Picture Perfect: Gary Oldman and 100 Pals at Paul Smith

Life is good for Gary Oldman. As he charms his way through interviews and parties in L.A. this week in the run up to hearing his name announced in the best actor category at this Sunday’s 84th Academy Awards, he also marked the opening of his collaborative photography exhibition with lensman Jack English Thursday night at the Paul Smith flagship on Melrose Avenue.

The actor and photographer took turns behind a film camera on set of Tomas Alfredson’s screen adaptation of the novel “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” snapping moments in black and white of the actors, crew and sets of the spy thriller. “The images are very voyeuristic, grainy, which suits the spy theme of the film quite well,” he said, noting that he wanted them to have a behind-the-scenes feel.

As for being nominated? When mutual friend, stylist Miles Siggins, offered good luck, Gary almost seemed sheepish. This is the first the Academy is recognizing him in a career spanning 50 films. “It’s good to be loved. Of course, I’m one of five being loved. But it really is incredible,” he told us.

(Sir Paul Smith, himself, also got his moment behind the lens for the film, when the director invited him to read the script and consult on inspiration regarding the mood, the color and locations. He, too, photographed Gary to promote the film.)

Gary first spotted Jack’s work in a record store. It was the cover of a blues album he shot for Eric Claption, and the first-time director called on the photographer to shoot stills for his 1997 semi-autobiographical “Nil by Mouth.” Jack had never shot stills for movies before, but that is how his life rolls. He became a career photographer by accident when he borrowed a camera and shot images of Chet Baker in Cannes a decade before. And he became a costumer of sorts when he became integral in wardorbing the seminal 1979 “Quadrophenia.”

After “Nil,” Gary connected Jack with director Luc Besson to shoot stills for “The Fifth Element,” and a new career was born. Countless big- and low-budget films later, he reunited with Gary on “Tinker.”

For this project, Jack took a page out of Irving Penn’s work, using a “winning combination of” Hasselblad lenses and Fujifilm Acros 100 ASA black & white film. For his part, Oldman, who has focused on this sideline hobby for about a decade, used a 35-mm Widelux camera for his work.

While their joint work was the star at Thursday night’s party, produced by Bryan Rabin, there were plenty of bold-faced Brits and local friends and admirers packing the place. Fellow “Tinker” star Benedict Cumberbatch was there, who I’ve admittedly become a bigger fan of because of his wonderful spin in the title role on the new Sherlock Holmes series from the U.K.

Also there were actors Emma Greenwell, Ian Buchanan and Jeremy Allen White, as well as pals from our social club: musicians Siobhan Fahey and Alice Temple; CSI’s Pauley Perrette, Lisa Edelstein with beau, artist Robert Russell; provocateur and Bar Marmont host Constance Cooper and, well, you’ll have to see the rest in the album here.

The exhibition is up through March 12 at the Paul Smith store on Melrose. There are also four limited-edition silkscreens, numbered in editions of 50 and signed by Paul. Profits from the $160 prints benefit amfAR.

All Photos by Rose Apodaca except that of Gary Oldman and Jack English; Siobahn Fahey; Lisa Edelstein; Alice Temple and Kathy Jeung; and Jeremy Allen White, Emma Greenwell by Donato Sardella/Courtesy Paul Smith; Rose Apodaca by Linlee Allen. Thank you for sharing!

Posted in Art, Cinema, Design, Film, Photography, Style

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