Beloved ‘Harry Potter’ Star Calls His Performance “Mediocre”

Gary Oldman Mediocre Harry Potter performance
Credit: Warner Bros.

In 2001, Warner Bros. Pictures brought the Wizarding World to life with the release of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The film brought The Boy Who Lived — Harry Potter — onto the big screen just two years after the book first came out. In the ten years following, Harry Potter would become one of the most successful franchises of all time, netting just under $10 billion.

Harry Potter

Credit: Universal

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In 2004’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, viewers were introduced to Sirius Black — Harry’s godfather. Sirius was imprisoned for killing Harry’s parents, along with twelve Muggles (non-magic people), and a fellow wizard, Peter Pettigrew. However, Sirius managed to become the only person to escape from Azkaban. Thankfully, Harry learned the truth and was able to finally have a family member who loved him the way he deserved.

Sirius Black Harry Potter

Credit: Warner Bros.

The role of Sirius Black was played by iconic British actor, Gary Oldman. Oldman reprised his role in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007). Sadly, his character was killed off, and Harry lost another person he loved, in the fifth film.

It’s been more than 15 years since Oldman was a part of the Wizarding World, but when he looked back on the role, he was relatively critical of himself. In a recent interview on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Oldman called his performance “mediocre”.

“I think my work is mediocre in it. No, I do. Maybe if I had read the books like Alan [Rickman], if I had got ahead of the curve, if I had known what’s coming, I honestly think I would have played it differently.”

Harry Potter Sirius Black

Credit: Warner Bros.

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Of course, Oldman does not typically give himself praise when looking back on his work. He always has the drive to improve himself, and wants to be critical so he can get better.

“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 Batman Begins

Credit: Warner Bros.

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While he may think that he was only “mediocre” in Harry Potter, he has admitted that working on the films helped save him, both in his career and personal life. In an interview on The Drew Barrymore Show, Oldman said that jobs were drying up before he got the role. Shortly after he got the role of Sirius, he also got the role of Jim Gordon in the Batman franchise, starring Christian Bale as the caped crusader.

Sirius Black Harry Potter

Credit: Warner Bros.

Both of those roles skyrocketed Oldman into the spotlight and made him a fan favorite among younger fans who may not have seen previous work that he had done.

Since then, Oldman has appeared in a number of hit films, including The Darkest Hour (2017), The Hitman’s Bodyguard (2017), The Woman in the Window (2021), and Oppenheimer (2023). He even won the Oscar for his role as Winston Churchill in The Darkest Hour. 

Do you think Gary Oldman is being too hard on himself about his role as Sirius Black? Let us know in the comments!

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!