Gary Oldman Reveals His Biggest Mistake in Harry Potter Films

Gary Oldman Reveals His Biggest Mistake in Harry Potter Films
Image credit: Warner Bros.

The actor thinks his performance was pretty underwhelming and wishes he had read the books first.


  • Gary Oldman 's portrayal of Sirius Black in the Harry Potter films left a lasting impression on fans
  • Still, the actor considers it mediocre and thinks he could have done much better
  • Being critical of his own performances is normal for Gary Oldman, who is never really satisfied with his work

Gary Oldman has definitely earned the title of one of the greatest actors of modern times, starring in an impressive number of iconic films over the years and playing countless very different characters.

However, despite being a world-class actor, Oldman can be quite critical of his own performances, even those that are unanimously praised by audiences.

Many fans of the Harry Potter movies absolutely loved his portrayal of Sirius Black, even if not all of them realized at first that it was actually Oldman, as the actor's performance was so great that he was completely unrecognizable in the role.

But it seems that despite all the praise, Oldman is quite humble about his appearance in the iconic franchise, and believes that he could have done much better.

Oldman Regrets Not Reading Harry Potter Books

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Not long ago, during his appearance on The Drew Barrymore Show, the actor revealed that the opportunity to portray Harry Potter's godfather, along with the role of Jim Gordon in Batman Begins, saved his then-dimming career.

Because they were relatively small roles, they required much less effort from the actor, allowing Oldman to both appear on sets and devote enough time to raising his children, which was crucial for him after he gained custody of them following his 2001 divorce.

Now, while speaking on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Oldman has revealed that he considers his portrayal of Sirius to be fairly mediocre, as unlike his co-star Alan Rickman, who portrayed Severus Snape, he wasn't even familiar with the source material.

The actor is sure that had he read the books and known the full story in advance, he would have delivered a very different take on the character.

Gary Oldman Is Never Fully Satisfied With His Performances

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Being self-conscious about his acting abilities is a normal thing for Gary Oldman, as he believes that the day he would be completely satisfied with the work he has done would be "very sad," as it would kill any motivation to strive for something greater.

It's common for him to hear praise for roles he considers absolutely terrible, which can sometimes come as quite a surprise to the actor, as he can't even imagine why people love some of his performances so much.

However, Oldman believes it's just a matter of perspective, as fans can't see the tiny details that only he knows about, so it doesn't ruin their impression of his acting.

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Fans find his revelation that he has not read the books quite surprising, as they believe his performance is just as great and faithful to the original as Alan Rickman's.

Many of his lines from the Harry Potter films, such as "Twelve Years in Azkaban," have achieved cult status over the years and are endlessly quoted by fans to this day, which perfectly sums up how much of an impact he had on the franchise.

They also point out that even if Gary Oldman considers this level of acting "mediocre," he can still give a lot of movie stars a run for their money, which just serves as another reminder of what a truly outstanding professional he is.

Thankfully, the actor doesn't seem to be retiring anytime soon, with his most recent big screen appearance being in 2023's Oppenheimer, so we'll definitely be getting more great performances from him in the years to come.

Did you love Gary Oldman's portrayal of Sirius Black?

Sources: Happy Sad Confused, The Drew Barrymore Show, Reddit