G Oldman

Actor Gary Oldman is happy for the first time in years. He has a 7-month-old son, a devoted wife (his third) and — at last — sobriety.

That’s the biggest, hardest thing to do,” he shakes his head, tapping his finger on the table top, “the hardest thing I’ve ever done — more than anything.

No one came to his rescue, he says. “It’s you and God, basically.”

Oldman says, “Some bottoms are high, some are low. Sometimes people have to go to the gutter, lose everything before they can turn around and say, `I have a problem.’

“Others don’t have to go that far. I found one of the things that was sort of a curse was that I could do this job drunk, on a good day, a lot better than other people do it sober.”

That’s true. People who’ve worked with Oldman say he’s simply a genius. But genius isn’t enough when you’ve lost your passion for the work and life.

Oldman always managed his job, even when he was blotto. “You ask any director who’s ever worked with me and I’d bet a lot of money he’d say he’d work with me again. I turn up, I’m always on time, I know the lines.”

Still, he admits he had a tough time on “Scarlet Letter.” “I’ve never been shy of coming forward about that. But for someone who was falling down (drunk). . . . I don’t remember MAKING `Scarlet Letter,’ to be honest with you. I know I did it ’cause I’m in it. But I was living every day in Nova Scotia, up there in the middle of nowhere. You had a bad time for 90 minutes,” he laughs.

One of the things that helped revive his spirits was the autobiographical movie he wrote and directed, “Nil by Mouth.”

And though he was able to face that raw look at his own life through directing, acting is another thing.