We all know and love Gary Oldman as the ever-charming Jim Gordon from the Christopher Nolan Batman Trilogy. What we didn’t know, however, is that things could have turned out much differently for everybody’s favorite Oscar-winning actor. Nobody would stand to argue against Gary Oldman’s qualifications to play a villain. Especially considering what helped launch him into his vast stardom of today: the infamous role of Count Dracula in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. But almost equally as terrifying as the king vampire himself, is the role he chose to follow up. That ended up being the character of Norman Stansfield, the intensely fear-inducing antagonist of Leon the Professional.
Gary Oldman as a Batman Villain?
It’s very clear that Gary Oldman is no stranger to playing twisted villains in blockbuster films. As one might have suspect, it’s no surprise that legendary director Christopher Nolan pinned him to play one of the many terrifying villians in his Batman Trilogy. According to Oldman himself in an interview with Happy, Sad, Confused, he believes Nolan had originally planned on him playing Scarecrow.
While this role ended up going to the fantastic Cillian Murphy, it’s hard not to wonder what it would have been like to see Gary Oldman under the mask of everybody’s favorite fear-mongering poison gas wielder. Oldman credits his agent for his role change, claiming he convinced Nolan to abandon his idea of having him play a villain and to have him instead pick up the mantle as Batman’s number one ally: Police Commissioner Jim Gordon.
Scarecrow Instead of Police Commissioner
For those true fans of Gary Oldman, they should be happy with his agent’s clever thinking in proposing Oldman for the role of the good commissioner. While it may have been exciting to see Oldman as a villain, he, more likely than not, would have been relegated to a minor character. While there is no doubt that Scarecrow has an engaging screen presence, his effect on the film is limited by his little time onscreen. While he plays a more significant role as a villain in the first film, he spends most of his time merely as a plot device to show off Batman’s intellectual and physical prowess in the subsequent films.
While watching Oldman get bested by the Caped Crusader movie after movie could have proved for some entertainment, imagining Nolan’s Batman Trilogy with anybody other than Oldman playing Jim Gordon is like imagining a different movie. It is to Christopher Nolan’s credit that he wrote some of the most epic last lines in any film ever, with the famous Dark Knight ending monologue. However, the power of Jim Gordon’s last monologue was the result of Gary Oldman’s powerful delivery.