A/V Room









Batman Begins - Gary Oldman interview

Compiled by: Jack Foley

Q: Was it refreshing not to be cast as the villain but as the good guy in Batman Begins?
But you see, I have played more good guys than I have played villains. I was waiting for this question, for people to say what’s it like to play a good guy for once? And of course, what’s it like to drive the Batmobile?
I think initially when Chris met me.... and one could guess what part he was thinking of for me... he was maybe thinking of me for the bad guy. But that was very early on. Having met me, I think he maybe got an idea that I would be good for Jim Gordon. I’ve never done anything quite like this. So it was new but I wouldn’t say that it was a stretch. But it was an experience that was different.

Q: Throughout the film Gordon is the family guy and very normal. Maybe audiences will be waiting for a twist?
For me to blow things up or something? Rather like Batman, I embody the themes of the movie which are the values of family, courage and compassion and a sense of right and wrong, good and bad and justice. When I saw the film I thought that not only does it work as an action movie, but it is unusual because it works on another kind of level.

Q: What in your view is peculiar about Christopher Nolan’s style as a director?
He wears that suit every day. He’s still wearing it! [laughs] I thought he seemed to know what he wanted. That was the thing. He seemed to know what film he was making. He knew what he wanted to make, so he was very confident, very calm.
He is also one of those directors who know when NOT to say something. He doesn’t mend things that aren’t broken. You come up, you do it and he says I like that, let’s do it like that.
He doesn’t feel that he has got to come in and do something. I liked that about him. He left you alone. I think during the whole shoot he had one note for me... when he said it is a little more urgent than that.

Q: So is it considered unusual for a director to know what he is making?
How many movies do you see when you can say this director really knew what film he wanted to make? I can count them on the fingers of one hand. It is rare when you are sitting in the presence of a film maker and you say they knew exactly what they were

Q: Did you ever dream of being a super hero when you were a child?
I used to like Batman when I was a kid. I was about five years old and my mum had a 1960s belt - remember those wide belts - and I stuck packets of cigarettes to it and painted it yellow and that was my utility belt. And I had a sheet from crepe paper and a mask and that was it.
Now my kids are doing the same thing. I had the sense not to jump off the roof.

Q: Your most recent films, Batman Begins and the two Harry Potter adventures, are films aimed at the younger audience. Is that just coincidence?
People have an idea that one is in control of a career, a lot more than you really are. You can engineer things to an extent. But you are at the mercy of what comes in across the desk.
People imagine that actors are being offered everything and you are not. So things come in and sometimes there are things that I want and can’t get a meeting on, or go to a different actors.
So Harry Potter came in and it is nice that I have kids of the right age. I took them to London and they walked around the set and met Harry Potter and that is thrilling.
They have also seen Batman but they don’t call him Batman they call him Christian Bale. When they see him now they say... 'It’s Christian Bale’.
That’s because they met him as Batman and were terrified because he came up as Batman and said ‘Hi kids’ in the Batman voice. And they were very impressed But they said who is that? When I said it was Christian Bale they said oh yeah. So now they only call him that.

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