Gary Oldman describes transforming into Winston Churchill in new drama 'Darkest Hour'

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Actor Gary Oldman shared his process of transforming into Winston Churchill in the World War II drama "Darkest Hour."

Oldman is virtually unrecognizable as British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, but he knew he was in good hands as soon as he met with director Joe Wright.

"I sat with Joe and he had a real -- it sounds cliché -- a take on it. You had a vision for the film," Oldman told Wright.

Wright's vision included getting Oldman to say yes to the role, no matter what.

"I wasn't sure that I personally would go and see a film about Winston Churchill until Gary came on board and then I thought, 'I'd definitely go see Gary Oldman play,'" Wright said.

Then came the tricky part: Wright had to actually convince Oldman he was the man for the challenge.

"I turn most things down first -- the really good stuff that is the most challenging. Everything starts from terrible insecurity, so I always say to myself, 'Why me? Why don't they get someone else?'"

Gary said the insecurity is all just part of his process, and for "Darkest Hour," that process also includes nearly three hours every work day in the makeup chair.

"You start to look in the mirror, and I noticed I would do this thing -- once I could start seeing the spirit of Churchill looking back at me -- then I would start to grumble and stuff like that," Oldman described. "And it was just nice getting in there and thinking, 'We've got that scene coming up.' I would get very, very...excited. I couldn't wait to get to the set."

"Darkest Hour" is in theaters now.
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