Gary Oldman had a lot of admiration for Winston Churchill before he played the revered British Prime Minister in "Darkest Hour," but the Golden Globe winner was even more "amazed" by the iconic politician after he started researching the role.
"There were things I thought I knew, but what amazed me is he had instigated the civilian convoy to go pick up the troops in Dunkirk, or save as many as he could in Dunkirk," Oldman told TooFab at the 7th Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts International Awards this past Friday. "It's a wonderful creative piece of statesmanship and real leadership to come up with an idea like that. 300,000 men were trapped, he got 280,000 back."
Coincidentally, the actor's former "Dark Knight" director Christopher Nolan came out with "Dunkirk" in 2017 as well. The World War II movie takes place during the military operation that took place in Dunkirk, France, and chronicles the miraculous escape Oldman is referencing. "Darkest Hour," on the other hand, focuses on Winston's political struggles at home as his country is threatened by Adolf Hitler's Nazi army. He famously urged his countrymen to fight the Germans against all odds.
Oldman told us there are plenty of other reasons to admire Churchill, too.
"He wrote 50 books. He wrote more works than Shakespeare and Dickens put together, outside of his policy making, his speeches and Parliament. That's a lot of words," Oldman said. "There are 800 books on it so my curiosity for Winston will continue. I read what I could. I studied what I could and I had about 10 months to kind of put him together, work on him. I had a long enough time, but I think my appreciation for him will continue after all of this fanfare."
Oldman said he felt a strong connection to his character because Churchill's actions were not "distant history" for him. The actor explained that his mother was in The Blitz -- a series of nighttime bombing raids Germany unleash on Britain 1940 -- and his father served in the Royal Navy.