Gary Oldman 'surrounds' himself with assignments

Gary Oldman looked into everything from Winston Churchill's way of walking to his mannerisms for Darkest Hour.

Gary Oldman likes to completely surround himself with a role while preparing for a film.

The 59-year-old actor transformed himself physically and vocally to play former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in biopic Darkest Hour, which retraces the politician's steps during the early days of World War II.

While Oldman admitted he has a "relatively good ear" and can do a few impressions, he doesn't class himself as an impressionist.

"Impressionists have to paint with a very broad stroke because you've got to see it within a couple of seconds. You go, 'That's a really funny Robert De Niro.' As an actor, though, you look at different aspects of a character," he told musician Jack White as part of a discussion for Interview magazine. "I try to completely surround myself with the assignment. It's like being in a big cloud and then some of it rains through - for instance, looking at not only Churchill's way of walking and mannerisms and the way he sounds but also looking into the psychology."

It helped that Oldman is a big fan of Churchill, who first came to power in 1940 and served for five years before reigning again from 1951 to 1955. The actor praised his bond with the public and his "honest and very up-front" nature, quoting one famous line recited by the late leader.

"Churchill said in a speech, 'We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering,'" Oldman recalled. "He's not saying that there won't be enough bananas on the table; he's telling the people that this is going to be very ugly. And the people loved him for that. I heard a story once that at a gathering of former British prime ministers, the conversation came around to Churchill, and there was a Churchill scholar among the group. One of these prime ministers - I don't know who it was - said, 'Who wrote Churchill's speeches?' And the scholar said, 'Well, he did.'"

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