Gary Oldman's lengthy transformation into Churchill

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 30 March 2017
Gary Oldman

Gary Oldman

Gary Oldman spent a staggering 200 hours in make-up and carried around "half his body weight" in prosthetics to be transformed into Sir Winston Churchill for his role in 'Darkest Hour'

Gary Oldman spent a staggering 200 hours in make-up to be transformed into Sir Winston Churchill.

The 59-year-old actor underwent a stunning transformation to play the iconic late former Prime Minister in 'Darkest Hour', and as well as lengthy sessions having his appearance transformed with cosmetics, he revealed he also "carried around half my body weight" in prosthetics in order to add the pounds to his slender frame, Deadline reports.

Gary admits the role was one of the hardest and most "daunting" he has ever taken on, but it was also the most enjoyable.

He said: "They're all challenging in their own way but Winston was kind of a hard one.

"It's a lot to wrap your arms around. Not only the physical, but he is arguably the greatest Brit who ever lived ... a kind of iconic figure. It was daunting but once I started to find out who the man was, it was ... well, I never enjoyed anything so much in my life ... I couldn't wait to get to work and be him."

The movie is set in the first five weeks of Churchill's time as Prime Minister, when Adolf Hitler began his invasion, and Gary admits it was a "wonderful gift" to take on such a hugely important moment in history.

He said: "We see how very, very close we came to Nazi tyranny.

"Had it not been for Winston, our world might be very different. That, in itself, to come in and play those things is a wonderful gift for an actor."

Churchill was under enormous pressure to make a deal with Adolf Hitler after taking office but three weeks after becoming Prime Minister he assembled a British fleet of more than 800 boats to save over 335,000 soldiers who had been cut off by the German army at Dunkirk on the French coast.

His memorable speech to Parliament afterwards included the words: "We shall fight on beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender."

Darkest Hour

  • 4 stars
  • 2017
  • UK
  • 1h 54min
  • Directed by: Joe Wright
  • Cast: Gary Oldman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Ben Mendlesohn, Ronald Pickup
  • UK release: 12 January 2018

May 1940: the situation in Europe is worsening, and Britain needs a new prime minister. The latest in a very long line of recent Churchill performances is by far the best: Oldman is virtually unrecognisable and attacks the part with relish, with Scott Thomas excellent as his wife Clemmie. It may veer into hero worship but…

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