DE­LIGHT

Ben Kings­ley, at nearly 70, is as ex­cited about his lat­est role as his first, writes Michael Bodey

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Film -

BEN Kings­ley has a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing prickly. That’s not the man on the end of the phone from . . . where is he to­day? ‘‘ Los An­ge­les to­day,’’ he says chirpily, thank­ing me for ask­ing be­cause in this par­tic­u­lar year he has had to check daily him­self.

‘‘ I must be the most trav­elled man on the planet,’’ Kings­ley adds be­fore reel­ing off his pre­sent trav­el­ogue: in LA pro­mot­ing his new film En­der’s Game af­ter work­ing with Ri­d­ley Scott on The Book of Ex­o­dus.

Next week, he heads to New Or­leans to work with In­dian film direc­tor Tarsem Singh, be­fore head­ing to the Ca­nary Is­lands to con­clude work­ing with Scott. Then he’ll star in a short film in Bri­tain, and he has more films in the can await­ing re­lease.

‘‘ So I’m talk­ing to you by way of recre­ation and rest,’’ he says, laugh­ing.

At an age — he turns 70 on New Year’s Eve — when many of his peers, in­clud­ing Jack Ni­chol­son and Michael Caine, have slowed con­sid­er­ably, Kings­ley con­tin­ues to work hard on a di­verse slew of in­ter­est­ing films.

And in one of his more no­table years, his most strik­ing per­for­mance hap­pened to be in the most pop­u­lar film of the year, Iron Man 3. He be­came the first per­son to act Robert Downey Jr off the screen in the comic book se­ries.

In his pre­sent re­lease, the young adult sci-fi adap­ta­tion En­der’s Game, Kings­ley also does an ef­fec­tive job of ground­ing the film op­po­site Har­ri­son Ford’s histri­on­ics. In­ci­den­tally, Ford is 71.

Kings­ley clearly is en­joy­ing him­self and the re­sults on screen are mem­o­rable.

‘‘ I love act­ing, that’s my job, that’s what I do, and when­ever there are these won­der­ful op­por­tu­ni­ties that come along — and they’ve been very packed to­gether this year — (I take them),’’ he says.

Kings­ley is par­tic­u­larly thank­ful to some ‘‘ very skilled’’ agents who ar­range a sched­ule that al­lows him to fly from job to job with­out let-up. But there’s also a hint of the in­se­cure ac­tor lurking within the Acad­emy Award win­ner.

‘‘ There’s stuff that

I didn’t want to turn

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