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The Dark Knight Actor Gary Oldman Couldn’t be in $868M Star Wars Movie as George Lucas Allegedly Wanted Him to “Work illegally overseas”

The Dark Knight Actor Gary Oldman Couldn't be in $868M Star Wars Movie as George Lucas Allegedly Wanted Him to "Work illegally overseas"

Before he became known to fans as Gotham City’s police commissioner, James Gordon, Gary Oldman turned down a role in a Star Wars movie. Oldman was initially set to play a role in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, which was released just a month before Batman Begins in 2005. The Darkest Hour actor was cast in the voice role of the cyborg Star Wars villain, General Grievous.

Gary Oldman
Gary Oldman

Star Wars fans still remember the nefarious villain who collected lightsabers from the fallen Jedi. The role eventually went to Matthew Wood, who was the supervising sound editor on the film. There are conflicting stories as to why the Harry Potter actor didn’t end up in the role.

Also Read: “I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy”: Harry Potter Star Gary Oldman Claimed He Sweated Vodka – 6 Hollywood Legends Who Fought Alcohol Addiction Like Champions

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George Lucas Allegedly Wanted Gary Oldman To Work Illegally For The Film

General Grievous
General Grievous in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith

In a statement released by Gary Oldman’s management company, the actor had to let go of the role because the film was being made as a non-SAG (Screen Actors Guild) production. Oldman’s spokesperson explained that taking the role would have meant violating the rules of the Union, especially Global Rule One. This is the rule that protected Oldman’s SAG contract provisions wherever he worked globally. The statement said (via The Guardian):

“Gary was excited and looking forward to working on the film. The snag is that the movie is being made without members of the Screen Actors Guild. It means Gary would have been working illegally overseas. Out of respect and solidarity with the other members, he could not and would not consider violating the rules of his union.”

Earlier, George Lucas renounced his membership in both the Director’s Guild of America (DGA) and the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA). The decision was due to his insistence on keeping the famous opening crawl and end credits in The Empire Strikes Back. Lucas paid a fine to the DGA for the movie but still quit from both organizations.

The Lucasfilm founder reportedly wanted Steven Spielberg to direct both Return of the Jedi and the prequel trilogy films, but the E.T. director, being a Union member, couldn’t join the projects. However, there’s another side to the Slow Horses actor’s story about his General Grievous role.

Also Read: “All my heroes were drinkers”: Idolizing Gary Oldman Came at a Heavy Cost for Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter Star Fell Into Same Vicious Cycle of Addiction Before Going Sober

General Grievous Voice Actor Shared A Different Story On Gary Oldman’s Role

Gary Oldman as James Gordon
Gary Oldman as James Gordon in Batman Begins which was released a month before Revenge of the Sith

In an interview with Josh Horowitz of the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Gary Oldman confirmed that he did voice some parts for the role of General Grievous but had to eventually drop out. The Léon: The Professional actor shared that he was not going to be the “poster boy” for breaking Union rules but still admired the works of George Lucas.

However, Matthew Wood, who later played the role in the film, disputed Oldman’s “Union” story when he attended Celebration III in Indianapolis. Wood revealed that Oldman recorded an audition as a favor to his friend and the producer of the film, Rick McCallum, but he was not selected. Wood slid his audition tape with the other actors and was eventually selected for the role.

Oldman’s version of events cannot be entirely dismissed, as his decision was applauded by the SAG union at the time. A Union representative stated that it was a strong statement coming from one of the leading artists in the industry. What’s certain is that Oldman had the opportunity to star in three major franchises in the same year, as he was already part of Batman Begins and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, both released in 2005.

Also Read: “My kids are American”: Despite Being British, Gary Oldman Took “English Lessons” For $150M Movie Which Got Him An Academy Award

Fans can enjoy the entire Star Wars franchise, which is now available for streaming on Disney+.

Source: The Guardian

Written by Hashim Asraff

Hashim writes about movies and celebrities at FandomWire. A Masters degree holder in Sociology, crime investigation thrillers really get him going. He's devoured 15 seasons of Criminal Minds and another 12 seasons of Bones. And the list of shows goes on. Oh, and don't even get him started on the MCU movies and Friends.