by Adam Gold
A mastermind in the arena of from-left-field surprises, over the years Jack White has collaborated with a wide breadth of strange bedfellows — Tom Jones, Transit, John C. Riley, BP Fallon, Stephen Colbert, Renee Zellweger … INSANE CLOWN POSSE. Now we can add Gary Oldman’s name to that list. White has tapped the Academy Award-nominated actor/producer/filmmaker/musician/fictional commissioner/Englishman to direct a live webcast of his April 27 performance at New York City’s Webster Hall. The pairing is part of American Express’s Unstaged Series, which in previous installments has conjoined Arcade Fire with Terry Gilliam, My Morning Jacket with Todd Haynes, Coldplay with Anton Corbijn, Mary J. Blige with Adam Shankman and Duran Duran with David Lynch in live-streaming unions of sound and vision.
White/Oldman Unstaged goes down on April 27 at 9 p.m. EST right here.
Even Oldman himself (an adept musician in his own right and reportedly a longtime Jack White fan) was buffaloed by the prospective pairing, telling The Times while en route to Nashville, “It just fell from the sky. ... Occasionally you get calls and they drop in. I didn’t have to think very quickly about it. I just said, ‘Yeah, that sounds very good.’” American Express told White he could draft any director "within reason" for the gig.
While Oldman goes on to tell the Times that he’s never called the shots (literally) on a live broadcast before, his sprawling filmography does have one directorial entry — the 1997 acclaimed cult favorite Nil By Mouth, for which he also penned the screenplay. Perhaps White is fan of the film. Or perhaps White's faith in Oldman’s bona fide mastery as a method actor makes him confident that the renaissance man will take to the casting as webcast director with the same dedication he did to the roles of Sid Vicious, Ludwig van Beethoven, Lee Harvey Oswald and Commissioner Gordon. Who knows?
We can start by asking this: What do you think Jack White and Gary Oldman have in common? Beyond the fact that both are held in high regard by a great many, the first specific answer I can come up with is Detroit — it’s the hometown of both White and Drexl Spivey. “Who’s Drexl Spivey,” you ask?
This is Drexl Spivey: