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People in Film | Gary Oldman
Posted October 24, 2011 to photo album "People in Film | Gary Oldman"
From playing Sex Pistol Sid Vicious to master spy George Smiley, Gary Oldman has created characters so realistic that even if they are not based on real people, we believe they are.
Gary Oldman | A Childhood of Ambitions
Gary Oldman in 1987's “Serious Money”
Born in 1958 to a working-class family in a sketchy part of London, Oldman worked hard to pull himself out of his past. Although in doing so, he never lost touch with the trauma and tenderness with which he grew up. Oldman told Salon that “growing up in a particular neighborhood, growing up in a working-class family, not having much money, all of those things fire you and can give you an edge, can give you an anger.” Originally drawn to music –– both the Beatles and Chopin (via Liberace) –– Oldman changed his career trajectory drastically in 1970 after going to the movies one afternoon. He told Venice Magazine, “I saw Malcolm McDowell in a movie called THE RAGING MOON and that was it. It was like a moment of clarity. 'This is it.' That was lightning bolt.” Despite having left school with little work experience, Oldman was determined to pursue acting. Eventually, he secured a scholarship to Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama in Kent, where he graduated in 1979. Soon he was taking parts in plays across London, from Puss (the cat) to playing alongside Glenda Jackson (who was starring as Eva Braun) in the 1982 production of “Summit Conference.” After taking the lead in a restaging of Joe Orton’s “The Entertaining Mr. Sloane,” Oldman became someone to watch on the British stage. And he used his notoriety to convince the Royal Court Theatre to put on Edward Bond’s controversial play “The Pope’s Wedding,” an event that not only got him the British Theatre Association's Drama Magazine Award as Best Actor of 1985, but also brought him to the attention of director Alex Cox, who was looking to cast his next feature, a film about the punk band The Sex Pistols.