“That would be death to me”: Gary Oldman Defends His ‘Upsetting’ Harry Potter Comment About Beloved Sirius Black That He Feels Wasn’t Disparaging at All

Gary Oldman clarified his previous remarks about his Harry Potter performance.

Gary Oldman in Harry Potter


  • Gary Oldman has said that his previous comments regarding the Harry Potter franchise were not meant to hurt or disrespect anyone.
  • The actor has previously described his performance in the franchise as "mediocre," arguing that he could have done better.
  • Oldman has clarified that he just wanted to express that he might have approached the character differently.
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Hollywood star Gary Oldman recently reflected on his previous remarks about his performance in the Harry Potter franchise. The actor played the role of Sirius Black, the titular character’s godfather, starting with the 2004 film The Prisoner of Azkaban. Despite earning critical acclaim, he called his own performance in the franchise “mediocre,” arguing that it could have been much better if he had read J.K. Rowling’s original book series.

Gary Oldman
Gary Oldman as Sirius Black in the Harry Potter films | Credit: Warner Bros.

During a recent press conference at Cannes for his new film Parthenope, Oldman clarified his statements about his performance in the beloved franchise, as he said that he did not mean to offend anyone with his remarks.

Gary Oldman Clarified His Remarks About His Harry Potter Character

Speaking at a Cannes press conference, Gary Oldman was asked about his statement about his performance as Sirius Black in the Harry Potter franchise. He shared that his comments were not meant to hurt or disrespect the franchise or its fans.

Gary Oldman and Daniel Radcliffe in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) | Credit: IMDb

“Not to disparage anyone out there who are fans of the Harry Potter films and the character who I think is much beloved,” he said while explaining that his remarks were nothing but an artist being “hypercritical” of their own work.

“What I meant by that is I think as an artist, actor, painter, you are always hypercritical of your own work,” he said, as per Variety. Oldman suggested that feeling completely satisfied and lacking self-criticism would be detrimental to an artist’s development and symbolize stagnation.

Gary Oldman as Sirius Black
Gary Oldman as Sirius Black | Credit: Warner Bros.

If you’re not, and you’re satisfied with what you’re doing, that would be death to me. If I watched a performance of myself and thought, ‘My God, I’m fantastic in this,’ that would be a sad day.

He shared that he did not mean to criticize the franchise or his performance, but rather wanted to express that he might have approached the character differently if he had access to more books from the series and was aware of Sirius Black’s arc.


What Did Gary Oldman Say About the Harry Potter Film Series?

In an appearance on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Gary Oldman shared his candid thoughts on his performance in J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world adaptations. “I think my work is mediocre in it,” he said as he explained,

No, I do. Maybe if I had read the books like Alan [Rickman], if I had got ahead of the curve, if I had known what’s coming, I honestly think I would have played it differently.

Gary Oldman speaking at the 2014 WonderCon
Gary Oldman | Credit: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

He echoed similar sentiments, as he said that feeling satisfied with his work would imply a lack of motivation, as he always desires to be better, and that the feeling of self-satisfaction would hinder progress.

Despite his recent remarks, Oldman has credited the fantasy adventure franchise along with Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy for saving his career. “Thank God for ‘Harry Potter.’ I tell you, the two — ‘Batman’ and ‘Harry Potter’ — really, they saved me,” he said in an appearance on The Drew Barrymore Show.


The Harry Potter franchise is available to stream on Max.


Written by Laxmi Rajput

Articles Published: 2362

Laxmi Rajput is a writer at Fandomwire. She finished her Post Graduation in Broadcast Journalism and worked as a Business News writer for a year. But her interest in entertainment and pop culture compelled her to find a way towards Entertainment Journalism. She has worked across various fields and has 2 years of experience in content writing. She likes reading, music, movies, and traveling. She aspires to become a fiction writer in the future.