Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sorry, Charlie...

We usually get home from work somewhere just before 6 p.m., & dh turns on the TV. Tonight, we caught the tail end of Charlie Rose on our local PBS station, interviewing the actor Gary Oldman, who is nominated for an Oscar for his role as Cold War spy George Smiley in "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy."

Normally, I think Rose is a great interviewer -- but he almost immediately raised my childless/free hackles. He showed Oldman a clip of a 1993 interview he did with John LeCarre -- the author of the book the movie was based on -- in which LeCarre says "I think I'm better at work than at living, which is Smiley's situation."

Oldman says, "I understand the thing about being better at work... I'm getting better at living... as I get older."

And then Rose asked him: "Because you are a parent?... or what?"

(!!!) (At this point, I groaned aloud. Because of course, we ALL know what an ennobling experience parenthood is and how having children automatically makes you a better person, right.... :p)

Oldman (to his credit): "Aaahh... I've just mellowed. And more... I don't have that same... it's that ambition and that drive that you have when you're younger... it's the first thing you think about when you wake up... when you're young and you're an actor... is you think about acting."

Rose (doggedly pursuing the kid theme): "And the first thing you think about now is your kids -- taking them to school... and watching them emerge in front of your very eyes."

Oldman: "Yes... but..."

Dh mercifully turned the channel. (Oldman went on to talk about the focus that acting requires, and how work was all that Smiley had.)

I haven't seen any of the interview before this point, so I have no idea what if anything was said about parenting before then. I would like to watch the whole thing, eventually (I saw part of "Sid & Nancy" many years ago, and thought he was an eerily accurate Lee Harvey Oswald in "JFK.") It's available online, here. The interview is an hour long; this particular segment starts around the 40-minute mark.


  1. how I hate it!
    Assumption that being a parent makes you a better person.

  2. It's obnoxious that we are so self-congratulatory about having kids--as though there aren't a million other ways to lead a significant, selfless, interesting, and meaningful life. Makes me smile that Gary Oldman was sort of blowing off Charlie's questions. Probably the first thing he thinks about when he wakes up now is breakfast.

  3. This really interesting that he was trying to steer the conversation toward kids. I do believe that having children is life changing, but I also believe people have a life beyond their children. And why their children do have some effect on their life it isn't the ONLY thing. They are still individuals. Also, when you don't have children, there is always this feeling of "you are not as fully developed"
    which is always really annoys me.

  4. You know what's funny I was actually working (transcribing on the couch) when that episode came on. I had the sound off, but I've always been a fan of Gary Oldman and would have watched it had I had the time. I'll have to watch that episode.

    Deathstar who still can't post a comment on blogger.

  5. Grrr.

    But I like Gary Oldman even more now.