Monday, March 21, 2011

Happy Birthday, Gary!

Today is a special day, so it calls for a special blog - a tribute to my favorite actor, Gary Oldman, whose birthday is today.  He was born March 21st, 1948, and is 53 years young today!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GARY!

I first became aware of Gary over 17 years ago, when I watched Dracula for the first time, and I fell in love!

Since then I've been catching up on his prior body of work, and keeping up as well as I can with the new ones. He was born in England,  and one of his older sisters is an actress - Laila Morse. She played Mo in a series there called Eastenders. He was married first to Leslie Manville, they have a son named Alfie, who's a teenager now. Then came the illfated marriage to Uma Thurman, which was childless, followed by an equally ill-fated union with Donya Fiorentino (sister of Linda Fiorentinto of MIB fame) which produced two sons - Gulliver and Charlie. That ended in divorce and was followed by his fourth marriage to Alexandra Edenborough.

 Everybody know Fifth Element? I love this movie for many reasons, not the least of which is Gary. Considering it was written by a teen-aged Luc Besson, it's an interesting film, and besides Gary, we have Bruce Willis, Ian Holm and Milla Jovovich. It has some resemblance to Bladerunner, but not in any bad way, particularly the scenes with the police cars, and the Chinese floating restaurant. Guys appreciate it no doubt for Milla Jovovich's scanty outfit. For the other nerds out there, the song that the Plava Laguna sings at her concert is from an actual opera, Lucia di Lammermoor, and if you look on You Tube, there is a great rendition of it by a singer named Vitas.

Another really good Gary film is The Professional, which saw the debut of a very young Natalie Portman, and also features Jean Reno in the title role (it's also known as Leon). Gary plays Norman Stansfield, a fucked-up pillpopping member of the DEA. Natalie is Matilda, who has a rather fucked-up family. When her father tries to burn Stansfield in a drug deal, he kills them. Luckily, Matilda isn't home. When she returns, she takes refuse with the hit man next door, Leon. Great film, even my kids like it, which says a lot.

I also happen to be fond of The Contender, in which Gary plays Sheldon Runyon, state rep from Illinois. There is a need to choose a new vice president, and one of the top contenders is Laine Hanson, played by Joan Allen. She isn't Shelley's choice, and he feels she's all wrong. A smear campaign ensues, when dirty pictures turn up from her college days, pictures she won't answer the question to - is it her or not. She feels that if she were a man, no one would ask. The president is played by Jeff Bridges, and Christian Slater is the junior member of Congress who is learning his way around, and shares a steak sandwich with the President in one scene.  If you look closely, you'll see Gary's manager Doug Urbanski in one scene.  There was controvsery over this film, which Rod Lurie scripted, in which Gary said that the script was changed to make Shelley out to be the heavy when he isn't.  I can see his point.

Gary is never afraid to look less than handsome for a role, as evidenced by his stint in the film Hannibal as deformed wealthy pervert Mason Verger.Not pretty, is he?  Mason got that way because of Hannibal Lecter, but it's hard to feel sorry for him when you realize he's a pedophile (and if you read the book, he molested his sister Margot, whose character is missing from the movie). This is the last of the Hannibal films, chronologically speaking, although Hannibal Rising was made after it, and is pretty good. Gaspad Ulliel got Anthony's Hannibal spot on. I'm sorry but Brian Cox just doesn't cut it once I saw Anthony in the role.

In two recent films, Gary's had a recurring role - that of Lieutenant, now Commissioner, James Gordon. The third film and last film comes out next year, I think. They say there will be no more, I'm not convinced of that, so we'll have to see.

Here's a pic from his new film, Red Riding Hood. I can't afford to see it yet, alas. It looks interesting. I try to watch everything he's in. I can't honestly say every film is good, but the ones that aren't are not because of him. I don't recommend The Unborn, and if you watch the Scarlet Letter, be prepared to find some changes, not for the better. The Book of Eli is good, though, I enjoyed that.

And of course the role that is probably closest to my heart. Sirius Black. My first non celebrity rp role. My first celebrity role was Gary, of course.  I've loved Sirius ever since I met him in the books, and finding out that Gary was to play him was but the icing on the cake. Most of my fanfiction is of the Remus/Sirius variety, and I only have two which acknowledge his death. I cried over the fifth book, and then I cried over the sixth and refused to have anything to do with the seventh. I haven't seen any of the movies past OOTP and don't intend to. I think what she did to Remus was a travesty, but I won't get on my soapbox and bore you.

There are lots more films, of course. Prick Up your Years (which I reference in For Love of Max), Tiptoes, I Think the World of You, State of Grace, Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (wonderful comedy featuring the characters from Hamlet), Criminal Law(a really interesting film, with Kevin Bacon), Murder in the First, Air Force One (with Harrison Ford), Basquiat, Immortal Beloved (he played Beethoven), Romeo is Bleeding (a film noir about a dirty cop) and more.

He is and always will be my favorite actor.



  1. I was about to question why no mention of Air Force One but then I saw it in the little paragraph at the end. :) LOL That was the first movie I saw him in, not that I realized it was him.

  2. If I posted pictures from all his films, this would have been a lot longer lol

    The first thing I actually saw him in was Criminal Law, but I didn't know who he was then. I just knew I couldn't stop staring at him lol