Gary Oldman smoked $20,000 worth of cigars while filming Darkest Hour & experienced serious nicotine poisoning

Gary Oldman's Winston Churchill is almost always smoking a cigar, which sometimes required the production to get special dispensation from anti-smoking ordinances. Says director Joe Wright, "Everywhere we went, they'd say, 'No smoking!' And we'd say, 'But it's Churchill!' And they'd go, 'Oh, OK then.'"

Gary Oldman played Winston Churchill in the "Darkest Hour" in the most towering of ways. Oldman is spellbinding, you don't feel like you're watching an actor act, you feel like you're watching Churchill. The enveloping nature of his performance is, of course, unsurprising for fans, such as me, of this highly underrated thespian of an actor, whom, by the way, was never nominated for his work in "Leon," "True Romance," and "Sid & Nancy."  Unsurprisingly, the 59-year-old actor, that most pundits are predicting to win the Best Actor Oscar come next March, is very method.  He's supposedly burnt up close to $20,000 worth of cigars to depict the chain-smoking Churchill. Even worse? He suffered from nicotine poisoning in the process.

The Hollywood Reporter:
"Still, there was one aspect of playing Churchill that made Oldman sick to his stomach: the cigars. During the production, he puffed so many of Churchill's beloved Romeo y Julieta Cubans (at least 400 of them, at $50 a pop, with $20,000 of the film's $30 million budget literally going up in smoke) that he was all but turning green under the prosthetics. "I got serious nicotine poisoning," says Oldman. "You'd have a cigar that was three-quarters smoked and you'd light it up, 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. As far as Wright's concerned, though, the poisoning was a small sacrifice to make for the greater good. "It's Winston Churchill," he says. "You can't have Winston Churchill without a cigar."
Yes, Churchill was an overweight cigar-chomping kind of person, but couldn't Oldman just use stunt cigars?

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