A number of actors have played the role of Winston Churchill, the former prime minister of Britain, including Timothy Spall in The King’s Speech, Brian Cox in Churchill and John Lithgow on TV’s The Crown.
Now it’s Gary Oldman’s turn. And Oldman, like most of the actors before him, is unrecognisable as he takes on the role.
Darkest Hour is set during Britain’s most turbulent times, specifically May 1940, when Nazi forces are marching across Western Europe and the threat of invasion looks imminent. Churchill has just been appointed as the prime minister then.
While it’s true audiences know the outcome of this, and what the British and even Churchill did in the face of this adversity, director Joe Wright (Atonement) gives an insight on how Churchill overcomes a sceptical King, and his own party plotting against him, to rally a nation.
There is already Oscar buzz for Oldman’s performance. The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw wrote: “Gary Oldman is terrific as Churchill, conveying the babyishness of his oddly unlined face in repose, the slyness and manipulative good humour, and a weird deadness when he is overtaken with depression.” Kristin Scott Thomas and Lily James co-star.