprising depth and honor. Watching Mank, we’re witnessing a man willing to betray a deep friendship in an act of vengeance, Hollywood style. But this is not a take on classic characters as seen through the prism of modern cinema. As with the film itself, Oldman’s Mankiewicz is rendered in the black and white tones of a 1930s-era performance, a perfectly calibrated 1930s-era performance.
It’s a high wire act that only the greatest actors would dare attempt.
“I felt that Jack [Fincher] had captured an essence, a real spirit, in ‘Mank.’ Remarkably so,” Oldman explained. “A great of my work was in the text and done for me. It did not require contemporary acting. David wanted it to have a patina, a veneer of the old way of acting.”
Here, Oldman talks to Awards Daily about the complexities in capturing the essence of Herman Mankiewicz without filmed footage or extensive detail typically uncovered during initial research. He also talks about Fincher’s preference that Oldman avoid burying his performance in prosthetics, making the actor initially feel “naked,” as Oldman reveals.
Finally, Oldman dives into the creative process behind filming his 8-minute monologue during the famed circus party sequence. It’s a monologue that, according to Oldman, he performed nearly 100 times.
So, sit back and enjoy this podcast interview with Mank’s Gary Oldman and watch for more podcast interviews from Awards Daily as we head into the heat of awards season.
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