Gary Oldman has a hit with his Apple TV+ series, “Slow Horses.” But in promotion for the show’s second season, which premieres on December 2, Oldman hinted the spy series may be one of the final roles of his acting career.
Vanity Fair reports (via the Times Of London) that Oldman is mulling retirement as he heads into his mid-sixties. “I’ve had an enviable career, but careers wane, and I do have other things that interest me outside of acting,” said the actor. “When you’re young, you think you’re going to get ’round to doing all of them—read that book—then the years go by.” To call Oldman’s career enviable is an understatement. Highlights for Oldman over the years include “Bram Stoker’s Dracula,” Jim Gordon in Christopher Nolan‘s “The Dark Knight” trilogy, “Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead,” and many, many others.
But for Oldman, the decision is all about age. ““I’m 65 next year, 70 is around the corner,” Oldman continued. “I don’t want to be active when I’m 80. I’d be very happy and honored and privileged to go out as Jackson Lamb [his character in “Slow Horses”]—and then hang it up.” And Jackson Lamb isn’t a bad character to go out on for the actor. Based on the “Slough Horse” mystery novels by Mick Herron, “Slow Horses” stars Oldman as the head of the worst British intelligence office imaginable. The show also stars the likes of Jack Lowden, Kristen Scott Thomas, and guest appearances by Jonathan Pryce, Sophie Okonedo, and Saskia Reeves. So, yeah, “Slow Horses” is no slouch when it comes to premiere TV.
Oldman started his professional acting career onstage at the York Royal Theatre in 1979. Eventually, he transitioned to the West End, landing the lead part in “The Pope’s Wedding” in 1984. His performances drew monumental acclaim from theater critics, which opened the door to TV appearances, like Mike Leigh‘s telefilm “Meantime” with Tim Roth, his future “Rosencrantz & Guildenstern” co-star. In film, Oldman’s major breakthrough came in his role as The Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious in Alex Cox‘s 1986 “Sid & Nancy.” The year after that, Oldman starred in Stephen Frear‘s biopic about gay playwright Joe Orton, “Prick Up Your Ears,” and the actor soon became one of the UK’s most sought-after film stars.
But it took until 2012 for Oldman to nab his first Best Actor nomination at the Academy Award for “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.” Then it took another six years for him to win Best Actor, which he did for his role as Winston Churchill in Joe Wright‘s “The Darkest Hour.” Along the way, Oldman made his feature directorial debut in 1997 with the family drama “Nil By Mouth” with Ray Winstone, starred as Sirius Black in the “Harry Potter” movies, starred in the Luc Besson films “Léon: The Professional” and “The Fifth Element,” and played Lee Harvey Oswald in Oliver Stone‘s “JFK.”
If “Slow Horses” really is the end for Oldman, then fans of the film may rest assured that Apple renewed the show for a third and fourth season earlier this year. But it’s still bittersweet to see a generational talent like Oldman consider retirement. He’s blessed moviegoers with exceptional performances over the years, and he’s a modern great, if not an all-timer. So, enjoy his turn in “Slow Horses” while it lasts (and hope that he considers at least a couple of other roles beyond “Oppenheimer” before he shuffles off-set for the final time).