Gary Oldman is making headlines for his incendiary comments in a recent Playboy interview, in which the “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” star rails against political correctness, defends Mel Gibson’s now-notorious rant during his 2006 arrest, and makes a profane comment about the pope.
Though the famously candid actor goes further than he has in previous interviews, it’s not the first time the 56-year-old Brit has raised eyebrows with provocative comments. With his movie set to come out on July 11 — we’ll see how much of a shadow this casts over the release of “Apes," in which he plays the leader of the human resistance — here are a few previous examples of Oldman’s button pushing.
“The Contender”: Back in 2000, Oldman feuded with DreamWorks SKG over the final cut of “The Contender,” Rod Lurie’s political drama starring Joan Allen as a righteous Democratic vice presidential nominee and Oldman as a serpentine Republican congressman seeking to derail her. In an interview with Premiere magazine at the time, Oldman complained that liberal-leaning studio executives pushed for a cut of the movie that portrayed his character as a one-dimensional villain rather than a complex, nuanced character. (DreamWorks denied doing so.)
Venting to Premiere, Oldman said he was surprised that “more people have not been murdered in the entertainment industry.” Of DreamWorks, he said, “I am a little disappointed that you have a company that waves the flag for artists and champions filmmakers such as Woody Allen, and it can’t honor something that actually doesn’t cost them anything.”
The GQ interview: In a long-delayed GQ interview that was reported and written in fall 2009 and finally published in February 2012, Oldman talked about being branded “a Hollywood conservative” in the wake of the “Contender” row.
“I felt terrible that they were saying those things about me,” he said. “ ‘Crazy, scary Gary’ — now I’m ‘Crazy, scary, fascist Gary.’ ”
Asked to describe his political beliefs, Oldman cheekily replied, “I’m slightly left of Genghis Khan.”
He then clarified, “I’m with some things on the left, and I’m with some things on the right,” and pointed out that he’s British: “I can’t vote.”
The Kardashians: While stumping for the sci-fi reboot “RoboCop” this year, Oldman decried what he views as an Internet-and reality-TV-fueled cultural decline.
“It’s strange that we’re connecting more, but not,” Oldman told the Independent. “And it’s spawned a whole generation of bullies and everybody’s a critic; things they would never say to your face; people hide behind it. I just feel it’s all going to […], like when you look at reality TV which is the museum of social decay.”
Oldman added that his “dog has more dignity than [the Kardashians]. Really. You look at the manners of people, there’s no grace anymore, there’s no respect. The way they talk about people is shocking. I don’t know where we’re heading.”
The money: At one point in the Playboy interview, Oldman says of acting, “It’s just a job, really. You have financial responsibilities, you have children, you have all those things all the regular people have.”
He expressed the same sentiment a bit more pithily at the “RoboCop” premiere in London. Asked why he came aboard the movie, he replied, “Money!”
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