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Interesting interview - Ben Kingsley


Andrew Reid

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A wonderful actor - and a perfect choice to play Gandhi, whose family had the same Gujerati background as Kingsley's (they originally even came from the same village as Gandhi, going back three generations). Kingsley's birth name was Gujerati: Krishna Bhanji. Though interestingly, Director Richard Attenborough didn't know anything about his Indian background when casting this relatively unknown (to film) English stage actor.

Kingsley's range is extraordinary, from the spiritual depths and moral integrity he shows in Gandhi (and even illuminates his small role in the comedy Dave with a similar moral quality as Vice-President), to the 'most savage mad-dog frothing gangster' (Roger Ebert's quote) in Sexy Beast .

Ebert's great review of Sexy Beast:

https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/sexy-beast-2001

Interesting New York Times article about Kingsley's journey from classical stage actor to Gandhi:

https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/packages/html/movies/bestpictures/gandhi-ar4.html?scp=4&sq=Midsummer&st=cse

Also fascinating in the video in Andrew's post to be reminded of what making an epic film was like in the era before CGI. When Attenborough wanted to portray 300,000 attendees at Gandhi's funeral, he actually had to film a scene with 300,000 extras.

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I personally met him in Oporto along a film festival (Fantasporto) a couple of decades ago... lovely personality, polite, not vedette-diva type at all, human and attentive mate, my kudos to him. My personal perspective : ) Even though, I've heard the film festival organisation had (in 2004) some complaints on his hotel expenditures when he left... LOL :- )

- E.

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With all due respect to Ben, Scorsese likely doesn't give notes because 1) there's no time for it, 2) he knows it's pointless anyway, either an actor knows how to do a scene or he doesn't, the matter of performance was settled when the actor was cast, and 3) with no background in theater, Scorsese's probably not all that good at directing actors in, say, the Kazan tradition.

The fact that nobody takes Leo diCaprio for anyone but Leo DiCaprio in a Scorsese movie is one measure of the limitation of either notes or the lack of them.

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