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Gary Oldman smoked $20,000 worth of cigars while filming Darkest Hour

In order to play Winston Churchill in DARKEST HOUR, Gary Oldman underwent an incredible transformation which involved a fat suit, prosthetics, and hours upon hours of study, but one crucial piece of embodying Churchill wound up making the actor sick to his stomach: the constant smoking of cigars. In a THR feature detailing just how the Joe Wright film came about, it's mentioned that Gary Oldman smoked at least 400 of Churchill's beloved Romeo y Julieta Cubans, which, at $50 each, translates to $20,000. Yikes.

Although his commitment to the role will likely pay off throughout the awards season, Gary Oldman admits that he got "serious nicotine poisoning" over the course of the production. "You'd have a cigar that was three-quarters smoked and you'd light it up, and then over the course of a couple of takes, it would go down, and then the prop man would replenish me with a new cigar — we were doing that for 10 or 12 takes a scene," Oldman said. DARKEST HOUR director Joe Wright added that Oldman's nicotine poisoning was a neccessary sacrifice. "It's Winston Churchill," he said. "You can't have Winston Churchill without a cigar."

In regards to the less health-threatening aspect of Gary Oldman's performance, a great deal of care was taken in the development of the prosthetics. After recalling meeting famed prosthetics artist Kazuhiro Tsuji 15 years earlier, Oldman knew that Tsuji would be the man to transform him into Winston Churchill. One problem, Tsuji had retired from film several years before and it took some pleading from Oldman, who said that he wouldn't play the part if Tsuji couldn't do it, for him to sign on. The first attempts at the prosthetics weren't exactly successful, with Oldman joking that "It was like Gary Oldman and Winston Churchill had a love child, and it wasn't pretty." At the end of the day however, Kazuhiro Tsuji succeeded with an outfit which only weighed about 14 pounds, but it would still take close to 4 hours to get Gary Oldman into his body suit and face mask before each day, and 45 minutes to get him out at the end.

DARKEST HOUR is now playing in theaters, so be sure to check out a review from our own Chris Bumbray, who caught the film when it played at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Source: THR

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