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SYFY WIRE Harry Potter

What Gary Oldman Wishes He’d Known About Harry Potter Before Joining the Films

"If I had known what’s coming, I honestly think I would have played it differently,” Oldman said. 

By James Grebey
Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) smiles on the ground as a wand is pointed to his forehead in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004).

Sirius Black, the titular escaped prisoner of Azkaban, made a major impression on Harry Potter — not to mention on the countless Harry Potter fans who read the books and saw the movies (now streaming on Peacock). But Gary Oldman, who played Sirius in the films, doesn’t think that highly of his performance. In a recent interview, he explained that he wished he’d known what was going to happen later in the books so that his portrayal of Sirius could’ve reflected that advanced knowledge. 

Speaking to Josh Horowitz on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Oldman said that he’s most commonly recognized for playing Sirius Black, who made his debut in the third movie, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. “If they ask me to sign a picture, that’s the one that comes up the most,” he said. However, he’s a harsh judge of his own performance. 

“I think my work is mediocre in it,” he said.

RELATED: Gary Oldman Says Harry Potter Movies Made Him a Better Father

Oldman explained that he envied Alan Rickman, the late actor who played Severus Snape, as Rickman had the distinct honor of knowing how the book series was going to end before the final books had been released. Author J.K. Rowling told Rickman about Snape’s ultimate fate and allegiance, and that helped shape Rickman’s performance over the course of the eight Harry Potter films. Oldman had no such advance knowledge. 

“Maybe if I had read the books like Alan, if I had got ahead of the curve, if I had known what’s coming, I honestly think I would have played it differently,” he said. 

Although Oldman’s not too keen on his performance as Sirius, he does think that the character, who dies in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, was killed off too early. 

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 “I’m still upset about that,” Oldman said, before recounting how he and his fellow cast members read the script to Order of the Phoenix wondering which character wouldn’t survive only to find out that it was Sirius. 

“We were all taking bets, you know,” Oldman said. “‘It’s Hagrid,’ and I was there going, ‘No, no, no, maybe it’s Ron.’ And, then you kind of open the script and you go, it’s me. I’m out of here.”

Regardless of what Oldman thinks about his performance, you can rewatch it — and all the other Harry Potter movies — by streaming them on Peacock

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