Gary Oldman has been looking forward to Christmas all year after missing out on the fun of the holidays in 2016.
The Darkest Hour star fell ill during a break from shooting the new movie, in which he portrays British politician Winston Churchill, and couldn’t get into the festive spirit.
“Everyone else was having turkey and stuffing and I went and had a colonoscopy,” the Oscar favorite shared at a recent Los Angeles, California screening of the film. “We thought something was up and it wasn’t good. It was nicotine poisoning.”
Gary had accidentally poisoned himself by smoking too many cigars, while portraying the legendary U.K. Prime Minister, who helped mastermind German Nazi leader Adolf Hitler’s defeat during the Second World War – and was almost never without a cigar in his hand.
The cigars responsible for Oldman’s health woes were the same brand that Winston himself swore by – Romeo y Julieta Cubans, which cost about $50 each – and Gary smoked his way through about 400 of them.
“You’d have a cigar that was three-quarters smoked and you’d light it up,” he added in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, “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.”
But the hard-working actor, a favorite to win the Best Actor Oscar at Hollywood’s big prizegiving in March (18), thinks the pain and suffering was all worth it.
“It’s Winston Churchill,” he smiled. “You can’t have Winston Churchill without a cigar.”
And he will make up for last year’s misery by having a special celebration this Christmas with his new bride, art curator Gisele Schmidt, who became the actor’s fifth wife in August.
“My wife said she used to go to bed with Winston Churchill and wake up with Gary Oldman,” he joked. “Better that way I guess than the other.”