Variety is reporting Ben Kingsley is in final talks to play the villain in director Shane Black’s IRON MAN 3. No word yet on WHO he’ll be playing but insiders are insisting that it WON’T be Tony Stark’s archenemy The Mandarin, the wealthy Chinese scientist and martial arts expert who, by backing the warlord who imprisoned Stark, was indirectly responsible for the creation of Iron Man.
Kingsley’s involvement is a little hit-and-miss for me. Dude is a great actor when he wants to be (GHANDI, SCHINDLER’S LIST and SEXY BEAST are perfect examples of what to expect when he’s “on”) but he seems to enjoy cashing paychecks more than actually acting as of late. Lots of stinkers and flat-out duds littering the last five years of his IMDB page. Oh sure, HUGO was decent and you can’t really knock his work in SHUTTER ISLAND but what the twenty or so movies surrounding those two? I need only reference PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME, THE LOVE GURU, FIFTY DEAD MEN WALKING, THE LAST LEGION, THE WACKNESS, THUNDERBIRDS, BLOODRAYNE and A SOUND OF THUNDER as prime examples of what Kingsley will do for some quick cash.
Who knows? Maybe IRON MAN 3 will give Kingsley’s career the boost it desperately needs. Worked for Jeff Bridges when he appeared in the first IRON MAN pic. Bridges was looking at the back side of nearly ten year slide in quality performances when his one little slightly generic villainous one in a big summer blockbuster kicked him back onto Hollywood’s A-list.
USELESS KNOWLEDGE: IRON MAN 3 will be loosely based on Warren Ellis’ six-issue “Extremis” comic book series first published in 2005. That arc — which also heavily influenced the first Iron Man pic — introduced a new origin story and focused heavily on nanotechnology.