Over a four-decades-plus career, Gary Oldman has played a breathtaking variety of characters, from Count Dracula to Sid Vicious, to Winston Churchill. Yet, in a new interview with USA Today, Oldman stated that he has never played a more difficult role than the lead in David Fincher's new movie Mank.
"[Playing the role was] just a joy [but] oddly enough, I found it the most challenging of any role that I've had... David said, 'I want you as absolutely as naked as you've ever been. There's no wig, there's no teeth, there's no forced noses. Just you.'...I do like the odd disguise to hide behind. But above and beyond that, you're playing a man who has such self-loathing."
Oldman's penchant for elaborate costuming is well known. Some of his most famous roles, from Dracula to Churchill, involved heavy amounts of makeup that almost completely obscured the actor beneath. Similarly, even in his less critically-acclaimed outings like Fifth Element, the actor's hair and makeup are so outlandish that it is difficult to believe the same guy played the dry and low-key role of Commissioner Gordon in Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy.
In Mank, Gary Oldman plays the role of Herman J. Mankiewicz, famed Hollywood screenwriter who had a big role to play in the creation of the iconic movie Citizen Kane. Mank chronicles the many trials and tribulations endured by Herman at the hands of Orson Welles and the Hollywood studio system at large during the making of Citizen Kane.
Despite his immense talent for snappy dialogue and expertise as a script doctor, Oldman described Herman J. Mankiewicz as "a very high-functioning alcoholic,", who managed to put his mark on many iconic movies, from Citizen Kane to 1939's The Wizard of Oz, but who ultimately could not reconcile his artistic side with the business of filmmaking.
"You've got this character who comes to Hollywood and he has such contempt and disdain for the quality of what was being put out. As an artist friend of mine used to say, it's 99% crap and then there's that 1% where excellence lives and that's what you're striving for. That became like an Everest for Mank. The peak got further and further away, and he realized he wasn't going to write that great play (or) novel, that he was in trouble with alcohol and gambling."
Early reviews for Mank have been highly positive, and critics are predicting another slew of Best Actor nominations for Oldman during next year's award season. So it seems while Mankiewicz was one of the toughest jobs of Oldman's career, the veteran actor has proven himself more than up to the challenge of crafting another memorable role to add to his impressive filmography.
Directed by David Fincher, Mank features a lead cast consisting of Gary Oldman, Tom Burke, Amanda Seyfried, Lily Collins, Tuppence Middleton, Arliss Howard, and Charles Dance. The film arrives in theaters on Friday, November 13, and is set to debut two weeks later on Netflix on Friday, December 4. This news comes from USA Today.