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The Ben Kingsley Bio

The Ben Kingsley Review –

by Nate Lee


Gandhi / Schindler's List

Kingsley literally was the epic film, "Gandhi," and the primary reason it was Best Picture. He was also certainly a major contributor to the success of "Schindler's List," an equally epic and important film, though Kingsley's contribution in that film is third behind Neeson and Fiennes.

Great Performances You May Not Have Seen:
Transsiberian (Russian detective)
Searching for Bobby Fischer (hard-core chess teacher)
Tuck Everlasting (the man in the yellow suit)
Fifty Dead Men Walking (British agent running undercover IRA recruit, Jim Sturgess)
Without A Clue (Dr. Watson to a clueless Holmes, Michael Caine)
Sexy Beast (SAG and Oscar-nominated performance as a gangster trying to persuade an old buddy to help out with a crime)
Suspect Zero (a suspected serial murderer of serial murderers)
House of Sand and Fog (Golden Globe, SAG and Oscar-nominated performance as an Iranian immigrant fighting with Jennifer Connelly over the rightful possession of a house)
Sneakers (Robert Redford's computer rival)
Triumph of Love (egotistical protector of a rightful 18th-century king)
Elegy (Penelope Cruz's professor, caught under her spell)
You Kill Me (mob hit man in alcoholic recovery)
The Wackness (a psychiatrist whose patient is dating his daughter)
Mrs. Harris (Golden Globe-nominated performance as Dr. Herman Tarnower, the Scarsdale Diet doctor, killed by Annette Bening as Mrs. Harris)
Twelfth Night (Feste)
Gandhi (Oscar and Golden Globe-winning performance as Mahatma himself)
Schindler's List (Itzhak Stern, accountant to Liam Neeson as Schindler)
Shutter Island (head of mysterious island mental institution)
Lucky Number Slevin (Schlomo, a mobster competing with Morgan Freeman)
Dave (the Vice President)
Bugsy (Golden Globe and Oscar-nominated performance as Meyer Lansky to Warren Beatty's Bugsy Siegel)
Oliver Twist (Fagin, in Roman Polanski version)
Species (Lead scientist of a team which has unwittingly created a deadly, half-human, half-alien bombshell)
The Real SIR Ben Kingsley:
Searching for Bobby Fischer

Part Indian, part British, all actor. Ben Kingsley is a British stage-trained actor who truly regards his profession as a delicate craft. He gets away with talking about his instrument just as he gets away with keeping the title that he has rightly earned, "Sir Ben." He is particularly adept at using the craft to slip out of his knightly robes and into the character, any character. In "Bobby Fischer," he plays a teacher dedicated to the craft of chess, and also a misunderstood and seemingly harsh taskmaster.
Acting Style:
Mysterious. Strangely, for a guy who's played Gandhi and the man who helped Schindler save so many lives, Kingsley makes a fascinating morally ambivalent character, or rather one whose motives are too mysterious and deep to be judged. Even his good guys often seem emotionally detached from others, perfect for scientists or Russian detectives or Fagin or Shutter Island's mysterious warden/doctor. Then, when he steps over the line to villainy, we love it.
Bits and Quirks:
Those big round eyes opened wide with everything else perfectly still, to show honesty or cold-blooded calculation, or moral distance. Often with a carefully pronounced drawn-out beautiful monotone. He will also seem to throw away lines, though they're still audible because of his distinctive tones.
Great Scenes:
Schindler's List

> Typing up the list of names with Liam Neeson as Schindler
> Finishing the list, leaving the last space blank
> The good-bye scene, giving Neeson the letter and the ring


> The oval office, returning with African artifacts
> The late-night conversation with Kevin Kline as Dave
> The state of the union address

Searching For Bobby Fischer

> Giving the Master certificate to Josh just before the showdown
> The first meeting with Josh
> Tossing the Master certificates at Josh and getting kicked out of the house by Joan Allen > The victory
> The quiet conversations with father Joe Mantegna, offering advice

Shutter Island

> Interview with Leonardo, talking about the treatment of the patients


> Argument with Redford on money in the soundproof room
> Argument with Redford on the roof about information

Sexy Beast

> Smoking a cigarette on the plane and getting kicked off
> The speech to the agent afterward on why he smoked on the plane


> Getting thrown off the train in South Africa
> Burning the papers
> Lying down in front of the horses
> speech in the tent
> The funeral procession
> The massacre
> Discussion with the British leaders on "home rule"
> Trial where he demands to be imprisoned
> The march to the sea
> The fasts, particularly the "way out of hell" scene
Go to the... Ben Kingsley Bio