Gary Oldman, who we so dearly recall as Sirius Black from the Harry Potter franchise, was part of yet another beloved franchise. Playing the role of Commissioner Jim Gordon in The Dark Knight trilogy, he blew us away with his brilliant acting skills, so much so that it’s difficult to imagine another actor playing the role.
However, director Christopher Nolan could very well imagine Gary Oldman playing a completely different character, instead. It looks like if things had gone the director’s way, Gary Oldman would have played the antagonist in the film. While that didn’t turn out to be the case, the actor might not have been a part of The Dark Knight trilogy at all if it wasn’t for Jim Gordon.
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Gary Oldman Stayed for Jim Gordon
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In an interview, Gary Oldman revealed that he never had a full-length discussion with Christopher Nolan about playing Jim Gordon in The Dark Knight trilogy. However, the two did discuss the potential of Oldman playing the villain in the movies. The Harry Potter actor stated that while everything sounded fantastic, he simply did not want to play a villain anymore. He was done with the antagonist roles.
“I never had a meeting with him about Jim Gordon. We had met for a cup of coffee at the 101 Cafe in Hollywood and he was talking about his reinterpretation of Batman and his life…So that was basically the pitch, he was saying, ‘I’m going to reinterpret it, I’m going to try and base it more in reality, there will be more explanations.’ Then they came in with a villain. And I was at that point where you say, ‘Oh I can’t do that anymore.’ I really felt I’d played all the notes that I could in terms of villains.”
That was not the end of the story, though. A little while later, Oldman took a look at the character of Jim Gordon and he was quite interested in Nolan’s take on it. He asked his manager about it and his manager took the idea to the director who seemed to be equally interested.
“I had a think and then I said to my manager, ‘What about Jim Gordon?’ And they proposed it to [Christopher Nolan] and, to his credit, he cast me. He went, ‘Oh that’s an interesting idea.’ And you really get thrown into the deep end. We had a conversation over the phone, we did the deal, the dates were ready for when I’d fly to England.”
Looks like it all worked out in the end for Oldman. He found the perfect role for himself in the franchise and the rest, as they say, is history!
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Gary Oldman Talks about Working with his Co-Stars
In the same interview, Oldman was asked what it was like working with Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, and Michael Caine. He stated that Hardy had to “bounce it around a bit.” As for Batman himself, Oldman had nothing but compliments on top of compliments. He stated that while Bale wasn’t a method actor, he was just right for the role. He complimented his vocal qualities as well.
“Yeah, he’s rather formidable and he’s rather scary in those scenes. In the flesh. It always struck me that it’s one of those costumes, it plays well on screen but in person it works, too. He’s not method but he gets there and when he’s Batman he keeps that vocal quality. He keeps it in that register.”
However, Oldman was truly awestruck by Caine’s performance. He recalled a scene in The Dark Knight Rises where Caine gets emotional. Oldman stated that it was difficult to watch his performance as it was the epitome of raw and brilliant acting. He remembered turning to Bale and stating, “that’s how it’s [frick]ing done.”
“There was one scene [in The Dark Knight Rises] where Michael, Michael Caine, had to get very emotional and it’s almost heart-breaking, it’s almost too painful to watch. And he came in, take one: Got it. Take two: Got it. Take three: Nailed it. I mean it was like watching a masterclass in acting. I said to Christian at the time, ‘That is how it’s [frick]ing done.’ Just seeing it. No messing.”
Oldman has nothing but good things to say about his co-actors and this just goes on to say how much he enjoyed his time on the sets along with them. The actor admitted that he was emotional about putting his character to rest after The Dark Knight Rises. Jim Gordon is now played by Jeffrey Wright in Matt Reeves’ Batman films.
The Dark Knight trilogy is available to stream on Netflix.