Ben Mendelsohn on ‘Darkest Hour’ and Gary Oldman’s Amazing Transformation

     December 8, 2017

Every once in a while, a movie features a performance that is so special, so transformative, you know it’s going to be remembered for decades to come. That’s definitely the case with Gary Oldman‘s turn as Winston Churchill in director Joe Wright’s Darkest Hour. While Oldman has been known as a great actor for a very long time, his work in Darkest Hour is career-best and he absolutely delivers the title of “performance of the year.” I’ll be stunned if he doesn’t win the Oscar.


Image via Focus Features

With the film now playing in limited release, I recently sat down with Ben Mendelsohn – who plays King George VI, a powerful ally in Churchill’s corner when things get tough – for an exclusive interview. He talked about how he got involved in the project, his reaction seeing Gary Oldman for the first time as Churchill, how even up close the makeup was amazing, the rumors he might be in Captain Marvel, and more.

If you aren’t familiar with Darkest Hour, the film chronicles the early days of Winston Churchill’s (Gary Oldman) reign as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, which involved deciding how to approach the encroaching Nazi threat. The film also stars Kristin Scott ThomasLily JamesStephen DillaneRonald Pickup. For more on the film you can read Adam Chitwood’s review.

Check out what he had to say in the player above and below is exactly what we talked about and the official synopsis.


Image via Focus Features

Ben Mendelsohn:

  • How did Joe Wright pitch him on being in the film?
  • How he really wanted to play a specific scene in the film and didn’t want anyone else doing it.
  • What was his reaction the first time he saw Gary Oldman in full makeup as Churchill? Talks about how you could be right next to him and not see the makeup.
  • I ask about the rumors he might be in Captain Marvel. You can see him try and avoid answering…

Here’s the official synopsis for Darkest Hour:

A thrilling and inspiring true story begins on the eve of World War II as, within days of becoming Prime Minister of Great Britain, Winston Churchill (Academy Award nominee Gary Oldman) must face one of his most turbulent and defining trials: exploring a negotiated peace treaty with Nazi Germany, or standing firm to fight for the ideals, liberty and freedom of a nation. As the unstoppable Nazi forces roll across Western Europe and the threat of invasion is imminent, and with an unprepared public, a skeptical King, and his own party plotting against him, Churchill must withstand his darkest hour, rally a nation, and attempt to change the course of world history.

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