Gary Oldman opens up about history of alcoholism: 'I used to sweat vodka'

Gary Oldman
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  • Gary Oldman told the LA Times that he "used to sweat vodka" when he was an alcoholic.

  • Oldman struggled with alcoholism in the 1990s, but has now been sober for 24 years.

  • Oldman said his struggle helped him to play alcoholic screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz in "Mank."

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Gary Oldman has opened up about his history of alcoholism, saying that he "used to sweat vodka" and that he wouldn't wish being in the throes of the addiction on his worst enemy.

Oldman was speaking to the LA Times about playing "Citizen Kane" screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz in "Mank," who also struggled with alcoholism.

"When I was drinking, I was working and I was remembering lines, so you feel you're getting away with it, though, deep down, beneath the denial, you know," Oldman said. "I would sit down and tell the waiter, 'I'll have a large vodka tonic. And can you bring it now because I'm an alcoholic. I need it quicker.'"

Oldman's alcoholism reached breaking point during the 1990s, culminating in an arrest for drunk driving in 1991. Three years later in 1994, Oldman checked himself into rehab. He has now been sober for 24 years. The Oscar-winning actor has praised Alcoholics Anonymous for helping him achieve and maintain sobriety.

Mank Gary Oldman
Oldman played alcoholic screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz in "Mank." Netflix

Oldman told the Times that part of the issue of his alcoholism was that he "romanticized" being an alcoholic and having an addiction.

"All my heroes were drinkers or opium addicts, and you get all misty-eyed about these poets and playwrights and actors who were big drinkers," Oldman said, name-checking writers F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dorothy Parker, and Brendan Behan - all of whom struggled with addiction at some point in their lives.

"I used to sweat vodka," Oldman said, describing the height and intensity of his alcoholism. "It becomes such a part of you. My tongue would be black in the morning. I blamed it on the shampoo."

Oldman continued: "I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy, to be in the grip of it. It's hell."

The actor said that having had his own torrid experiences with alcoholism helped his portrayal of Mankiewicz, who he said had the same "self-effacing humor" as he did to cope with the issue and "to mask the inadequacy."

Oldman said that this shared experience the two of them had helped him "understand" Mankiewicz more: "You have to understand why people are frustrated with him."

Oldman has been critically praised for his performance as Mankiewicz and has earned multiple award nominations so far throughout the awards season, including best actor nods from both the SAG and the Golden Globes.

He lost the latter competition to Chadwick Boseman, who won for another hot Netflix awards contender "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom." Oldman is tipped to earn his third Oscar nomination, three years after he won his first Oscar for "Darkest Hour" in 2018.

Read the original article on Insider