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Gary Oldman On Why Filming Slow Horses Was 'A Little Daunting' - Exclusive

Gary Oldman is primarily known as a film actor, having done very few television series appearances over the course of his career. In fact, one of his last small-screen roles — outside of a mini-series appearance on "Gotham Tonight" to promote "The Dark Knight" — was a two-episode arc on "Friends" in 2001 (per IMDb). Now, over 20 years later, Oldman has decided to try his hand at TV again, this time in a much more prominent role.

In his first starring performance on a series, Oldman plays a cranky boss named Jackson Lamb on the spy drama "Slow Horses," which is now streaming on Apple TV+. Based on the "Slough House" novels by Mick Herron, the show focuses on an outlying department of Britain's MI5 domestic counter-intelligence and security agency where disgraced agents are banished to primarily do desk work. One of those odd men out taking up residence in the division — aka the Slough House, whose workers are referred to as "slow horses" — is River Cartwright, played by Jack Lowden, who often rubs Lamb the wrong way.

While coming across as a disheveled curmudgeon is not the kind of character we're used to seeing Oldman play, the veteran actor has said he felt it was the perfect role for him to make the transition from film to TV. Yet he didn't quite expect the challenges that came with shooting a series. In fact, he called it "a little daunting" when he recently spoke with Looper during an exclusive interview.

Shooting Slow Horses was 'a lot to retain' for Oldman

With blockbuster films like the "Harry Potter" franchise and the "Dark Knight" trilogy under his belt — not to mention an Academy Award for portraying Winston Churchill in "Darkest Hour" — you'd think Gary Oldman would be prepared for anything. But when it comes to acting, TV is its own animal, a lesson Oldman quickly learned while shooting "Slow Horses."

"You move a little faster with TV, and we do most of it in block shooting, which means that you've got to know the whole thing coming in," says Oldman. "You pretty much have to have the six episodes in your head, which is, initially, a little daunting because you may have more to do in one episode than another. When you see it, when you get an overview of it, you think, 'Wow, that's a lot to retain,' but in terms of approaching it [as an actor], there's very little difference between this and rehearsing or shooting a movie."

The first season of "Slow Horses" is now streaming on Apple TV+. New episodes are available every Friday.