10 things you need to know about Ben Kingsley

We bring you the facts about the star of THE BOXTROLLS

This week, Ben Kingsley lends his voice to the sleazy, unctuous and evil Archibold Snatcher in Laika’s THE BOXTROLLS. Snatcher is a man consumed with thoughts of greatness, and is determined to wipe out the mysterious Boxtrolls in order to get his way. Kingsley gives a wonderfully funny performance in this exquisitely animated film, so we decided to gather together some facts about the actor behind Archibold Snatcher.

1. What’s in a name?
Kingsley was born Krishna Pandit Bhanji; his mother was British and his father was of Indian descent. Kingsley changed his name early on in his career as he felt a foreign name could hamper his career. Kingsley derived his stage surname from his paternal grandfather’s nickname, ‘King Clove’.

2. ‘Truth alone will endure, all the rest will be swept away before the tide of time’
Kingsley’s role as Gandhi in the 1982 film is arguably his best-known role to date. The film was a critical and financial success, and Kingsley won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance.

3. Jealousy
In an interview with The Daily Mirror, Kingsley revealed that his mother refused to acknowledge his knighthood. Kinsley said “The wonderful woman who is the Queen and who is almost like a mum had said, ‘We accept you and love what you do’ but my mother refused to acknowledge it had taken place. She was embarrassed and bitter and jealous… far from being proud, was very jealous of my success”.

4. ‘…A voice that could make a wolverine purr’
Kingsley will voice Bagheera in Disney’s reboot of THE JUNGLE BOOK. The film will be a combination of live action and CGI, will be directed by Jon Favreau and is due for release in 2015.

5. Coronation Street
One of Kingsley’s first roles was in long-running soap CORONATION STREET; he played Ron Jenkins, a man who had a fling with Ken Barlow’s first wife, Val. Kingsley said ‘…to be part of that iconic series very early on in my career was wonderful’

6. Sleepy Head
During his voice work for THE BOXTROLLS, Kingsley admitted to nodding off once or twice. Speaking to the Daily Mirror, he explained why… ‘I did most of my recordings lying down on a sofa bed – I wanted his voice to come from his belly’ – Phew!

7. Fear is a great motivator…
So ferocious and terrifying was Ben Kingsley’s performance in SEXY BEAST that reportedly the other actors were so stunned they occasionally forgot their lines and much of the fear in their performances wasn’t difficult to act. Kingsley also found himself apologising for scaring the crew with his performance as The Mandarin in IRON MAN 3.

8. Commitment to his work
For the final scene in HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG, Ben Kingsley genuinely sealed a plastic bag around his head. Medics were standing by on set to revive him if he passed out.

9. Fiction vs Real Life
In 2006, Kingsley played himself in an episode of THE SOPRANOS. In the show, characters Christopher Moltisanti and Carmine Lupertazzi offer him a role in the fictional slasher film CLEAVER, which he turns down. Lupertazzi offers him the role on the basis of Kingsley’s real-life performance in SEXY BEAST.

10. Coming Up…
As well as, this week’s THE BOXTROLLS and THE JUNGLE BOOK, Kingsley is set to star in several upcoming films, including THE SHAH OF IRAN, which will take a look at the historical events that led to the Islamic revolution and the hostage crisis at the US Embassy in 1979.

THE BOXTROLLS is released in Irish cinemas on September 12th

Words: Brogen Hayes