Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Teaser Trailer
The Farewell To Middle-earth Issue
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe: Get 12 Issues For £25
Buy the perfect Christmas present this year
Farewell To Middle-earth
Full details of our Peter Jackson-edited issue
Interview

RELATED INTERVIEWS
Christopher Nolan
On Batman's Beginnings
The Boys Behind The Batmobile
We talk to the guys behind the wheel of 2005's coolest movie car.
Chris Nolan
Batman Begins interview
Christian Bale
Batman Begins Interview
Hans Zimmer
Batman Begins Interview
Hans Zimmer On Scoring Batman
The composer on his three-film odyssey...
More Interviews

RELATED REVIEWS
Batman Begins
Empire Star Rating
Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (2014)
Empire Star Rating
Paranoia (2014)
Empire Star Rating
Robocop (2014)
Empire Star Rating
Lawless (2012)
Empire Star Rating
More new cinemas releases
DVD & Blu-ray releases

Christopher Nolan: The Movies. The Memories.
Part 4: Gary Oldman on Batman Begins

submit to reddit

Six astonishing films. Six key collaborators. Six exclusive essays. An intimate insight into an enigmatic genius. When talking about Batman Begins, we turned to Gary Oldman to give us some insight on the man behind Batman, who was more than happy to oblige, sharing with his us his thoughts on Nolan’s unique creative vision.

  • Part 1: Jeremy Theobald on Following
  • Part 2: Wally Pfister on Memento
  • Part 3: Robin Williams on Insomnia
  • Part 4: Gary Oldman on Batman Begins
  • Part 5: Hugh Jackman on The Prestige
  • Part 6: Jonathan Nolan on The Dark Knight
  • Christopher Nolan: The Movies. The Memories.


    "Christopher Nolan had the imagination to cast me as a good guy. I don’t know if he always saw me as Lieutenant Gordon — I don’t know what was in his mind when we met, other than he wanted me to be involved in Batman Begins. Of course, over the years I’ve played several villains: I’ve done the bad-boy bit. But maybe when we met for a coffee he saw something else. I’m very family-orientated, I’m very loyal. I don’t have a big circle of friends, but the ones I’ve got I’ve had for years.

    "I consider myself a good friend: discreet, loyal. I can’t bear injustice. I’m big on truth. I try to live my life as honestly as I can. And Gordon is not just a good man, he’s the best man: he’s incorruptible — the moral compass of this world, really. He goes through the movies like an arrow: straight.

    "It’s fun to play. Challenging. I do get my share of exposition! You have to make plot character, which is easier said than done. But it’s a mindset that you, the actor, have to have going in: “Alright, it’s plot, I’m going to surrender to it... Just relax into it.” Maybe that’s age — as you do it longer you calm down. I think as a younger actor I would have said, “Fuckin’ ’ell, I’ve got all this fuckin’ plot. I can’t say this!” But I like the discipline of Gordon. Sometimes you’re in movies where you’re surviving. You’re getting no help from the director and so you rely on your schtick. I call it ‘nesting’: you go to what you’re comfortable with. But I can’t do any of that with Gordon. The part won’t allow me to do that. It has fixed parameters: a framework, as everyone else is whirling around me. You do scenes with Christian and, in The Dark Knight, Heath — God bless him — and the way I describe it is, I’m the vase and they’re the flowers. You’re looking at the flowers but they have to stand up in something. That’s how I see Gordon.

    "Chris’ ideas were really exciting, and what you see on screen is exactly how he described it when we met — he managed to convey the spirit, the atmosphere. When we were shooting I was commuting between Los Angeles and London. Every opportunity I had I would get home to see the kids, so I think over six months I did 27 round-trips. And you could set a watch by his schedule. That is impressive. It really is. That was a unique experience: to work with someone who was that well prepped and planned and just knew the target, where he was going. It was very thought-out and methodical, but not dry or intellectual — within that structure it was very creative. I respect that and respond to it.

    "He’s just got such a vision, and he’s a nice guy, to boot: warm and funny. There’s a good atmosphere on set, very calm, relaxed. He doesn’t feel he has to justify the fact that he’s the director of this big movie. And a great director knows when not to say something. And Chris will not give you direction for direction’s sake, for the sake of opening his mouth and listening to his own voice. He lets you have the space to find things in the scene, and if he needs to tweak something he will simply step in and give you a note: “It’s very good, it just needs more urgency...” He just nudges you: “It’s very good, but just turn the volume up a little...” And he knows what he’s getting. There are some people who don’t know what they want, but he knows what he’s looking at and if he likes what you’re doing, he will say, “That was great. If you want another take have another, but I’ve got it!” And he may not have said anything to you other than, “Good morning!” when you arrived on set. But if you need help in a scene, he knows the world and can articulate it; he’s that director as well, if you want him to be. He’s just trusting. He trusts you are going to do your homework. That’s a nice feeling.

    When I saw the finished film, I was knocked out by it... I was on a ride with it.
    "When I saw the finished film, I was knocked out by it. Sometimes it’s hard to be objective, but I was on the ride with it. You have this world — of a vigilante who dresses up as a bat! — and he did an amazing job of grounding it. In other movies like this you’re rolling your eyes at stupid people doing stupid things. Here, you’re watching it going, “Oh, that’s how he gets the Batcar!” He’s just a wonderful filmmaker.

    "I can’t wait to see Inception — I’m excited for it and for him — and I’m sure he will do a third Batman. When people say, “Oh, Chris doesn’t know if he’s going to make a third one,” I always think, “He’s negotiating.” He would be a very, very good poker player. I don’t know, maybe he loses his rag once in a while, but I’ve never seen him do it. I’ve seen a lot of directors scream and shout and lose their tempers. But Chris? I’ve never seen him raise his voice to anyone.

    "Still, great directors know what they want, want what they want and get what they want. That’s what they all share. It’s kind of a dictatorship, but it’s a benign dictatorship.

    “He gets the job done.”

    This article first appeared in issue 253 of Empire Magazine. Subscribe today.

    SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS

    SAVE UP TO 69% GET 12 ISSUES FOR ONLY £25
    Get the best seat in the house by subscribing to the world's biggest movie magazine today. Save up to 69% and every month you'll get exclusive subscriber-only covers, access to the biggest stars and the best news, reviews and behind-the-scenes reports straight from the set. Click here to find the perfect offer for you


    CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
    Empire's Three Favourite Scenes Of 2014
    A hat-trick of moneyshots from the last 12 months

    The 32 Funniest Movie Moments Of The Year
    2014's side-splittingest scenes

    The 10 Best Games Of The Year
    2014's top pixel-pushers duke it out for the number one slot

    Dan Stevens: The Breakout Star Of 2014
    We congratulate The Guest star on his year to remember

    The 15 Most Memorable Character Deaths Of The Year
    2014’s RIP honour roll

    Watch: Night At The Museum's Cast Share Their Favourite Robin Williams Performance
    Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Ben Kingsley pay tribute to the actor

    Watch: Jack O'Connell And Luke Treadaway Talk Unbroken
    On POWs, panto and how to name your bomber

    Subscribe to Empire magazine
    Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Only £25!

    Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

    Subscribe today

    Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
    Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

    Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

    Subscribe today
    Buy single issues

    Get 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
    Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month Subscribe today!
    Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
    Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
    The Empire iPad Edition
    With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
    Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
    © Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
    Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)