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