Saturday, May 22, 2010

Come Not Between Ben Kingsley And His Wrath

You have to love this article which describes an interview with Sir Ben Kingsley about his role as the villain Nizam in the new Prince of Persia flick. The interviewer clearly doesn't take it seriously:

But let’s be honest: Prince of Persia is based on a video game. It’s a mega-budget, effects-heavy tale about a street urchin-turned-prince, Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal), who finds a mysterious dagger that can turn back time. Its producer, Jerry Bruckheimer, is a spectacle-meister whose films are not usually lauded for their delicate subtlety.

Sir Ben, from the minute (earlier in the article) that she calls his acting "scenery-chewing", disagrees:

“I do the same job. The background alters, and where the camera is placed, and the effects around me. But I am doing the same job. I serve Nizam as if Nizam was written by Shakespeare and he was called Richard III.
“Why waste my time trivializing a character or a film?” he continued, now fully engaged, his voice smooth and mellifluous. “If I trivialize it, it’s going to spoil three, four, five months of my life. Instead, I consciously think to myself, ‘Aim high, aim very high with Nizam. If the kids are going to come and watch it, let them see Richard III from Shakespeare. That will make them go, ‘Wow.’ Don’t give them a Punch and Judy show villain.”


I see both points. I don't think, even if all the planets aligned just right, that any kid is going to walk out of Prince of Persia with visions of Shakespeare dancing in their heads.  But like he says, why waste your time trivializing the character?  There are certainly actors out there in the biz that just phone it in for the paycheck.  Sir Ben doesn't appear to be one of them, regardless of what roles he takes.

6 comments:

American Delight said...

Hmm... another famous Will (Rogers) said to do the best you can, but don't take life too serious. That seems pretty reasonable to me.

JM said...

No coincidence here that Kingsley's attitude is one in common with some of the more notable and respected actors of our day. McKellen, Dench, Thompson, Stewart, Branagh, Holm and others; all of whom have a common connection with Shakespeare; all of whom are noted for the power of the chameleon in their acting skills; all of whom had their initial focus on the power of the words and speech first. Because of that, they know they can take anyone's words, even ones vastly inferior to Shakespeare's, and make them work.

JM said...

P.S. Richard III, in a good way, is one of THE biggest chewers of scenery Shakespeare ever wrote. It accounts for his great popularity with audiences despite the fact that he's a venomous toad of highly hate-able proportions.

Vanilla Chunk said...

I've written for TV and I've written for Roger Corman, and if you ever aim for anything but giving the best you've got for your characters to say and do, you're cheating the actors, the viewers and yourself.

Duane said...

Agreed, VC, but surely in your experience you could tell some doozies about actors who do exactly that. I sincerely hope that the dude in Troll 2 was not attempting to channel Richard III!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyophYBP_w4

JM said...

It shall always be in our lasting memories, lest we forget the lesson of.......
The BEEEEZ!!!, OMIGOD!!! NOT... THE BEEEZZZZ!!! :)