Gary Oldman opens up about how Harry Potter and Batman salary 'saved' him

Before starring as fan-favorite Sirius Black in 2004's Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban , Gary Oldman's career was at an inflection point. "At 42, I woke up and I was divorced and I had custody of [my] boys," he explained on a recent episode of "The Drew Barrymore Show ."

As studios moved production to overseas locations such as Hungary, Budapest, Prague and Australia ("for tax reasons," as Barrymore put it), Oldman made the "difficult" decision and "rejected "A lot of work" to cope with being a single father to his middle two sons, Gulliver and Charlie, with ex-wife Donya Fiorentino.

"Thank God for Harry Potter ," he said, before also mentioning his role as Commissioner Jim Gordon in the " Dark Knight" movies. "Those two guys - Batman and Harry Potter - really, they saved me because it meant I could do the least amount of work for the most money and then go home and be with my kids."

Put fatherhood first

The Oscar winner said he flew 27 times to and from Los Angeles to be with his sons while filming "Batman Begins" in London in 2005. "Otherwise, I just feel like my kids are being raised by nannies," he added.

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Oldman admitted that he "wasn't always there" for his eldest son Alfie, now 34, adding, "I had the opportunity to have my other two children and I thought, 'I can't. I've got a real one now. The gift, to be the father I imagined I could be with my first boy, Alfie, so I had the chance to fix it and change it." (He also now has a 15-year-old stepson named William.)

The strategy appears to have paid off. Oldman said his "greatest achievement" as a parent is that his children grow up to be "really, really good people." As he concluded, "I think they saved my life."

unbreakable bond

On the set of Harry Potter , he also played a father figure alongside fellow actor Daniel Radcliffe, who was 11 years old when they began working together. Oldman explained that Radcliffe was learning to play bass guitar at the time and he "taught him a riff" during a break.

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"But then he would come to me and ask for girlfriend advice," the actor added. "I just adored him."

Radcliffe admitted that he had been intimidated before forming a close relationship with Oldman. Reuniting for the Max Returns to Hogwarts 20th anniversary special, Radcliffe told Oldman: "You have a lot of fun in between takes. It can be intense, and you're paying tribute to I show that side and that’s very important.”