Gary Oldman's strong Churchill look

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 1 September 2017
Gary Oldman

Gary Oldman

Gary Oldman had to tone down his transformation into Winston Churchill for 'Darkest Hour' because he no longer looked anything like himself

Gary Oldman looked too much like Winston Churchill during his 'Darkest Hour' preparations.

The 59-year-old actor spent a long period of time working with a make-up designer and prosthetic designer Kazhuro Tsuji to transform him into the late UK Prime Minister, and admitted they ended up having to tone down his look because the likeness was "spooky" and he was no longer recognisable as himself.

He said: "There was blood, toil, tears and sweat, just to get me to look a little bit like Churchill.

"There was one look that was even more like Churchill than Churchill -- but it was spooky, and there had to be a little bit of me to come through. The idea is to give an essence of the man.

"I wasn't to be a man with a rubber face."

After Gary, director Joe Wright and the rest of the team working on the wartime saga were happy with his look, the actor worked with costume designer Jacqueline Durran on his wardrobe and even used Churchill's tailor and shirt-maker for the outfits.

Speaking to the Daily Mail newspaper columnist Baz Bamigboye, Gary said: "It's about capturing a flavour, a sense. My girlfriend said: 'I go to bed with Winston Churchill, but I wake up with Gary.' "

The film is set during World War II and explains why Dunkirk happened, but the director felt it was very important to show the politician as a "human being" rather than just his "iconic" leadership.

Wright explained: "We know Churchill the icon. But I wanted the human being, with all his flaws and doubts. It's important to see that out of doubt comes great strength; and out of despair can come hope. Churchill was vulnerable as well as powerful. That's what I wanted to come across."

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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