Gary Oldman was incredibly open and candid with the Los Angeles Times about his crippling alcohol addiction. He can look back now, 24 years later with clear eyes.
Gary Oldman's Alcohol Addiction
The Darkest Hour star was treasured in Hollywood, creating incredible characters of such a wide variety. Unfortunately, he was a "functioning alcoholic" for 20 years of his time on-screen.
The Mank star told the Los Angeles Times, "When I was drinking, I was working and I was remembering lines, so you feel you're getting away with it, though, deep down, beneath the denial, you know."
"People romanticize it, and even I romanticized it. All my heroes were drinkers or opium addicts, and you get all misty-eyed about these poets and playwrights and actors who were big drinkers. That great line, Dorothy Parker: 'I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.'"
"I think it may have been Brendan Behan who said, 'I'm an alcoholic with a writing problem.' Now that's witty. Great lines. But you can't separate the two. Scott Fitzgerald said, 'You take the first drink, and the drink takes you.'"
"I used to sweat vodka. It becomes such a part of you. My tongue would be black in the morning. I blamed it on the shampoo. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy, to be in the grip of it. It's hell. And that self-effacing humor? That's just there to mask the inadequacy."
Finally, after 2 attempts at rehab, Gary took a long hard look at himself and stayed sober. Now 24-years later, he has been drink free.
Oldman was quite inspired by his longtime friend the late David Bowie. He explained he even owes some of his sobriety strength to the "Space Oddity" singer, "Having been in recovery, one of the most profound lines is 'planet Earth is blue, and there's nothing I can do.' That is it right there for me. There's nothing I can do. That's the thing where you sometimes drink because you need something habitually."
"You've got to clear the fog. And finally, you go, 'There's nothing I can do about that. No matter what I feel, a drink's not going to do it.' Such a wonderful, simple line. David was a poet. Not a day goes by when I don't miss him."
Gary stars in the latest David Fincher hit Mank as Citizen Kane screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz. The role is raking in well-earned praise for Oldman. Mank is available to stream now on Netflix. Check out the trailer here: