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Gary Oldman discusses retirement plans after saying Slow Horses could be his last role

Gary Oldman discusses retirement plans after saying Slow Horses could be his last role

The veteran actor spoke about retirement, what makes a successful series, and eating eighteen bowls of noodles

If any actor can claim a huge range of parts, it's Gary Oldman.

His career has seen the star playing in gothic horror in Dracula, and disappearing into roles including in True Romance and Darkest Hour, the latter of which earned him an Academy Award for Best Actor.

Now, Oldman has said that he will ‘work less’ after hinting that his role as flatulent spy Jackson Lamb in Apple TV+ series Slow Horses could be his last.

Speaking in 2022, the star said that he would be 'very happy and honored and privileged to go out as Jackson Lamb and then hang it up'.

The veteran actor, who has been starring in movies and television for some 40 years, has said that he has other things to interest him.

Oldman’s latest role sees him transforming into Jackson Lamb, the foul-mouthed, kebab-munching officer in charge of ‘Slough House’ in Apple TV+ series Slow Horses.

Based on the books by Mick Herron and adapted for screen by Will Smith of The Thick of It and Veep, Slow Horses follows the unfortunate MI5 employees consigned to Slough House.

For the uninitiated, if you’re in Slough House you’ve either messed up big time or annoyed the wrong person.

The series makes a marked departure from the usual glamour and glitz associated with spy thrillers. Gone are the expensive watches of James Bond and the fridge full of champagne of Killing Eve, replaced by Oldman’s Lamb taking time out from spy business to order a large kebab.

No, make it two small ones, actually, with the sauce that means you can’t taste the meat.

Gary Oldman previously said he would be 'priveleged' to go out as Jackson Lamb.
Joe Maher/Getty Images

The literal greasiness is matched by that of the dysfunctional group of alcoholics, gambling addicts, and screw-ups who populate Slough House, including Jack Lowden’s disgraced agent River Cartwright.

All the same, early on some concerns were raised about how well the premise of Slow Horses could be sustained over multiple seasons.

Now in its third season and more popular than ever, such concerns were clearly misplaced.

Oldman puts the series’ success down to the quality of the source material.

“I think the books get better”, he told UNILAD. “From the first book with these characters, he [Herron] is more familiar with them. I do think the writing gets better. Also, we’re more comfortable in the characters.

“More importantly, we have one director that directs all six [episodes]. It's rather like someone coming in and directing a feature film, only this happens to be six hours rather than two hours. So there is a continuity, there's a flow and consistency in the vision.”

The cast of Slow Horses.
Joe Maher/Getty Images

He added: “It's quintessentially British, isn't it?”

Having an actor of Oldman’s pedigree in the lead role probably doesn’t hurt, either.

With both Slow Horses and a recent role in blockbuster Oppenheimer, Oldman has made it clear that he won’t be throwing in the towel entirely just yet.

He told UNILAD: “I work less. And I have other interests, things that interest me that I have, not neglected, but one’s very busy with a career.

“I'm older now and I have other things I'm interested in outside of acting. But I pop up, you know? I'll keep going with Lamb, I've got Oppenheimer.”

Oldman revealed he didn’t cut corners when it came to Lamb’s seemingly insatiable appetite, especially in one scene involving the spy munching on a bowl of noodles.

Oldman said: “Poor Jack [Lowden] had to sit and watch me eat eighteen bowls of noodles. We shot that scene for a good two and a half hours.”

He continued: “The thing about a scene like that, what really irks me, is when I see people where they pour a cup of tea, but they don't really pour a cup of tea.

“You'll see that a lot of the time people are playing with their food when they do an eating scene.

“Jackson Lamb is a pig, he’s an eater, so you can't fake it. You can't nibble at it, he had to devour that bowl of noodles.”

As for co-star and noodle-witness Jack Lowden, the actor saw his odds for the most coveted spy role of all halved by Coral to 6/1 just before the latest series of Slow Horses was released.

For his part, Lowden suggested that James Bond could take a different direction following the departure of Daniel Craig from the role.

Jack Lowden has seen his odds of being the next Bond halved.
Carlo Paloni/BAFTA via Getty Images

He told UNILAD: “I still really am not over the fact that Daniel Craig doesn't do it anymore.

“I think an older James Bond would be fantastic. That's where Jackson Lamb is maybe going to start a new breed of spies.

“It should either still be Daniel Craig, or maybe we should go the way of more Jackson Lamb.”

Swapping signature martinis and tailored tuxedos for supermarket own-brand whisky and sweaty, chilli-sauce-stained shirts does feel like an uncomfortably accurate metaphor of Britain in 2023.

And there's no denying that it's a vision of Britain which Slow Horses continues to do an excellent job of capturing.

Season Three of Slow Horses premiered on Apple TV+ on November 29. New episodes are released weekly until December 27.

Featured Image Credit: Dominik Bindl / Contributor/Apple TV+

Topics: Apple, Celebrity, Film and TV