‘Harry Potter’ Star Wishes He Had Made Movies “Under Different Circumstances”

in Harry Potter, Movies

Harry Potter holding his wand for the first time

Credit: Warner Bros.

Harry Potter star Gary Oldman is backtracking on some of his previous controversial statements about the world’s most famous child wizard-related film franchise, now saying that he wishes he could have made the movies “under different circumstances.”

A healthy-looking Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) in 'Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix'
Credit: Warner Bros

Gary Oldman is one of the most commercially successful actors in history, with notable roles in franchises like Christopher Nolan‘s Dark Knight trilogy, Kung Fu Panda, and Planet of the Apes. He has also starred in numerous prestige dramas like JFK (2011), Darkest Hour (2017), Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011), as well as critically acclaimed arthouse fare like Sid and Nancy (1986) and Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (1990).

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Despite all that, he may be best known to an entire generation of movie fans as Sirius Black in the Harry Potter films. He played the character in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), Goblet of Fire (2005), Order of the Phoenix (2008) and Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011). Although initially introduced as a terrifying figure from the past, the character was revealed to be an avuncular figure to Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and almost immediately became a beloved icon of the series, along with fellow scary British actor/secret good guy Alan Rickman.

Severus Snape in Harry Potter
Credit: Warner Bros.

However, last year on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Gary Oldman told host Josh Horowitz that he did not much care for his Harry Potter performance and had not actually read the books before starring in the films.. He said, “I think my work is mediocre in it…No, I do. Maybe if I had read the books like Alan [Rickman, who portrayed Professor Severus Snape], if I had got ahead of the curve, if I had known what’s coming, I honestly think I would have played it differently.”

To be fair, this sounds like a consistent issue with Gary Goldman, who went on to say, “I’ll tell you what it is. It’s like anything, if I sat and watched myself in something and said, ‘My god, I’m amazing,’ that would be a very sad day, because you want to make the next thing better.”

Gary Oldman as Sirius Black
Credit: Warner Bros.

Now, Deadline reports that Gary Oldman wants to be clear that he is not running down the Harry Potter series itself, just his own perception of his performance. At the ongoing Cannes Film Festival, Oldman said he did not intend to “disparage anyone out there who are fans of Harry Potter and the films and the character who I think is much beloved.”

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He further explained, reinforcing his previous explanation about his general dissatisfaction with his own artistic work:

“What I meant by that is, as any artist or any actor or painter, you are always hypercritical of your own work. If you’re not, and you’re satisfied with what you’re doing, that would be death to me. If I watched a performance of myself and thought, ‘My God, I’m fantastic in this,’ that would be a sad day.”

Gary Oldman as Sirius Black in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Credit: Warner Bros

“There was such secrecy that was shrouded around the novels, they were under lock and key. And had I known from the very beginning, if I had read the five books and I had seen the arc of the character, I might have approached it differently. I may have looked at it differently and painted in a different color. So when I started Harry Potter, all I had was the book, The Prisoner of Azkaban, and that one representation of that man. One book in the library of Sirius Black. And that’s kind of what I meant by it. It’s not me looking at the movie and saying it’s a terrible film or I’m terrible, I just wish it had been under different circumstances. That’s what I meant, not to be rude to any of the people out there who like that film.”

Hopefully, any aggrieved Harry Potter fans can accept his explanation. At the very least, he’s definitely not doing the damage to the franchise’s public reputation that some other notable people are.

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