Winston Churchill looks absolutely nothing like Gary Oldman. Churchill was portly, old, jowly and stooped while Oldman is upright, straight-backed, with not even a hint of jowls. When he was hired to play the iconic figure, Oldman must have been confused and even a little frightened. He must have wondered would he have to shed a little hair and become overweight by eating fatty foods? Well, lucky for him, Darkest Hour’s makers had something simpler in mind, makeup.
For those of you who have seen the movie, trailer or even images, you know how unlike himself he looks in the film. He really does look like Churchill, more than John Lithgow looked in The Crown even though he resembles Churchill a little in body, more than Oldman anyway. The transformation was almost magical, and the magician responsible is Kazuhiro Tsuji, a Japanese special effects make-up artist.
In a video released by the official Twitter handle of the film, there is the description of the whole process and it is nothing short of sorcery. The process is still time-consuming, uncomfortable (for Oldman, at least) and must cost a lot of resources. But they did it, and in style.
Gary Oldman’s transformation into Winston Churchill took 13 makeup tests, 48 consecutive shooting days, 200 hours in the makeup chair, and one incredible Oscar-nominated Hair & Makeup team. #DarkestHour pic.twitter.com/CIf6bgQYeH
— Darkest Hour (@DarkestHour) February 23, 2018
Oldman needs only the look of Churchill to become the late British Prime Minister. He already has the acting skills necessary to don the role; any role really, if you have followed his career. The result is eerily close to reality, as though Churchill himself had been exhumed from his grave and reanimated with some arcane art.