Here is the just released trailer for the David Goyer supernatural thriller, The Unborn. As you'll notice, an oddly clean-shaven Gary Oldman plays a professor or religious figure of some kind. Spoiler-alert - Gary Oldman is killed. I have not seen the movie. I know very little about the movie. But you're just gonna have to trust me. If only one person dies in this film, it will be Gary Oldman. For whatever reason, Gary Oldman has arguably the highest proportional death rate of any above the title star working today, especially one who doesn't almost exclusively play villains (like, say, Danny Trejo). This is something I noticed a long time ago, and the pattern just kept bearing fruit. If Gary Oldman is in a movie, regardless of his role and the genre, he probably will die. Obviously, spoilers for Oldman pictures from here on out.
He has played a large number of historical figures in his career. Needless to say, they all got it in the end. He got his big break playing doomed punk rocker Sid Vicious in Sid And Nancy. As most of you know, Sid Vicious overdosed on various drugs (long after stabbing his girlfriend to death in a drug-fueled mania). He has also portrayed playwright Joe Orton (bludgeoned to death), Lee Harvey Oswald (shot in the chest), Count Dracula (stabbed in the heart then beheaded), Ludwig Von Beethoven (lead poisoning), and Pontius Pilate (natural causes). He has played many villains, all of whom met their theatrical demise. He was vanquished by heroes true in True Romance (shot in a scuffle), The Professional (blown up by grenades), Air Force One (tossed out of an airplane and hanged by his own parachute), The Fifth Element (blown up), Quest For Camelot (uh... don't remember), Lost In Space (the evil future version of Dr. Smith got tossed into a pit of doom or something), and Hannibal (fed to giant hogs).
Now that's an impressive body count for any actor. And, to be fair, Oldman occasionally allows himself to live, although I'm sure there is an alternate ending to The Contender where goodie-two-shoes liberal Joan Allen flings conservative muckracker Oldman off a roof in a blinding rainstorm. And I'm pretty sure he survived his guest appearance on Friends (the episode is not called 'The One Where Gary Oldman Dies'). Ironically, his character in The Scarlett Letter lives in the movie despite dying in the book. There are several items in his filmography that I know little about, so I can't vouch for every screen appearance. For the record, he also dies in State Of Grace, The Firm (1988), and Backwoods (arguably his most gratuitous death ever). He dies in the video game True Crime: Streets Of LA, although I can't vouch for his safety in Medal Of Honor: Allied Assault Spearhead.
And, you can be damn sure how the contract negotiations for Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban went down*. It certainly can't be a coincidence in terms of which of the many many characters that Oldman could have been picked for. And let's not forget the Batman series. As soon as Oldman was cast as Jim Gordon, I immediately assumed that at some point either Gordon would fake his death or a Scarecrow-hallucination would show Batman seeing Gordon die in front of him. Needless to say, I was pretty dead-on on the first guess. And I can't imagine that Oldman was too happy when he got to the end of act two in Nolan's screenplay.** And I'm still expecting him to bite the dust in part 3.
So yes, as we've demonstrated here today... It may be a big blockbuster movie where Oldman plays a villain, it may be a biopic where Oldman plays a doomed character of history. Or Oldman may just get in in the eyes for no good reason. But if Gary Oldman is starring in the supernatural thriller The Unborn, then Gary Oldman will be probably killed in the supernatural thriller The Unborn. I'd bet his life on it. For what it's worth, Oldman is lending his voice to a star-studded cartoon of A Christmas Carol that comes out next year. He plays Tiny Tim. Oh dear...
*The Never-Before Revealed Contract Negotiations with Gary Oldman for Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban:
Gary Oldman: Well, this is a wonderful opportunity and a lovely role, but I'm afraid I just can't do it.
Alfonso Cuaron: What? Why the hell not? I mean, it's a major franchise, lots of money, and you've practically been blacklisted since that whole Contender squabble. What on Earth would make you turn this down?
Gary Oldman: Well, you see, I live at the end of this picture.
Alfonso Cuaron: Excuse me?
Gary Oldman: I'm still alive at the end. I'm Gary Oldman, I have to die!
Alfonso Cuaron: You're kidding right? You're going to turn down this role because you don't get killed?
Gary Oldman: I've already turned down this role because I don't get killed. Sorry, Alfie.
Alfonso Cuaron: (Sigh). Umm... ok, here's the thing. Can you keep a secret?
Gary Oldman: I guess...
Alfonso Cuaron: None of this 'I guess' business. Can you keep a secret or not? Because if you squeal than Rowling will have your family murdered, and probably mine just for sport! So, can you keep a secret?!
Gary Oldman: Well, yes. Yes I can.
(Alfonso reaches into his bag and pulls out a tattered manuscript. He places it in front of Oldman. Oldman reads the front page).
Gary Oldman: Harry Potter And The Order Of The... wait a minute, is this...?
Alfonso Curon: Page 708.
(Oldman turns to page 708 and scans the text. His eyes light up).
Gary Oldman: Well, dammit man, I'll do it!
** Never before-revealed private phone conversation between Gary Oldman and Chris Nolan, circa Feburary 2008.
Chris Nolan: So, I heard you just came out of the movie, what did you think?
Gary Oldman: You fucking tease. You had me so excited, and then you go and bring me back to life! What a cheat!
Chris Nolan: Oh come on, Gary, you didn't really think I was going to kill Commissioner Gordon, did you?
Gary Oldman: Well, you had me going, and then you pull the rug out. I mean, it doesn't even make any sense. Did he just improv faking his death? Did no one notice his body is gone after the crowd clears? Was there a fake autopsy? How the hell do you expect the audience... oh never mind. The point is, if you're not going to kill me, you shouldn't taunt me like that!
Chris Nolan: Come on, I was just having fun with you. It's our little in-joke, so it doesn't have to make sense.
Gary Oldman: Well, Chris, I did the second movie even though I didn't want to. Couldn't I just stay dead? Please?
Chris Nolan: For Pete's sake, you're Commissioner Gordon!! I can't kill Gordon! Why don't I just kill Batman?
Gary Oldman: Well, you killed Harvey Dent! You killed Commissioner Loeb! You killed Rachel Dawes! Hell, you kept The Joker alive. How's that working out for you, Chris? That was a brilliant call, wasn't it?
Chris Nolan: Oh fuck you, Gary! (hangs up phone)