'Darkest Hour' Sees Gary Oldman Transform Into Winston Churchill

Gary Oldman's forthcoming film, Darkest Hour, has been hailed as a triumph. However, if you didn't know who was buried underneath all the cosmetics, you'd struggle to believe it was the JFK star.

The film, which is due for release in December in the United Kingdom (November in the United States), follows the early days of Winston Churchill's prime ministership, as Adolf Hitler closes in on Britain in World War II. Watch the trailer below:

Credit: Working Title Films

The performance from Oldman has been singled out for particular praise, with many tipping him as an early front runner for the Academy Award for Best Actor.

And on that score, the film may well find itself up against Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk, also set during WWII, which was released earlier this year.

But that physical transformation took 200 hours in the make-up department to create the look.

Oldman had to sit in the chair, without fidgeting or heading out for any toilet breaks, for hours at a time while artists applied the necessary features.

The actor has admitted that he carried 'around half my body weight' in prosthetics, and labelled the process 'a hard one' - but, by the looks of things, it was worth it.

Credit: Working Title Films

Oldman said his first instinct was not to play the role. He told Vanity Fair: "But we have a mortgage, we want to keep the lights on, and we're actors and that's what we do when we work.

"And occasionally, something will come along like Darkest Hour, and the prospect of doing it is really scary. And those [films] are the ones that are worthwhile."

The Harry Potter actor, 59, then spoke about the trials and tribulations of being Churchill - particularly in terms of the former premier's weight. "I can't put 60 pounds on at my age... I can't mess with my health like that," Oldman explained.

Kazuhiro Tsuji constructed the make-up for Oldman, 'the only man on the planet' who could make it work.

Credit: Working Title Films

"I needed to see looking back at me, in the mirror, to get the chutzpah to get up there and do him justice," Oldman continued.

"I located a historian, Churchill expert, Larry Arnn, and he guided me to very specific things to read. And you slowly start to build the character."

He tried to ignore previous actors who had played Churchill, to avoid certain perceptions of who the great man really was. Instead, Oldman worked from archive footage.

Oldman explained: "Joe [Wright, the director] never saw me as Gary for three months... the kick I got was some of the extras, who came in, was their reaction.

"It was nice being PM for a while."

Oldman will be hoping to win his first Oscar, having being nominated for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy in 2012.

Featured Image Credit: PA / Working Title

Michael Minay

Mike Minay is a trending journalist at LADbible. He’s co-ordinated interviews with some of the big names from the world of news and sport including ITV’s Robert Peston, Sky Sports’ Jeff Stelling and darts champion Michael van Gerwen. His reporting days began on University radio in Birmingham, before moving to BBC Sport Online – creating content for large events such as Wimbledon and the FA Cup final. Mike still commentates on Football League matches at the weekend. A Manchester LAD at heart.

Next Up

arrow-down arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up camera clock close comment cursor email facebook-messenger facebook Instagram link new-window phone play share snapchat submit twitter vine whatsapp logoInline safari-pinned-tab Created by potrace 1.11, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2013