An Anxious Actor: Gary Oldman Interview and Reflections

Hello all, long time no see. No I have not forgotten about this little blog I have created, I just have needed inspiration and motivation, something that has been in short supply as of late due to the amount of work I have had. A few weeks ago, my school had an old student return to do a talk, that student just happens to be Gary Oldman and I was lucky enough to see his talk, which opened my eyes a little bit to the acting world.

The talk began with Gary (I guess we’re on a first name basis) talking about his life before Bruford. He told us how RADA told him to ‘look for another job’ after his rejection was pretty shocking to hear. He went on to talk about the content of his old course and how things have changed. After talking a lot on his process and the difference of film and theatre, he began talking on the topic of mental health regarding regret. He mentioned how he had declined roles where the actors had gone on to earn oscars for that role which led to overthinking. ‘What would have happened if I actually took the role? Would I have gotten that award?’. The topic was furthered when Gary began to speak about ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’.

Before the filming process, Gary had experienced severe anxiety due to the expectation weighted on him. He had made Alec Guinness into an almost ‘bogeyman’ and almost dropped out of the role of George Smiley, thinking they would see him as a ‘charlatan’. His anxiety got so bad he took Beta-Blockers to cope until the first day of filming where he realised his anxiety was for nothing. The first day went really well, and he went on to win the BAFTA for best actor. If that isn’t the best case of unwarranted anxiety I don’t know what to tell you.

I mentioned the interview as hearing from such a well renowned actor about his fears makes me rethink my own. Everyday I have a moment of self doubt and I’m sure many do, but from an Oscar award winning actor is something else. He is a normal person just like you or me, an ex student of my school who made it big through hard work and perseverance. From my voice teacher who was a year below him, Gary Oldman was always working which led to his success. It shows that if you love something enough, with enough dedication it will pay off no matter how much later as long as you carry on.

It may be true that in my case that I am one of the weaker performers of my course, it may be that I have a long way to go in performance, but I’m going to have to be dragged kicking and screaming from my course. Acting is what I love, and I’m not going to let my mental health destroy that for me. Not ever.

All the best,

Gabby

Only my fringe is visible in this photo, but still counts as PROOF!!

Author:

My name is Gabby McLean and I am currently studying European Theatre Arts at the Rose Bruford School of Performance. Throughout my life I have struggled with anxiety and depression which is something many of us actors have, but in making this blog I want to entertain and serve to people regardless of your mental illness you can follow your dreams.

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