Exclusive: Kingsley Talks New Movies

On Shutter Island and Prince Of Persia

Exclusive: Kingsley Talks New Movies

by Glen Ferris |
Published on

Despite being due to collect his OAP bus pass at the end of this year, Sir Ben Kingsley is showing no signs of slowing down with his movie output. Due to hit cinemas as a pot-smoking psychologist in The Wackness at the end of August, he’s following up that revelatory comedic performance with a clutch of interesting projects, not least Martin Scorsese’s latest flick Shutter Island and Mike Newell’s video-game adaptation, Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time.

We grabbed the good-natured knight for an exclusive chat about both flicks, starting off with Shutter Island.

“I’m playing another psychiatrist,” says Sir Ben of Scorsese’s big-screen version of Dennis Lehane’s (Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone) Fifties-set crime drama. “He runs a top-security asylum on an island for the violently criminally insane. It’s set in the McCarthy era in the 50s, so not the Giuliani era of The Wackness but the McCarthy era.”

“I’m a psychiatrist with a very important relationship to Leonardo Dicaprio’s character (a U.S. Marshal who investigates the disappearance of a murderess who escaped from a hospital for the criminally insane). It’s an examination, from my part, of unconditional love. This psychiatrist will not let this patient down until the patients are out of his hands, he won’t let them down. It’s quite wonderful.”

On particularly effusive form, Sir Ben spoke with great verve about working with one of the world’s most talented directors.

“On top of the brilliant script, you have the King – Martin Scorsese,” he says. “It was a joy to work with him. He elevates joy. Every frame of every film to him is a diamond. Everything is important to him. Everything is beautiful to him. He can’t stop talking about the films that he’s restored or seen, naming the cast of something made in 1949 made by some little British director or the Powell-Pressburger films he’s addicted to.”

Following Shutter Island, Kingsley will be continuing his diverse career journey with Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire director Mike Newell’s big-budget adventure and, according to Sir Ben, it’s shaping up to be a bit of a doozy.

“”We’re bringing to it all the scrutiny that a great myth would deserve,” he says. “It’s quite wonderful being around the table discussing the video game – which I’m aware of but don’t know anything about.

“It’s really quite beautiful how it's building up with all our actors, with the writers sitting there, with the director sitting there, it’s really holding up very well. Most of my stuff is with Jake Gyllenhaal, who plays the Prince (Dastan), and I’m a father figure who lets him down very, very badly in the film. I’m the villain actually. It’s interesting because his own father dies early in the film and I take over and I’m completely manipulative.”

Does he think that this latest pixel-to-cinema effort will break the curse that has dogged most video game movie adaptations?

“Well, it’s really lovely to be working on something that is obviously hugely popular,” he says. “Jerry Bruckheimer, who did Pirates Of The Caribbean, obviously knows what he’s doing and Mike Newell is a wonderful director.

“You know that patronising attitude that some film-makers have where they dismiss people as a stupid audience? Well, Mike isn’t going to do that, he’s going to give them something beautiful.”

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