It should have been simple. It’s only a couple of weeks away from the release of “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” why not have its human star, the franchise-ubiquitous Gary Oldman, sit down for an interview with Playboy? There’s no way that could go wrong, right? While 20th Century Fox and Oldman’s publicist do damage control, let’s run down some of the other non-Mel Gibson-defending things Oldman revealed in the very candid talk with the famous lad mag. (And okay, the Mel Gibson stuff too).
The celebrated character actor was honest right from the get-go, essentially taking the piss out of many of his more famous roles: his breakout role in “Sid & Nancy?” Oldman doesn’t “think [he] played Sid Vicious very well.” Luc Besson’s “The Fifth Element?” “Oh no. I can’t bear it.” And what of the two roles that have kept him in the public consciousness over the past decade, Commission Gordon and Sirius Black? “It was work.” What about his larger body of work, does he feel proud of what he’s accomplished? Said Oldman, bluntly, “Most of my work I would just stomp into the ground and start over again.”
Though he may not be as fond of his work as we are, like us, Oldman loves the stuff being done in television, saying “I’m a huge fan of long-form TV. ‘Mad Men.’ I loved ‘True Detective;’ Matthew McConaughey gets better and better. ‘Boardwalk Empire,’ ‘The Americans,’ ‘House of Cards’ – oh God, I loved it. It makes me want to create a show and sit back and get all that mailbox money.” While he’s more enamored with the work done on the small screen than the tentpole material that Hollywood keeps churning out – and that he, himself, has been a part of – Oldman still has things he wants to do on the big screen, telling the magazine “There are directors I would still want to work with – Wes Anderson Paul Thomas Anderson. I’ve never worked with Todd Haynes. I love John Sayles. I’ve never worked with [Martin] Scorsese.”
And then, of course, came the reason – well, one of the reasons, see his rant on satire – why you’ve no doubt seen links to (and articles about) this interview all over the internet yesterday evening and this morning. During a (justified) rant about the state of film financing and the difficulty of raising money for non-genre and adult fare, Oldman gets lost and starts talking about and defending both Mel Gibson and Alec Baldwin, which, of course, leads him deeper into exposing Hollywood hypocrisy, as he sees it.
"I don’t know about Mel. He got drunk and said a few things, but we’ve all said those things. We’re all fucking hypocrites. That’s what I think about it," Oldman said. "The policeman who arrested him has never used the word nigger or that fucking Jew? I’m being brutally honest here. It’s the hypocrisy of it that drives me crazy. Or maybe I should strike that and say 'the N word' and 'the F word,' though there are two F words now."
"Alec calling someone an F-A-G in the street while he’s pissed off coming out of his building because they won’t leave him alone. I don’t blame him. So they persecute. Mel Gibson is in a town that’s run by Jews and he said the wrong thing because he’s actually bitten the hand that I guess has fed him—and doesn’t need to feed him anymore because he’s got enough dough. He’s like an outcast, a leper, you know? But some Jewish guy in his office somewhere hasn’t turned and said, 'That fucking kraut' or 'Fuck those Germans,' whatever it is? We all hide and try to be so politically correct," Oldman continued. "That’s what gets me. It’s just the sheer hypocrisy of everyone, that we all stand on this thing going, 'Isn’t that shocking?' We all hide and try to be so politically correct. That’s what gets me. It’s just the sheer hypocrisy of everyone, that we all stand on this thing going, ‘Isn’t that shocking?’”
Outrageous rants about being able to call House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi a very bad word aside, the non-cinema portions of this Playboy interview simply confirm the deeply conservative image Oldman showed in the GQ profile from a couple of years ago where he told his interviewer that “his wife felt there may be negative consequences if his political views were painted in a certain way.” Maybe Oldman should have heeded her advice. Read the entire interview – seriously, it’s worth the time – over at Playboy, but maybe don’t visit the site at work.