Gary Oldman to play Winston Churchill in "Darkest Hour"

Deadline said:
Gary Oldman said that every role he has taken has had its challenges, but with his transformation as Winston Churchill it was “a hard one.” Oldman came on stage during the Focus Features’ rollout of its 2017 slate to promote Darkest Hour from director Joe Wright (Atonement). He revealed that he spent over 200 hours in the make-up chair to become Churchill and “carried around half my body weight” in the prosthetics to add the pounds to his slight frame.

Focus Features should be thrilled with the outcome as should Oldman’s reps at APA because the trailer for the movie that was shown to attendees was met with gasps of surprise that Oldman had so completely transformed to become former Prime Minister in the role. The clip featured Oldman in the role in full make-up and not only was he the spitting image of Churchill both in physical appearance, but also in the cadence and tone of speech.

The movie takes place over the first five weeks of Churchill’s time as Prime Minister when Hitler began his invasion. “We see how very, very close we came to Nazi tyranny,” said Oldman. “Had it not been for Winston, our world might be very different. That, in itself, to come in and play those things is a wonderful gift for an actor.”

“They’re all challenging in their own way but Winston was kind of a hard one,” said Oldman. “It’s a lot to wrap your arms around. Not only the physical, but he is arguably the greatest Brit who ever lived … a kind of iconic figure. It was daunting but once I started to find out who the man was, it was … well, I never enjoyed anything so much in my life … I couldn’t wait to get to work and be him.”

The Hollywood Reporter said:
At a lunch for Focus Features at CinemaCon on Wednesday, Gary Oldman took the stage to introduce Joe Wright’s Darkest Hour. He told the audience that he spent hundreds of hours in the makeup chair, and in the footage the audience was shown, he's unrecognizable, taking on the shape and voice of the iconic Winston Churchill.

"Once I started to find out who the man was, I never enjoyed something so much in my life," said Oldman of playing Churchill in the film. The story takes place over five weeks in 1915, the first weeks of Churchill's time as Prime Minister. In the trailer, he's seen giving the "victory at all costs" speech.

"I know you're going to hate when I say this, but that has Oscar written all over it," the event's host told Oldman.
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Bad news for John Hurt fans:

John Hurt Will Not Actually Appear in 'Darkest Hour,' Gary Oldman Reveals

When screen great John Hurt died in January at the age of 77, it was widely reported that one of his final film roles would be as Neville Chamberlain in Darkest Hour, the upcoming Winston Churchill biopic starring a nearly unrecognizable Gary Oldman in the lead role.

Oldman, however, recently revealed to Yahoo Movies that Hurt will not in fact appear in the November release directed by Joe Wright (Atonement).

“He wasn’t in it,” Oldman told us. “Sadly, John never made it to the read-through. He was going through some treatment.”

The English performer Hurt, best known for his work in A Man for All Seasons, The Elephant Man, and Alien, announced he was battling pancreatic cancer in June 2015. He died at his home in Cromer, Norfolk, three days after his 77nd birthday.

Oldman said British character actor Ronald Pickup (Prince of Persia, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) took over the role of Chamberlain in Hurt’s place. (Focus Features, the company behind the movie, confirmed the news.)

According to IMDb, Hurt has three other films that have either been completed or are in post-production: a lead role as a terminally ill screenwriter in That Good Night, and supporting parts in the thriller Damascus Cover , which stars Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and Olivia Thirlby, and a biopic of British boxer Lenny McLean, My Name is Lenny.

Oldman and Hurt had previously collaborated on 2011’s espionage film Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. (They both also appear in the franchise finale Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.)

“I adored John, and I had worked with him before, and was just thrilled to do it again with him, especially with Churchill and Chamberlain,” Oldman told us. “But he was sick. He was too sick.”
Certainly if anyone can make a solid fist at this role,Oldman is someone who has such range and talent.

Coupled with that pic of the make-up it looks so promising.

Also indeed sad to not see John Hurt one more last time on screen.
Albert Finney and Brendan Gleeson were good Churchills.
Image quality isn't great, but here's a leaked photo from Cannes:

Another WWII epic about Britain and not the US? Awesome, Europe is on a roll.
Should make for a good double feature with Dunkirk.
Trailer tomorrow.

Gotta say, I got goosebumps at the end when he did the infamous "we shall fight..." speech. I think Joe Wright is a wonderful Director and I really hope this is a return to form after the awful, awful Pan movie.
^Ditto about the goosebumps.

Interesting that this movie appears to be at least partially about the Dunkirk rescue. Watching Nolan's film ought to provide those scenes more poignancy than they would have otherwise had.
Have to say the makeup is pretty impressive for the most part. A bit static during the "Don't interrupt me" scene, but otherwise I didn't find it distracting at all, which is a huge relief. Looks flat-out great during the "Never surrender" speech.
The excellent part in that trailer was without doubt Oldman's transformation into Churchill. I have seen and heard enough materials on the real Churchill and Oldman seems to be amazingly close to the real thing.
You're doing the Lord's work, Kane. :up:
This looks terrific. Oldman going for that oscar nod. :up:

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