Gary Oldman turned to medication after suffering stage fright before Tinker role

The actor still can't understand why his part as George Smiley in the acclaimed 2011 movie was so tough.

Gary Oldman had to turn to a doctor for help after suffering a panic just before shooting 2011's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

The role of George Smiley in the film landed the Brit a 2012 Oscar nomination, but Oldman admits he still has no idea why he was crippled with nerves weeks before filming began.

"Two or three weeks before we started, I froze and had bone-crushing stage fright," he explained during a recent The Hollywood Reporter Actor Roundtable panel. "I had never experienced it before, and I didn't know what was going on, whether it was anxiety or a panic attack..."

"I have worked with people in the theatre, who vomit every night...," he added. "Of course, we all (have nerves) at a first preview or a first night. But I was always a relatively relaxed performer. I looked forward to going out there and wasn't that sort of person who was terrified in the wings.

"I would look at these (nervous actors) and think, 'Oh, Lord, if I had to do that every night, I don't know how I would carry on'."

Oldman now believes the drama may have been prompted by the fact he was playing an iconic role, previously portrayed on TV by the great Sir Alec Guinness.

"For many people, Guinness was the face of Smiley," he noted.

The actor spoke to other great Brits, like Kenneth Branagh, and took comfort in the fact that his peers had also suffered unexplainable stage fright ahead of certain roles: "I realised I was not alone.

"A doctor prescribed me something just to calm me down. And you know what? I walked onto the set and went, 'Oh, I know where I am'."

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