Every once in a while, a movie features a performance that is so special, so transformative, you know it’s going to be remembered for decades to come. That’s definitely the case with Gary Oldman‘s turn as Winston Churchill in director Joe Wright’s Darkest Hour. While Oldman has been known as a great actor for a very long time, his work in Darkest Hour is career-best and he absolutely delivers the title of “performance of the year.” I’ll be stunned if he doesn’t win the Oscar.
With the film now playing in limited release, I recently sat down with Joe Wright and Gary Oldman for an exclusive interview. They talked about the challenge of making a movie when so much of it is spent on indoor conversations, the four-week rehearsal process, how Oldman prepared to play Churchill, how long the first cut of the film was, and we even talked about the Los Angeles premiere guests like David Fincher and Roger Deakins.
If you aren’t familiar with Darkest Hour, the film chronicles the early days of Winston Churchill’s (Gary Oldman) reign as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, which involved deciding how to approach the encroaching Nazi threat. The film also stars Ben Mendelsohn, Kristin Scott Thomas, Lily James, Stephen Dillane, Ronald Pickup. For more on the film you can read Adam Chitwood’s review.
Check out what they had to say in the player above and below is exactly what we talked about and the official synopsis.
Joe Wright and Gary Oldman:
- We talk about the Los Angeles premiere and the guests that were attending the screening.
- Joe Wright talks about the challenge of making this movie when it’s a lot of people talking in rooms.
Gary Oldman on how he prepared to play Churchill. Talks about how he spent a year working on the performance.
- How they did 4 weeks of rehearsal which is quite unusual.
- How long was the first cut compared to the finished film?
- How much did Oldman take Churchill home with him from set or could he just easily go back to being himself?
Here’s the official synopsis for Darkest Hour:
A thrilling and inspiring true story begins on the eve of World War II as, within days of becoming Prime Minister of Great Britain, Winston Churchill (Academy Award nominee Gary Oldman) must face one of his most turbulent and defining trials: exploring a negotiated peace treaty with Nazi Germany, or standing firm to fight for the ideals, liberty and freedom of a nation. As the unstoppable Nazi forces roll across Western Europe and the threat of invasion is imminent, and with an unprepared public, a skeptical King, and his own party plotting against him, Churchill must withstand his darkest hour, rally a nation, and attempt to change the course of world history.