Veteran actor Gary Oldman might be the last person you’d expect to opine on politics and culture. He’s best known for his screen versatility, commanding respect in both blockbusters and indie fare.
Yet, when given a lengthy interview forum by Playboy, the star of the upcoming Dawn of the Planet of the Apes unloads on a number of Hollywood sacred cows.
Political correctness. Secretary of State John Kerry. Hillary Clinton. And, in a more subdued way, President Barack Obama.
The sprawling interview also finds Oldman praising conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer and cursing out former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. The latter is merely Oldman using a female politician as an example, but the way the liberal’s name rolls off his tongue is … intriguing.
He also calls himself a libertarian but hints that if he revealed his true thoughts in other political matters it might cost him in Hollywood.
“You have to be very careful what you say,” he tells Playboy when describing how the film 12 Years a Slave benefited from liberal guilt, before adding there’s nothing in his life story to suggest he is either a fascist or racist. Clearly, he knows how the industry works.
He also defends both Mel Gibson and Alec Baldwin for saying stupid things, something so many of us do but don’t get caught.
OLDMAN: Well, if I called Nancy Pelosi a cunt–and I’ll go one better, a fucking useless cunt–I can’t really say that. But Bill Maher and Jon Stewart can, and nobody’s going to stop them from working because of it. Bill Maher could call someone a fag and get away with it. He said to Seth MacFarlane this year, “I thought you were going to do the Oscars again. Instead they got a lesbian.” He can say something like that. Is that more or less offensive than Alec Baldwin saying to someone in the street, “You fag”? I don’t get it.
PLAYBOY: You see it as a double standard.
OLDMAN: It’s our culture now, absolutely.
The actor also correctly discards the notion that Maher is a libertarian (“he would fail that test,” he notes) and says conservatives in Hollywood conservatives “don’t have a podium.”
Here’s Oldman riffing on a question the interviewer likely expected would result in a different answer:
PLAYBOY: Fine. We’ll give you one. What would America look like under President Hillary Clinton?
OLDMAN: What can I say? I feel we need some real leadership, and it’s nowhere in sight. Look at what’s happening right now. John Kerry going off to China to talk about North Korea? What’s that going to do? The ludicrousness of it. What a waste of money. You’re going to go to the puppeteer and say, “Can you help me with the puppet?” As far as Hillary, I guess I feel like my character in The Contender, Shelly Runyon. He doesn’t want Joan Allen to become president; he just believes she isn’t the right person for the job. It’s nothing to do with the fact that she’s a woman, but he uses a bit of dirt on her to bring her down.
Oldman isn’t too keen on the world circa 2014. He’s aghast at reality television and can’t abide by the news streaming into his life. His take on political leadership doesn’t mention President Obama directly, but it seems he’s hardly a fan of the president’s version of Hope and Change.
OLDMAN: I think we’re up shit creek without a paddle or a compass.
PLAYBOY: How so?
OLDMAN: Culturally, politically, everywhere you look. I look at the world, I look at our leadership and I look at every aspect of our culture and wonder what will make it better. I have no idea. Any night of the week you only need to turn on one of these news channels and watch for half an hour. Read the newspaper. Go online. Our world has gone to hell.